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5 Most Popular Physical Fitness Tests

Fitday Editor
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To best determine whether you're at the peak of your physical health, you can use different types of physical fitness tests. Different tests check for various aspects of physical well-being. There are tests that focus on gauging your strength, stamina, flexibility, and more. Tests can focus on one particular physical trait, a combination of two or several, and even your overall physical fitness.

If you're interested in finding out how you fare against standard measures, here are 5 of the most popular and commonly used physical fitness tests.

1. The Bruce Test

Designed to evaluate cardiovascular performance, the Bruce Test was designed as a clinical treadmill stress test. The purpose was to diagnose patients with suspected heart diseases, and the results would point to possible coronary problems. Today, this physical fitness test is also used to measure VO2 Max, or maximum oxygen intake, among athletes. You begin on the treadmill at a manageable pace and incline. At certain intervals, both incline and treadmill speed increases until your threshold is reached.

2. Illinois Agility

Also called the Illinois Agility Run, this physical fitness test was designed to determine agility. The running course is composed of cones lined up, and a set running track that crisscrosses around the cones. This determines your capability to quickly turn in other directions while running at a high speed.

3. Harvard Step Test

Also a test for cardiovascular function, this test can easily be administered at home. All you need is a 12-inch high bench or box to stand on, and a stopwatch. For three minutes, simply step up and down the platform at a steady pace. Then time how long it takes for your heart rate to normalize. The shorter the interval, the better your cardiovascular condition is. This physical fitness test is also known as the Cardiac Stress Test or Cardiovascular Endurance Test.

4. Beep Tests

This test is also commonly known as the Bleep Test or Shuttle Run. Some also refer to it as the Pacer Test or 20-meter Shuttle Run Test. To start this test, cones are placed 20 meters apart from each other. You then run to and from each cone according to recorded beeps or bleeps. A specialized Bleep Test CD may be required for this. The intervals between bleeps get shorter, thus requiring you to run faster. This physical fitness test is generally used to measure VO2 Max. It's also an indication of your endurance and aerobic energy.

5. Vertical Jump

This is another test that you can do at home with very minimal requirements. This is used to determine leg muscle strength. It is sometimes called the Vertical Leap or the Sargent Jump - named after American physical education pioneer, Dudley Sargent. To perform the test, you attempt to reach the highest point on a wall by jumping.

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