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Easy at-home tests to see your fitness level

August 24, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
There are all kinds of tests out there to see what kind of shape you're in. We have some easy exercise exams that you can do just about anywhere.

"We are going to put some attention or intention on various areas of the body and the mind, and we are going to measure them. And when we measure them, there is no more guessing," said fitness pro Gary Kobat.

Kobat says to take guess work out of your fitness level with a workout exam.

Remember when they tested you in high school? Chances are you aren't in the same shape.

Kobat put his client, Lori Annes, through a few tests. Annes is training for a marathon and was happy to comply.

"[I'm] trying them just to see where I am at to get a base line," said Annes. "It's a really important thing."

First up is leg strength, which Kobat measured by having Annes take one big hop to measure the power in her legs, noting that one side generally does better than the other. Less than 12 inches is considered poor, more than 2 feet is good.

For core strength, he measures how long you can hold a side or front plank position. Beginners can start on elbows and toes then graduate to hands and toes. Less than a minute is poor, and more than 90 seconds is good.

A pushup exercise is a nice gauge of upper body strength. Beginners are on their hands and knees and those who are advanced are on hands and toes. On average, 13 to 15 is considered good. If you're under five to seven, you need work.

You can also try holding the position with bent elbows for as long as you can.

To test your ticker for cardio recovery, try a three-minute bench step test with at least a foot to 18 inches in height, stepping up and down as quickly as possible. Check a heart chart or wear a monitor to find your aerobic range, and then see how quickly your heart recovers. Ideally, you want the heart rate to come down quickly.

And how flexible are you? A toe touch helps determine hamstring and low-back flexibility. But hold, don't bounce - it won't help relax or lengthen muscles.

How about trunk rotation? See how far right and left you can rotate with your feet planted from a wall.

For a balance check, see how well you do on all fours, and then extend an opposite arm and leg without tilting, shaking or wobbling.

Kobat feels checking iron levels in blood, even brain chemical output, is also important. These tests would need to be done by a physician for reportedly about $300 each.

Kobat's source is Dr. David Allen at the Center for Optimum Health in Los Angeles.

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