Category: Fitness

Flexibility Tests

Below are several of the most common flexibility tests you’ll see Health and Fitness Professionals perform with their clients. This is not an all inclusive list, and with time, more will be added.

Sit and Reach Test

The Sit and Reach Test is the most common flexibility test. It measures the flexibility of the lower back and hamstrings. For this assessment, you’ll be asked to sit on the floor with your knees and feet together in front of you. When seated, you’ll be asked to reach forward as far as possible with your hands together. Then you’ll be asked to do it again! Very often, your fitness professional will have a box that you place your feet against. If not, then a tape measure is used.

90-90 Hamstring Test

The 90-90 Hamstring Flexibility Test is used by fitness professionals to determine hamstring flexibility. You’ll be asked to lie down on your back with legs extended. Then your fitness professional will take a leg, flex the hip 90 degrees, and then attemp to extend the lower leg completely. Unless you’re very flexible, your leg will not extend completely. Good flexibility is when your leg extends to between 20 and 0 degrees.

Goniometric Testing

Goniometric testing evaluates the range of motion allowed at the measured joint. To do this, a measurement tool known as the goniometer is used. You’ll be asked to lay down on your back, as the major joints, such as the ankle, knee, hip and shoulder are measured. Very often, the range of motion is limited by muscle flexibility, or lack thereof. A fitness professional that understands how to perform and apply the results of this type of assessment will understand how to address muscle dysfunction and correct movement compensations.

Cardiorespiratory Assessment: The Heart and Lungs

Here are some common cardiorespiratory assessments Fitness Professionals use to test the heart and lungs. This is by no means an all inclusive list!

YMCA 3-minute Step Test

The YMCA 3-minute step test is a cardiorespiratory assessment that establishes a baseline so the fitness professional can provide an appropriate workout. This test assesses how quickly your heart recovers after 3 minutes of stepping on a 12 inch step, to a set cadence using a metronome (96 beats per minute). Immediately after the 3 minutes, you’ll be asked to sit down and your heart rate measured for 1 full minute. The more conditioned you are, the faster your heart rate recovers. Below are results tables.

Ratings for Men, Based on Age
18-25 26-35 36-45 46-55 56-65 65+
Excellent 50-76 51-76 49-76 56-82 60-77 59-81
Good 79-84 79-85 80-88 87-93 86-94 87-92
Above Average 88-93 88-94 92-88 95-101 97-100 94-102
Average 95-100 96-102 100-105 103-111 103-109 104-110
Below Average 102-107 104-110 108-113 113-119 111-117 114-118
Poor 111-119 114-121 116-124 121-126 119-128 121-126
Very Poor 124-157 126-161 130-163 131-159 131-154 130-151
Ratings for Women, Based on Age
18-25 26-35 36-45 46-55 56-65 65+
52-81 58-80 51-84 63-91 60-92 70-92
Good 85-93 85-92 89-96 95-101 97-103 96-101
Above Average 96-102 95-101 100-104 104-110 106-111 104-111
Average 104-110 104-110 107-112 113-118 113-118 116-121
Below Average 113-120 113-119 115-120 120-124 119-127 123-126
Poor 122-131 122-129 124-132 126-132 129-135 128-133
Very Poor 135-169 134-171 137-169 137-171 141-174 135-155


Balke 15 Minute Run

The Balke 15 minute run is used to predict VO2max. This is a measure of how well your body can take in and utilize oxygen. After a dynamic warmup, you will be asked to run for 15 continuous minutes, usually around a 400 meter track. The distance covered in the run is plugged into the equation that follows, and then compared to a table of normative data.

VO2 = 6.5 + 12.5 x km covered

Bruce Treadmill Test

The Bruce Treadmill Test is used widely in the clinical setting. If you’ve ever had a stress test ordered by a cardiologist, chances are, you’ve performed a Bruce Treadmill Test. The procedure for this test involves walking on a treadmill that increases its speed and incline every 3 minutes. Since this test is a maximal test, you will be required to continue until completely fatigued. In a clinical setting, the clinician will use other vitals such as blood pressure and EKG readings to determine fatigue, and whether progression is appropriate.

Cooper 12 Minute Run Test

The Cooper 12 Minute Run assesses VO2max. For this test, you’ll be asked to run around a 400 meter track, as fast as you can, for 12 minutes. The total distance covered is plugged into a formula, and a VO2max prediction is the result. The equation follows:

0.0225 x meters covered minus 11.3

For instance, if you ran 2500 meters in 12 minutes: .0225×2500-11.3 = 52.45 ml/kg/min

* A lap around the track is 400 meters.

Rockport Walk Test

The Rockport Walk Test is just that – a cardiorespiratory assessment that tests how fast you can walk — a mile. After completing the mile, your pulse is measured, and then added to the equation below. This test is great for people that are interested in walking for cardiovascular fitness, because it can serve as a time to improve upon with subsequent re-testing!

Females: VO2 = 139.168 – (0.388 x age) – (0.077 x weight in lb.) – (3.265 x walking time in minutes) – (0.156 x heart rate)

Males: add 6.318, So: VO2 = 139.168 + 6.318 – (0.388 x age) – (0.077 x weight in lb.) – (3.265 x walking time in minutes) – (0.156 x heart rate)


Trusted Fitness Links

These are my trusted fitness links. It is my hope that if you can’t find what you’re looking for here, you’ll find at one of the following sites!

Perform Better!

Perform Better carries every piece of fitness equipment you will ever need. Whether you just want to read a good book, buy a few toys to carry in the trunk of your car, or buy a large piece of equipment for your home gym – Perform Better has it all. Their customer service is top notch. If you can’t find it in my store, you’ll definitely find it in theirs!

This online-superstore carries every supplement you need to reach your nutritional and fitness goals! If you’re looking for something specific, this is a great place to start. You’ll always save money here versus buying elsewhere, customer service is top-notch, and there are always additional promotions and savings to take advantage of. The site also has a large online forum, nutritional advice, and free workouts (of course, mine are way better).

Stone Athletic MedicineAthletic Medicine Logo

Created by Josh Stone, Stone Athletic Medicine brings original writing that is on the forefront of science and fitness. Josh served as a mentor to me, and I have to attribute a great deal of my knowledge to working side by side with him. His writing is relevant and refreshing, often putting a new spin on traditional thinking.

MadSweat.comMadSweat Logo

This is another fantastic resource that is NASM-OPT driven. If you are local to me in the Phoenix area and looking for a Certified Personal Trainer who will give you results and make it fun, drop MadSweat a line. Also be sure to check out the blog which has lots of excellent information. What a great site! I had the pleasure of meeting Russel Wynter and Crystal Reeves when NASM opened its new office doors to the public in 2012. They are great people, and committed to empowering people to live a healthy lifestyle!


Form Fitness Logo

Form Fitness 

David Wentz is a long time friend and former co-worker of mine. He also had the great idea of putting together a resource for his clients, where they could read up and find tips to support their healthy lifestyle and fitness goals. . If you ever find yourself on the Caribbean island of St. Croix, and would like to work with a top notch professional, contact David!


The National Academy of Sports Medicine

The National Academy of Sports MedicineThe National Academy of Sports Medicine, or NASM, prides itself on evidence based, and scientifically proven methods of exercise. It offers a personal training certification and several advanced specializations. Advanced Specializations include the Corrective Exercise Specialist, Performance Enhancement Specialist, and Fitness Nutrition Specialist. In 2012, the organization produced and launched 5 new specializations. These were MMACS, YES, SFS, WFS, and GFS. I was responsible for developing YES from start to finish. <– tooting my own horn, because I can, and should! Below, you’ll find a description for each certification and specialization.


NASM-CPT – You can be assured that those holding the NASM-CPT credential from the National Academy of Sports Medicine have mastered goal-specific program design, and learned how to provide accurate assessments to a wide variety of clientele. The comprehensive course is accredited and covers everything from human movement science, to physiology, to program design. Those with this credential are readily able to apply programming methodologies based on fitness assessment results. The progressions utilized sometimes differ from those who have undergone certification through a different organization. Programming is based on the National Academy of Sports Medicine’s OPT® Model, a scientifically proven method for providing progression.

NASM-CES – Those holding this credential specialize in injury prevention and recovery. They are trained in movement assessments, inhibitory techniques, muscle activation techniques and common musculoskeletal impairments. According to NASM, this is the preferred injury prevention and recovery credential of the National Basketball Athletic Trainers Association (NBATA) In order to be eligible for this advanced specialization, the trainer must already be an NASM-CPT, OR in the UK be considered REPs Level 3+, OR have a 4-year degree in a related field such as Athletic Training, Nutrition, or Sport Science.

NASM-PES – Performance Enhancement Specialists are experts in sports conditioning. They are able to bring athletes to top levels of performance, and keep them performing at the highest level. Just as with the CES, in order to be eligible for this advanced specialization, the trainer must already be an NASM-CPT, OR in the UK be considered REPs Level 3+, OR have a 4-year degree in a related field such as Athletic Training, Nutrition, or Sport Science.


NASM-FNS – It’s estimated that by 2030, over half of Americans will be obese, and over 85% overweight. This is something that deeply disturbes me. Although healthy habits start with our children, you can teach an old dog new tricks. The National Academy of Sports Medicine created the FNS to help put a dent into these statistics, and educate professionals with what they need to know while staying within their scope of practice. A personal trainer is not allowed to provide nutritional guidance or programming under many state and federal laws. This is why we have nutritionists and registered dieticians. However, clients will often come to the trainer as the first source of information. This is where fitness professionals can make a difference in knowing what type of guidance they can safely provide, and when to refer out. This updated course, provides progressive nutritional knowledge, and utilizes MyPlate as a guide for healthy decision making.

NASM-MMACS – Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is one of the fastest growing sports in the world, and to handle the rising demand of clients interested in this type of training, NASM developed the Mixed Martial Arts Conditioning Specialization (MMACS). This isn’t NASM’s first time providing information to those interested in MMA. In 2011, game maker THQ brought out UFC Personal Trainer. This game contained OPT® programming, and parts of the instruction manual were actually written by…yours truly. Trainers with the MMA Conditioning Specialization are able to utilize the same methodologies MMA fighters use to stay in top shape.

NASM-YES – The Youth Exercise Specialization lies dear to my heart, mainly because I spent months of long hours working on it. Although there are a few more components I would have included, but was unable to, the specialization does a great job of simplifying fitness for youths, and provides options for keeping fitness fun. In my experience, youths have about a 5 second attention span (that’s a joke). Someone holding this credential is definitely able to provide safe programming for youths. It’s great for coaches, trainers, and curious parents.

NASM-SFS The Senior Fitness Specialization caters to a growing segment of the fitness populous. Baby boomers are getting older, and fitness a priority. Thirty percent of adults over 65 experience an accidental fall each year. These accidental falls account for $19 billion in direct medical care expenditure each year. Professionals with this credential are able to develop fall prevention programs for seniors as well as guide them in terms of leading healthy, active lifestyles.

NASM-WFS – The Women’s Fitness Specialization takes a comprehensive look at women’s fitness. It includes pre and post-natal, adolescent, and senior fitness and nutrition concepts. Women and men have differences when it comes to fitness and one mold definitely does not fit both sexes. A professional that has this specialization understands these differences, and is effectively able to apply this knowledge and provide superior programming for women in all stages of life.

NASM-GFS – The golf industry brings in $76 billion/year. Throughout the year, golfers typically play an average of 37 rounds. If you do the math, that’s A LOT of one-sided golf swings. This can lead to overuse injury, and prevention of this is a huge reason this specialization was developed by the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Professionals with this credential are able to assess golfers’ posture, general movement, and swing, narrowing in where deficiencies exist. They’re able to provided optimal programming that prevents overuse injury commonly associated with golf, and encourages gains in overall performance and stamina.

NASM-WLS – Coming Soon