5 ways to fitness test for muscular strength

You might be the sort of person who goes to the gym on a regular basis. The reason most people train at the gym is to look and feel food. However, if you don’t do any sports in addition to this, you might not know how strong you actually are. If you want to discover your strength, here are some different tests you can do:


Plank

The plank is a brilliant way to try out the strength in your core, which is a combination of muscles including your obliques, abs and glutes. This exercise even works out your hips and back. To do this, get into a push-up position and keep your body in a straight line, share your weight between your feet and elbows and your feet waist-width apart. Hold this for as long as possible, and try not to let your hips dip.

Results:

2-3 mins = Excellent

75 secs - 2 mins = Good

1 min - 75 secs = Average

Less than 1 min = Poor.


To improve: Try doing a plank whilst putting your hands or feet on an unstable surface, like a ball. This will help you perform the plank better on stable ground. Alternatively, do heavier lifts to strengthen your abs, such as deadlifts or squats.


Push-ups

This exercises is known for strengthening muscles in your upper body, such as your triceps, and those in your shoulders and chest. To perform it, drop to the floor and ensure your body’s in a straight line, with your arms slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your elbows tucked in but facing backwards. Lower yourself down until your chest is close to the floor, and quickly push yourself back up.

Results:

Over 50 = Excellent

30-49 = Good

20-30 = Average

Up to 20 = Poor.


To improve: You will need a strong core for this exercise, and if you try to do longer planks, you’ll be able to do more push-ups. Also, clench your glutes tightly and ensure your body is in a straight line whilst performing this exercise. If you don’t do enough push-ups at first, rest for a while and try again. This will strengthen your muscles.


500m row

Try doing this on a Concept 2 rowing machine with the resistance at level 10. This is an ideal exercise if you want to work out your entire body, but it’s essential you have the right technique or you will risk injury. Tense your abs, sit up straight and use your legs to drive you until they’re extended. Pull the handle to your ribs and lean back slightly at the same time. Then lean forward, bend your knees and extend your arms as you roll forward to the start position.

Results:

Less than 2 mins = Excellent

2-3 mins = Good

3 mins - 3 mins 44 secs = Average

3 mins 45 secs - 4+ mins = Poor.


To improve: You will need a strong core to enhance your form and technique. You could even work on your endurance by doing some high-intensity 250m rows with more gentle rows in between sets.


Squats

These work out your hamstrings, quads and abs. Turn out your feet and ensure they’re shoulder-width apart. Tense your abs and bend your knees until they’re lined up with your feet and your thighs are level with the ground. Then use your heels to push yourself back up. When you start to struggle with your form, the test stops.

Results:

Over 50 = Excellent

31 - 50 = Good

16 - 30 = Average

Less than 15 = Poor.


To improve: Try doing walking lunges with dumbbells in each hand to increase the strength in your leg muscles and glutes.


Pull-ups

This exercise targets your biceps and the muscles in your upper back. Hold onto the overhead bar and extend your arms. Then pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar, and clench your back muscles. Lower yourself down with no swinging until your arms are extended again. When you start struggling to maintain form, the test stops.

Results:

Over 18 = Excellent

11 - 17 = Good

6 - 10 = Average

Less than 5 = Poor.


To improve: Do some lateral pulldowns to increase the strength in your back. You could also do a small set with a rest afterwards, and then do the set again.