Fitness Testing
Flexibility Test

For this field test a measuring tape or 36 inch ruler is required for this test. This test should be done after a short warm-up for the lower back and hamstring muscles. The individual should be seated with shoes removed and with legs outstretched and feet 10 inches apart. Insure that legs are flat on the floor and not bent. The measuring tape is positioned with the 15 inch mark at the heels and the zero mark towards the body. With the hands crossed and fingers even, the individual under test reaches forward and holds momentarily while measurement is taken. Take three trials and record the highest reading. Consult the table below.

Source: Based on YMCA data as reported by the ACSM

One-Minute Sit-Up Test

The individual to be tested should lie on the floor in the supine position with the knees bent at a 45 degree angle. The feet should be placed 12 inches apart and the fingers interlocked behind the head. Hold the individuals ankles to maintain heel contact with the floor. Instruct the individual to breathe out on the way up. Begin the test and have them do as many sit-up as they can in one minute. Consult the table below.

Pushup Test

The individual to be tested should lie on the floor in the prone position with the hands pointed forward and immediately under the shoulders. Start with the chin touching the floor then push up by straightening the arms. Instruct the individual to maintain body alignment as they push up.

For males, the legs should be extended out and positioned together using the feet as pivots. For females, the upper leg should be straight out using the knees as pivots. There is no time limit for this test. Instruct the individual to complete as many pushups as they can. Discontinue the test when the individual begins to exhibit straining. Consult the table below.

Three-Minute Step Test

The purpose of this test is to assess the cardiovascular recovery capability. Assemble a 12 inch high step, a metronome or music recorded at 96 bpm and a stop watch. The individual should not talk during this test and be advised to discontinue stepping if pain, dizziness, shortness of breath or nausea is experienced. Begin stepping with right up, left up, right down, left down to each beat or metronome click thereby completing 24 cycles per minute. Continue for 3 minutes. Keep an eye on the participant for signs fatigue, red face or shortness of breath. At the end of the 3 minute period, the individual should sit and the pulse should be located within 5 seconds. The recovery heart rate should be counted for 1 minute. Consult the table below.

3 Minute Step Test (Men)

3 Minute Step Test (Women)

Source: Canadian Public Health Association Project.

Body Composition

Obesity is defined as that percentage of body fat that begins to increase the chances for cardiovascular disease. Ideal body fat levels for men are 12% to 17% and 18% to 22% for women. As previously mentioned, body fat is essential for certain bodily functions. Sometimes body type, determined genetically, prevents an individual from achieving unrealistic body shaping goals. There are basically three somatypes or body types. The Endomorph is characterized by a large block shaped body. The Mesomorph is characterized by a solid muscular structure. The Ectomorph is characterized by a frail, slight build and very little fat.

There are various methods for determining the amount of body fat, none are exact. The most accurate is hydrostatic weighing. The individual is weighed in air then weighed in water. The water weight is subtracted from the air weight. The body fat percentage is derived from these two figures. There are electrical impedance, ultrasound and infrared measuring devices also, both are not as accurate. The most common and relatively accurate method is by skin caliper.

There are three methods of interpreting skinfold measurements to body composition. The first is the Durnan Formula based on the four point method and is based on a standard adult population. The second is the Jackson-Pollack three point method and is based on a lean athlete. The third is the Slaughter-Lohman two point method based on a child population of 8 to 18 years of age.

To determine body fat by the skin caliper method using the Durnan Formula, four points are measured on the right side of the body according to the table below. First, using the thumb and forefinger of the left hand, grasp the skin about 1 cm above the site location. Hold the calipers perpendicular to the site and measure while still grasping the skin. Take three readings and record the average caliper measurement for that site. Now measure the other sites. The four caliper measurements are then summed. This total measurement in millimeters is then matched up with the table on the following page for men or women. Taking readings after exercise will give false readings.

Creative Health Products in Plymouth, Michigan is one source of a very wide variety of skinfold calipers in all price ranges.

Based on the Durnan Formula, four point method.