Weekly column by fitness experts Adam Wright and Jacqui Watson for the Waterford News & Star, in association with Kingfisher Fitness Club
THE following are based on a social media post I read recently that really made me think. This isn’t any kind of official list. I don’t even 100% agree with some of them… but they’re interesting. The idea being that if you can’t “pass” these tests (or your training routine isn’t moving you towards being able to pass these tests) then it might be worth looking at the makeup of your training as it relates to fitness, health and longevity. Let’s talk about them!
Touch your toes
Standing, with straight legs, bend over, reach down and touch your toes. This one I agree with. It’s a pretty basic measure of flexibility. If this isn’t something a person can do there’s a good chance there are other basic movement patterns they struggle with as well (like a good quality squat for example). For those of you that are already mad at me because you’ve never been able to do this it’s worth noting that the inability to do this may not be down to just pure flexibility. I’ve seen a load of people touch their toes for the first time or get much closer than ever before after just a few minutes of prep work using a couple of towels. I’m not going to write out the whole process here but if you want to talk about it message me @AdamWrightPT on Instagram or Facebook.
Get down to and up from the ground without using your hands
I like this one, it’s a bit of fun. Don’t over complicate it with loads of questions. Whatever way you can, go from standing to lying on the ground and back without using your hands (and without hurting yourself, don’t just fall over!) It’s another measure of flexibility and mobility, balance and a little bit of strength. How realistic is this in terms of real life… probably not very… but many tests aren’t realistic (math teachers used to tell me I wouldn’t always have a calculator in real life *points at smartphone*).
Run a mile
Getting tougher but I still agree. This is the first one that challenges a more generally held idea of fitness. Not super fast or anything, just the ability to maintain a run, without having to stop, for a mile distance. Simple… not easy. If you find yourself getting defensive over any of these ideas for tests it probably just means you have some biases when it comes to what you like in exercise… we all do. But remember, this isn’t saying you have to run in training, it’s more a basic test of cardiovascular endurance. Train your cardio however you like, just have the training be adequate enough that you have the ability to do at least this.
Perform 20 proper push ups
This one will ruffle some feathers. I think I’d reduce this number a bit based on demographic. Age though, not gender. If anything I’d suggest a higher number for males as opposed to a lower number for females. If you can’t do this now but your training is moving you towards it (you actually practice push ups as part of your training) then your training makes sense as far as this test is concerned. Remember the idea behind these suggested tests is not to shame you but to highlight possible inadequacies with your training routine.
Carry your own bodyweight for 45 seconds
In your hands, not on your shoulders. This one would trip up a lot of people. I’d find this tough too. Grip strength has been shown in research to correlate to longevity. If your training involves heavy pulling exercises like deadlifts, rows, pull ups, lat pull downs, and maybe some farmers carry, you’re working towards it and that’s good enough. If it doesn’t then that could be an indicator that your training isn’t covering every angle related to health.
I thought these were fun to think about. If you have questions or you’d like to discuss them further find me @AdamWrightPT on Instagram or Facebook. Stay safe. Have a great week!