Testing fitness has always been a little ambiguous, however in the last decade or so, fitness expert Gregg Glassman invented Crossfit, the sport that is considered to be ‘the ultimate test of fitness’, a method of quantitatively testing overall fitness.
But what if you don’t want to snatch 50kg above your head, followed by a 100m run, straight into 20 sit ups…10 times round! If you want to simply get an estimation of your general fitness, you have to have an idea of ‘what’ you are testing. Do you want to test upper body strength, test the endurance of your core, or maybe you simply want to test your ability to get around on a day to day basis!
There are many techniques for testing total fitness, but if you simply want to see where how you fair against your peers, then a good old fashioned plank is a good rule of thumb. If you can maintain the plank position for more than 6 minutes then you are a member of a VERY exclusive club. Not many people can do that!
Not familiar with the plank, then here is a brief description:
Get into a press-up position, lowering yourself so that your weight is on your forearms whilst maintaining the tight glutes and straight legs. Hold this position (keeping your butt down) for 1 minute. Game on!
The Transverse Abdominals (TVA) are some of the main muscles comprising your ‘core’, these muscles are there to maintain posture, but also to hold your organs in position (quite important then).
Not only does the plank assess core strength (abdominals, internal and external obliques and the TVA’s), it also tests your buttocks, lower back and hips.
So if you can perform this classic exercise for any amount of time you’re doing OK, but how do we measure beyond OK? Try holding the plank for as long as you possibly can and you’ll get a pretty good idea of how ‘generally’ fit you are.
Pitch your time against this standard criteria:
Poor= Less than 1min
If you manage to get anywhere near 2mins, then it’s fair to say you’re pretty fit.