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Fitness testing: how do you measure your progress?


Posted by Cags R under General on 15 October 2012 at 11:00 PM

For the majority of us, we exercise with certain goals in mind. Whether it's to lose weight, to gain fitness, to become stronger, faster or more flexible, but how many of us take the time to monitor and measure our progress?

Here are some simple ways to keep track of how effective your training is in 4 key fitness areas:


Top personal trainer, Christian Finn says to keep track of your progress in strength training, you should keep it simple; keep a record of your 1 rep max in the bench press, squat, deadlift and standing press. 

In the early stages of training, you will see much faster improvements than once you are lifting bodyweight and above; do not become disheartened if the rate of improvement decreases but you should take note if you feel you are reaching a plateau.


In terms of cardiovascular endurance, top sports teams still lay a lot of stock in the bleep test. Also known as the 20m shuttle run, the bleep test is a simple test to perform; using an audio track (available for download) which sets your running pace between the 2 markers set 20m apart.

The time between 'bleeps' gets faster as time goes on and your work rate intensity must increase to keep up with it.


This is often one of the most neglected and overlooked aspects of fitness which, if given the appropriate level of recognition, could help avoid injury and improve performance in other areas of fitness. There are plenty of yoga and stretching Challenges on Tribesports but it is definitely not one of the easiest things to tangibly measure.

Another call on tradition fitness testing is required here; if you are trying to improve your flexibility than the sit and reach test (with warmed up muscles, very important!) is actually a very quick and easy way to test your lower back, hip and hamstring flexibility. This is really good for runners and cyclists who often suffer from shortened hamstrings due to the repeated contractions of running and cycling.

Using a box, a ruler and an assistant, test how far you can reach forward along the box.


Whether you're a marathon runner or a sprinter, time matters! This is especially true if you have set yourself targets for big races. You should make sure your training runs are realistically reflecting your target time; if you're not maintaining the right pace to achieve your goal then you need to readjust how you are training - for longer distances especially it is very worth while setting yourself higher intensity shorter distances which will challenge you rather than running at your race pace over the shorter distance.

By regularly measuring your progress, you will also find that you can identify weaknesses or set backs before they take great affect on your performance, it will also make you more conscious of how effective your training is. How do you measure your progress? 

  • Encourage

    encouraged this.



    I never really kept track of much except weight/fat loss. As I continue to tone up, I will likely begin keeping track of my flexibility and stamina and others listed above. Except with speed, my co-workers and I have kind of made it a competition to improve out mile run time. Being the only girl, I'm a little behind the rest of them, BUT improvement is the focus, not the time specifically. When I started to lose weight, I knew that the actual number on the scale may not be my best method to measurement, which ultimately proved true. Although I ended up losing 40lbs in 7 months, for about 2 months, I lost MAYBE 3-4lbs and it was extremely discouraging. But I kept measurements of my body: arms, legs, hips, waist, chest and just saw the inches continuing to fall off. THAT was the motivation for me to keep going. And even now, all I have left is to lose the excess 'protection' over my midsection and on my hips. I know that I'm toning so I will continue to keep my weight of 140-145lbs just because I'm losing fat and putting on muscle, so the measurement system as well as pictures are what continue to get me through. As my profile picture shows, you can see a pretty significant difference in just the 4 months of the pictures, but I still weigh between 140-145. So if the scale was all I was dependent on, I may have missed the extent of improvement.

    Cags R and Libby L encouraged this.


    I have used the Beep test for checking endurance

    Sascha T encouraged this.


    Keep up the progress @gemwells04 - sounds like your workplace has a pretty cool way of team building, how's your mile time going?

    Jen W encouraged this.


    I keep track of my 1rm, 3rm and usually my 5rm for the big 3 (or 4). Plus my max lifts with Olympic movements


    Good reminder Cags...............thanks


    Students at high school regularly take the Beep Test and monitor their results, is this the same as the Bleep Test quoted in the article?


    I never did that but as time have passed I feel that lot of stamina and endurance built up compared to fellows around me..

    Cags R encouraged this.


    Yes @janeh, it's the same test (often performed in gymnasiums using the lines of the basketball court for guidance) beep and bleep test is also known as the pacer test but I believe the technical term is Multi-stage fitness test (well that's not very catchy!)


    I was quite happy just jogging along with a bit of yoga etc til I read this so I think I will spend some time looking into this! Guess there's no point in not trying to improve, but I still love - just going out and doing it!

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