We Tried This Fitness Test to Start 2018 Off Right (and You Can Do It Too!)
It’s the new year, and naturally we’re thinking about our health, and fitness and how we can improve. Particularly after the holidays, the cold weather and travel kept us inside sitting rather than outside working out. So both Amanda and I started wondering where we actually stood, fitness wise? Because so many of us get down about our fitness and health, we wanted to know how accurate we are about our own fitness.
To find out, we decided to do this at-home fitness test from Spotebi.com to find out where we stand. Here’s some more information about all the elements we tried, so you can try the fitness test as well!
Exercise #1: Push-ups
Push-ups may seem intimidating, but they shouldn’t be. And luckily, if you are new to the exercise, you can start on your knees and work your way up. Push-ups strengthen tons of the muscles in your upper body, including your chest and triceps. And strong triceps look GREAT come tank top season!
- Get on your knees, place your hands on the ground, about shoulder width apart.
- Tighten your core, so your body is in a straight line. Lift up onto your feet, or stay on your knees.
- Lower your body, still in a straight line, until you almost touch the ground.
- Use your chest muscles to push yourself back up to the starting position.
Basic Form Mistakes to Avoid:
Throughout this exercise, you want to keep your shoulders down, not hunched near your ears. You also want to keep your abs tight, so your body is in as straight of a line as possible. However, you don’t want your back to arch, because that could strain it.
Exercise #2: Planks
I have done a LOT of ab workouts in my life, but there is nothing quite like doing planks consistently to strengthen your entire core. Practicing planks will make you look and feel great.
- Get on your knees, place your elbows (or hands) on the ground, about shoulder width apart.
- Tighten your core, so your body is in a straight line. Lift up onto your feet.
- Hold that position, keeping your body in a straight line for as long as you can.
Basic Form Issues to Avoid:
The position is the same as a push-up position, except you usually rest on your elbows – although if you’re feeling strong, you could do it with arms extended. Make sure to hold your abs in and keep your body in a straight line – no sagging!
Exercise #3: Squats
Squats work your entire lower body, and it’s an essential exercise to learn if you want to improve your strength. I have a love hate relationship with them, because they make me feel like a badass Amazon warrior, but they are also incredibly hard and make my legs feel like spaghetti noodles.
- Stand with your feet hip width apart, and your toes slightly turned out.
- Pull in your abs, so your core is tight and your spine is neutral.
- Sit back as if sitting into a chair. (It’s actually really helpful to learn this movement by using a chair or box at first.
- When your knees reach about perpendicular, stop.
- Push through your glute muscles to press back up to standing.
Basic Form Issues to Avoid:
One of the main rules to remember with squats is that you want to keep your knees behind your toes. If your knees go in front of your toes as you bend down, you’re not pushing your butt back far enough – and that can hurt your knees. And if you can’t get low enough, start shallow and build up to deeper squats. Sometimes, our hips are tight, but practice will help loosen them up.
Exercise #4: Aerobic Steps
This part of the fitness test was the most confusing for us, because we thought we were supposed to try and make the steps aerobic. However, afterward, we realized we were suppose to go at a more normal pace to see that our heart rate could deal with mild exercise without getting too high.
How To Take Your Heart Rate:
- Place two fingers on your neck just under your jawline. You should be able to feel your pulse.
- Get a timer ready. Start the timer, and count the beats.
- Count for 30 seconds, and then double that number.
- The resulting number is your heart rate.
- You can check this chart to see where you land for your age.
Exercise #5: Stretch
Stretching is such an important part of fitness, but it’s definitely the part I often skip. Stretching helps to combat the negative effects of sitting at our computers all day. Stretching can also ease chronic pains, if you tend to get a stiff neck or back. Plus, making sure to stretch your muscles can make them better able to perform your workouts and recover from them.
The forward fold we did during the fitness test is a great start, and it’s part of our 5 essential stretches that you need in your life.
The 5 essential stretches you need to do:
Cobra / Upward Dog
Single Leg Stretch