Working out regularly gives you a general idea of how in shape you are, especially when it comes to the intensity of the class, your mile time or the weight of your dumbbells. However, there’s much more to your fitness level than just maintaining a regular workout schedule or a personal race PR. If you’ve ever wondered why you’ve plateaued in your classes or why certain injuries continue to nag, it may be due to some of the weaknesses that the below exercises and tests bring to light. Before your next workout, take the following assessments to get a better idea of where you need to improve!
The Resting Heart Rate
This is one of the most important measurements you’ll ever take, as it tells you exactly how efficient your body is at recovering from exercise, and ultimately how in shape you actually are.
To take this test, you’ll need a watch. Placing your index and middle finger under your jaw over your carotid artery. Watching the clock for a minute, count out each heartbeat.
A healthy range for adults is anywhere between 60 and 100 beats per minute. The more in shape you are, the lower the number will be. During workouts, keep this in mind, and be aware of how quickly you are able to return to a state of rest.
Having good mobility is extremely important for keeping us free of injuries. The deep squat is a primal movement that can tell us a lot about our body’s muscular symmetry and overall stability of our hips, knees and ankles.
To perform this test, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and raise your hands above your head, keeping your palms in toward your head. Keeping your heels planted, lower into the deepest squat possible.
A perfect squat includes your knees and tibia facing forward without wobbling, and heels planted. If you have trouble keeping your knees forward, this is a sign you need to work on building posterior and lateral muscle strength. If your heels have a hard time staying planted, you’ll want to work on ankle and calf flexibility.
This test can be a bit misleading, as it isn’t a measure of our chest strength like a classic push-up. Instead, it’s all about our core stability! Our core and back are an integral part of every workout we do, and without strength in these areas, we are more prone to injuries.
In order to do it right, keep your hands right next to your shoulders (not under like a traditional push-up) and elbows up, then press up into a plank. Remember to keep your core as tight as possible, and keep your glutes engaged as well.
The straighter you can keep your torso without sagging, the greater strength you have when it comes to core stability! If your push-up looks more like an upward dog, try incorporating more core workouts into your workout schedule, like pilates, circuit training and yoga.