The Fitness Zone

Fitness Tests to Keep your New Year Goals on Track

Jan 04, 2023 | by AIF
It’s the new year, and that means you’ve likely got some brand new goals and resolutions to smash in 2023 – good for you! 
While you’re trialling new exercises and workout regimes, it’s important to measure your fitness regularly so you can gauge how well you are travelling towards your fitness goals.
One way that you can assess your progress is through fitness tests. Fear not, these don’t need to be complicated in order to give you a better idea of how you are going, and what you may need to tweak in order to get closer to your goals.

Why test?

There are many benefits of physical testing and evaluation. They can:

  • provide baseline measures
  • enable you to re-test and monitor progress
  • monitor the adaptation of the program based on results
  • provide personal motivation
  • identify your weaknesses and strengths
  • provide incentives when you reach your goals or complete certain tasks.

What test should I choose?

There are plenty of different ways you can test yourself. When deciding which is most applicable to your training goals, consider the following:

  • Principle of specificity
  • Energy system utilisation of the sport/activity
  • Specific movement patterns used in the sport/activity
  • Muscle groups involved in the sport/activity.

Static tests

These tests involve measuring resting heart rate (RHR) and blood pressure (BP), while also assessing anthropometric data and body composition including skin folds and girth measurements. Anthropometric data collection is the measurement of height, weight and selected body fat deposit sites and limb girths. This is a great way to see results over time and keep track of your progress along the way.

Aerobic capacity tests

Also called aerobic power, this is the maximum rate at which you can produce energy through oxidation of energy resources (carbohydrate, fats and proteins). Tests can include:

  • 1.5km run
  • 9 or 12 minute run test
  • Harvard step test
  • 20m multistage fitness test (Beep Test)
  • A brisk walk of approximately 1.6km  and checking your heart rate after the session.

Anaerobic capacity tests

This is the maximal rate of energy production by the combination of phosphate and lactic acid energy systems for short to moderate duration activities. Anaerobic tests can include:

  • Shuttle run variations
  • Line drill variations e.g., Union Jack drill
  • Sprinting short distances.

Maximum muscular strength tests

This is the force a muscle can exert in one maximum lift. Due to the high amount of force generally lifted and the advanced technique required, it is possible to increase repetitions and decrease mass lifted to avoid any potential harm to your client. Maximum strength tests usually include strength exercises such as:

  • 1 Repetition Maximum (1RM) bench press
  • 1RM back squat

Agility tests

This is defined as the ability to start, stop and change direction at a high velocity in a controlled manner. Agility tests require a lot of control at high speeds, therefore a flat non-slip surface with appropriate footwear is required to limit potential for injury. Agility tests can include:

  • T-Test 
  • Illinois agility test
  • 10-second Lateral Hopping Agility Drill

Speed tests

This is defined as the time taken to cover a fixed pre-set distance. Tests usually involve distances not exceeding 150m and generally involve distances set at:

  • 20m
  • 40m
  • 60m
  • 100m

Flexibility tests

These can be defined as the ability of the body’s joints to move through a range of motion. Measurement can involve devices such as a goniometer, which measures joint angle. Because flexibility is joint-specific, a range of flexibility tests are required to gain an understanding of total body flexibility.

Upper body strength

You don’t need any equipment for this test; simply count how many push ups can be achieved. This test is designed to test upper body strength, with a closer look at chest, shoulders and triceps. Recording how many push ups you can achieve over time can help determine if you are getting fitter and stronger.

Core strength test

A great test to look at the strength of your core is the simple plank. Your core, which is made up of your torso, abdominals, obliques, glutes and a range of other smaller muscles can be strength tested by performing a plank. The plank also works on the lower back, hips and buttocks. Timing the length of time a plank can be held can determine your core strength. Building on this time will enable you to test if yours is getting stronger each time. A great way to improve your plank time is to focus on lifts such as squats, deadlifts and bent over rows.

Balance testing

As we age, our balance skills can deteriorate, which can lead to injury. Having a good sense of balance can also improve posture, blood flow and back health. Testing your balance can be as simple as standing on one leg at a time and tracking how long you can stay balanced. Increase this test by standing on your balancing foot on just the ball of your foot.

If you’ve found the motivation to start a new exercise regime, goodonya! Now, you don’t want to lose that momentum and fall off the workout wagon. The best way to keep yourself on track to reaching those inspiring goals you set yourself is to measure your progress, and these tests will help you do exactly that. The numbers don’t lie, and as you see them improving it’ll keep that fire burning in your belly to keep striving towards your very best self as the days tick into weeks, tick into months, tick into a fantastic new year!  



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The Australian Institute of Fitness
The Australian Institute of Fitness (AIF) is the largest and longest established fitness training organisation in Australia, with dynamic training methods and expert course coaches nationwide - spanning fitness, massage and nutrition. The AIF qualifies more fitness professionals than any other provider in Australia, as well as offering a broad range of continuing education courses (CEC), upskilling resources and partnership programs for existing industry.

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