One of my health goals this year is to improve my overall strength. I’ve lost a lot of strength as I’ve gained weight and since my foot prevented me from doing many exercises. I need to get that back, and to evaluate my progress, I took a specific fitness test. This fitness test is one I first came across in May 2013, back when my weight was still all trim in the 150s. Since then, I’ve taken the test six times, including this past weekend. Before this last test, the last time I took it was at the beginning of 2015. In all my previous tests, my weights have ranged from 158 to 170 – in other words, far below my current 225 lbs. That, of course, affected many parts of this test, especially the exercises that involved pushing/pulling/holding up my entire body weight. Still, I was surprised to find that despite the 60 lbs of gain, I’m not doing too badly in terms of strength.
Pull-ups: I knew this one would be severely affected both by my heavier weight and by my major abdominal surgery in 2014. Indeed, my highest pull-up count was just before surgery with 4, and I haven’t been able to do more than 1 since then. I’m currently unable to do any, so I took my hanging time instead. It’s a paltry 12 seconds. I really want that to improve!!
Push-ups: Ditto the body weight thing. I could only do 8 push-ups. Previous tests have ranged from 15 to 32. I have a long way to go!
Toe touch: This is one area in which I’ve improved – yay yoga! I can reach 7 inches past my toes with straight legs, and hold it there no problem. Previous tests show in the 3-4 inch range.
V-crunches (no hands): This is another one affected by my abdominal surgery. My abs are just not what they used to be. Still, I managed 16 of these without putting hands or feet down, and previous numbers were only around 21, so I’m not doing as bad as I thought here!
Wall squat: I expected to last less than 30 seconds on this exercise. When I hit 1:09, I was extremely surprised. The highest time I’d gotten previously was only 1:23, and my time today was longer than almost every other test score. Woot!
Arm curls: This is a to-failure exercise, and you have to estimate the poundage to use. When I first started taking these tests, I used 10 lbs in each hand and could only do 14 curls before my muscles gave out. I later upped the weights to 15/hand as my strength grew, but I knew that wouldn’t work out now, so I dropped back to 10. Still, I got 23 curls in before failure, so my arms are apparently stronger than they were at my lowest weight of these tests. Again, yay yoga! I’m guessing all those downward dogs are improving my arm strength, haha.
There were two exercises I had to skip on this test – vertical leap and a jumping jacks heart rate test – due to my foot injury (nothing high impact! jumping is out!). Generally, though, I have a good baseline to work on, with a plan to re-take this test on a quarterly basis.