From Well + Good: A fun way to measure all your gains in the gym.
You sprint and squat all over town, but do you ever stop to think about what all of that sweat is actually doing for your body?
While almost all exercise is good for you, understanding your strengths and weaknesses is key if you’re looking to create change and make progress (and avoid injury!), says Refine Method founder Brynn Putnam, a Harvard-educated former pro ballerina who applies the latest exercise science to the smart training offered at her three New York City workout studios.
“While an athlete can measure progress through wins, the average exerciser isn’t training with a clear finish line and they’re also generally using poor tools, like the scale, to gauge success,” she explains. “You have to first clarify what your goal is in a specific and measurable way and then create a plan to get from point A to point B.”
Ready to start? Putnam created this set of nine exercises that addresses all of the important components of fitness (and demo-ed them for us at her West Village studio). “These exercises are things that we feel like the average person should be able to do in order to be a healthy, functional human being,” she says.
Take this fitness test at home to see where you’re starting from, and then combine them into a workout to keep improving your skills, strength, and fitness rockstar status.
If performing as an assessment, complete exercises 1-9 in order, following the designated reps/time below. If performing as a workout, do exercise 1 and exercise 2 as part of your warm-up and then do exercises 3-8 for 2-3 rounds as a circuit, omitting exercise 9.
1. Sitting and Rising Test (SRT): Assess Lower-Body Mobility and Balance
How To: Complete the test once. The goal of the Sitting Rising Test is to get down and up from a seated cross-legged position with minimal support. To get a perfect score on the SRT (10 points total!); cross your feet and lower down to a seated position, then stand back up without losing your balance or touching the ground for support. Each time you touch the ground with your hand, arm, knee, or side of the leg you lose one point. You also lose one point each time you put your hand on your thigh for support. If you lose your balance, either on the way down or on the way up, subtract a half-point. Complete the SRT and total your score.
Goal: Final score of 8 or more points.
2. Vertical Jump: Assess Lower-Body Power
How To: Complete 10 reps then take a brief rest. Repeat 3 times. Start with your feet slightly wider than your hips. Send your hips back, and bend your knees. Jump straight up, then land in the same position that you started in. (Make sure your knees do not collapse inside of your sneakers when you land.)
Goal: Average woman: Jump around 15 inches off of the ground.