Last week I wrote about 4 things that you should be able to do now and forever. These things are what allow us to express basic competency in movement and are necessary throughout life:
Full Air Squat
This week, I am sharing with you the top 4 things that are the best measures of fitness. Use these as benchmarks to gauge your capacity across varying elements, time domains, and energy pathways. My list includes activities that show abilities over short and long efforts. They range from body weight to heavy loads. These 4 tests of fitness should be measured and tested anywhere from annually to quarterly to give you a picture of how you are progressing in your map towards chasing fitness. These measurables should be something that you know by heart; things that tell your story of what you do the days, weeks, and months between each test. There should be no question when asked, “how fast can you run a mile?” You should know exactly where you are with each benchmark.
These are the top 4 benchmarks that I have used to measure fitness:
1 Mile Time Trial - Even if you can’t run, you can walk a fast mile, and this still becomes something very measurable for you.
1 Minute Assault Bike Max Calorie - Don’t have access to an assault or airdyne bike, no problem, find a stationary bike that has measurable metrics (distance, calories, watts, …..) go all out for 1 minute and score it.
20 Rep Max Back Squat - Yes, this requires some technique and skill! I like that about this test because the better you move the higher your score. Make sure to work into this by doing 5 warm up sets with a light load. Then do 5 sets of 5 to 10, building in load until you have what you think is your estimated 20 repetition max. Once you have it set, go for it! If you loaded too light then come back to it another day at a heavier load. Repeat efforts of this in a single day won’t give you accurate results because fatigue sets in quickly.
5 Miles - Combining something long with something functional from my list of things, you should be able to do now and forever, run! Now if you can’t run, don’t worry, you can do this interval style. Maybe it’s a 1 minute run and a 5 minute walk until you get to 5 miles. I know that 5 miles seems a bit long for some of you, but it gives us a great picture of true fitness capacity in the sense that we have now measured everything from a 1 minute effort to a 5 mile effort.
Again, these are designed to measure capacity, not just completion. These tests should not be done on the same day. You want to approach each element with an all out effort.
The key to all of this is that you need to be consistent with testing and you must have a movement practice that allows for you to stay fit across all of these elements. Varying your training from long and slow to fast and aggressive is important. Nutrition, recovery, and lifestyle are just as important.