While variety may be something you crave in regards to fitness, it’s important to consistently revisit certain moves or activities in order to judge progress. Types of assessments are limitless – from seeing how many pushups you can do in a minute to checking your heart rate after treadmill run. Here are three assessments that you may not be using but can reveal a lot about your current fitness level.
With so much attention to building core strength, it’s advisable to assess that fitness component. The forearm plank not only reveals how strong your core is but how much shoulder stability you have. If there is trouble holding plank, there may be a deficiency in the ability to brace the core musculature, control the pelvis, and protect the lower back.
Beginners should aim for holding forearm plank without the hips sagging or way up in the air for 60 seconds without pain in the shoulders or lower back. If such discomfort exists, make core work a priority in your training. For those who can hold plank 60 seconds or more, you can use how long you can hold plank with good form as an assessment of how your core strength is developing.
The overhead squat is a versatile tool to assess for coordination, core stability, mobility, and overall strength. Start with no weight and just raising the arms overhead, and do not add a bar until you achieve proper form without additional load.
Stand with your toes about a foot away from the wall. Raise your arms overhead and squat to parallel, pushing the hips back, maintaining contact with the floor through your heels, and keeping the chest lifted. If you fall backwards or touch the wall with any body part, you need to work on your squat form before loading this move (or similar ones) with additional weight.
Forward folds aren’t just for yoga; they are a great way to quickly assess hamstring flexibility and lower back mobility. For loaded moves like deadlifts, the information a forward fold can reveal could mean the difference in deadlifting safely and inviting injury.