5 Fitness Test Drills and Ideas

Last week I talked all about how to plan your sessions to handle multiple fitness levels. The most accurate way to identify a campers fitness level is to run frequent fitness tests.

Also if you have been reading Bootcamp Ideas for a while then you will also know I’m not a big fan of measuring BMI, body fat or weight.

Just because you can measure something, doesn’t mean that it’s valuable.

That is an easy trap to get into and a dangerous one.

On the other hand fitness testing is very practical, not only for your planning but also for showing clients improvement even if the scale or mirror is trying to tell them otherwise.

There are many different ways to test your clients’ fitness and I’m sure you have your favourite methods (which I would love for you to share below). Here are some one’s that are super easy to implement.

shoes race

Mile Testing

This is a test I hear frequently in the US.

A mile is around 1.6km. By coincidence, back in Australia I used a 1.5km loop to regularly test my clients fitness levels.

Set up: Plot out a route that you can easily explain to your clients. Out to a landmark and back or a loop around your park both work well. MapMyRun is a good tool for measuring how far a course is.

Execution: A simple stop watch is all you need for this. Call out clients times and have them remember the time as they cross the finish line. Then once everyone has completed their run, mark off the run times on a spreadsheet.

Alternative: Instead of always running the same route, plot out a few different routes for variety. For example I had 3 courses. We would rotate through them every 4 months. I used a 1.2km steep hill out and back run, the 1500m run I mentioned about and a 1km loop that featured a nice gradual climb and a steep descent. Clients would run the loop twice for a total of 2km.

Beep Test

I remember participating in the beep test at school. I hated it and now your clients can learn to hate it too.

For those who aren’t aware, the beep test is a 20m shuttle run that gradually increases in speed. You have to keep up with the periodic beep or you are out. Read more.

It is a good way to estimate your clients’ VO2max level.

Set up: You need an accurate way to measure and mark out a 20m distance. Netball courts are great for this – two thirds is approximately 20m. Buy a beep test app for your phone or source a CD. You will then need a way to play it loud enough for everyone to hear.

Execution: Play the test. Clients must not fail meeting a beep two rounds in a row. The can miss one beep but must make it up on the next beep.

If they do fail to make it then they are out and their score is the last completed level.

One Minute Strength Testing

I like to do this with push ups. Not just regular push ups but hand release push ups.

This way it becomes a repeatable test. The depth of the push up is always to the ground and the height of the push up is until arms are extended. The core must be tight, no dancing worms.

Set up: Get everyone lined up in alphabetical order. This will make it quick for you to mark down the reps at the end.

Execution: Set a timer for one minute and go. Have people count their own reps or run the test in two groups with one half of the group doing push ups while the other half counts. Then swap and test the other half.

Alternative: Run the test for 2 minutes instead. This requires a lot more endurance. Also check out Chris Commando’s killer series of one minute tests on the Facebook group.

Cadence Testing

This is a military style test where you actually count out each rep to a cadence.

Example: For push ups it goes 1 – down, 2 – pause at bottom, 3 – up and 4 pause at top before returning back to 1. The 1st and 3rd counts are on the second mark while the 2nd and 4th counts are on the half second. So it takes 2 full seconds to complete the round.

As you can imagine it gets boring (and makes your voice hoarse) pretty quickly counting from 1 to 4 dozens of times in a row so I developed my own version.

I like to do this test with squat jumps.

Set up: Set an interval timer for an unlimited number of 2 second rounds. Make sure you have some way of counting the rounds.

Execution: Clients begin in a squat position. Hips must be at knees or lower (but not resting at the bottom). Every 2 seconds on the beep clients will perform one squat jump before returning to the squat position.

A clients score is the number of rounds she lasts. A client is out when either they can no longer get their feet off the ground during the jump or if they can’t get their hips low enough between reps.

Have them raise a hand when they are out and call out the current round. Collect the score from them afterwards. Watch for people just sticking their ass out and not squatting.

The Squat 3/4 Mile

From Andi Garcia. Thanks to Andi for inspiring this post.

This is an outdoor drill that doesn’t take too much time to complete 5-10 min depending upon fitness level and can be incorporated into any class.  Be sure to do a short warm up prior to doing this drill.

I’m lucky enough to have access to a track, oval in shape and distance around is 1/4 of a mile (therefore 4 laps = 1 mile).

Basically everyone starts with 100 squats and runs 3/4 the way around the track and does more squats deceasing the number of squats by 25 each time.  In the end you’ll end up where you started and have ran around the track 3 times or 3/4 of a mile.

Have everyone start together all at once.

Everyone starts off doing 100 squats, the runs/jogs 3/4 of the way around the track.

At the 3/4 mark, do 75 squats, then run/jog 3/4 the way around again.

This time do 50 squats, then run/jog 3/4 the way around again.

This time do 25 squats, then run 3/4 rhe way around the track.

You will end up right where you started.  For those folks who finish early have them alternate between doing 5 push ups and 10 jumping jacks until everyone has finished.

For fitness testing: Your score will be the time after you have completed your last 3/4 lap.

About Andi: My name is Andi Garcia.  I’ve been a group fitness instructor for about 4 years now.  I teach many different group fitness class, bootcamp being one of them, teaching for my local recreation center.

Now you: How do you test?

What methods do you use for testing your clients’ fitness? Do you do individual tests or set up a drill that must be completed.

I’d love to hear about them, please share in the comments below.

###

Image: akunamatata

Mistakes Series: Not scheduling time for myself

What is this video?

I’ve taken up the challenge Dax Moy has issued to his Facebook group to create 30 videos in 30 days. Come join me in the challenge and give your fitness business a kick in the butt.

Today you don’t just have to look at my ugly mug, I have brought on a much more attractive face to look at.

Today is the first of series I would like to continue while meeting trainers around the US where I ask them what is the one major mistake they made when they started their bootcamp and what are they doing differently now.

Of course, these mistakes didn’t stop them from creating successful bootcamps, but they may help you out in your own business.

Who’s in the video

Erin Kreitz Shirey is a trainer, speaker, TV personality and all round super friendly person. She runs a bootcamp in Alameda, CA called Power Fitness PDX and also runs a fitness blog called Dig Deep, Play Hard.

Our second guest is her youngest daughter, Finley, who is completely adorable as you will see.

Erin talks about how easy it is to over commit yourself to your clients and why it’s so important to schedule time for yourself.

Enjoy!

###

Apologies for the darkness of the video and the noise. I really wanted to get this on video and we didn’t have time to set up something better.

###

If you are loving these videos, sign up to the email list to get the best one’s sent to you.

How do I make my clients change? (and be consistent with their diet and exercise)

What is this video?

I’ve taken up the challenge Dax Moy has issued to his Facebook group to create 30 videos in 30 days. Come join me in the challenge and give your fitness business a kick in the butt.

A common question that I get here and see in our Facebook group is ‘How can I make my client(s) stick to their diet/coming to sessions/health habits?’

The answer is a really simple one:

You can’t.

You can’t force someone to change who isn’t ready. In this video I talk about why that is the case and what you can do to instead.

Now over to you

What are your tricks for helping clients change? What have you found to be effective?

What kind of additional services should you offer your campers?

What is this video?

I’ve taken up the challenge Dax Moy has issued to his Facebook group to create 30 videos in 30 days. Come join me in the challenge and give your fitness business a kick in the butt.

After a little tangent at the start where I try to explain that summer is a quite time of the year for bootcamps here in the US, I go on to a piece of advice I gave to a trainer who reads this site.

The advice is:

When trying to offer more services to your clients, don’t get caught up in making it all about you. It’s easy to do, I fall victim to this too.

It’s easy to get personally attached to your business ideas and to want them to succeed even in the face of information that is telling you that they won’t. It’s easy to think that you know best about what you clients need so you forget all about what they actually want.

You job is to find something in between. Find something that falls between what you think you need or what you want to do and something that they actually want to do.

For example:

You may think the best way for your clients to get healthier is to stat organising nutrition sessions. But maybe they would be happy with you just emailing them a new healthy, easy recipe every week.

Going to a nutrition session involves lots of extra work on the clients part to attend. Most people don’t want to do extra work. Their lives are busy enough.

Meet them some place they go anyway, like in their inbox.

Another example:

I know that an online forum at Bootcamp Ideas would be awesome. We could organise plenty of extra resources for trainers with that.

However, people don’t want to have to sign up to yet another thing and to travel to yet another website. A lot of people don’t even understand what a forum is. So we have a Facebook group.

Facebook is not as powerful as a forum but most people have a Facebook group and most people jump on there at least once a day. As a result we have a thriving online community.

Now to you

What kind of extra services do you offer your campers? How did you come up with the idea for them?

The Simple Guide To Planning Sessions For Mixed Fitness Levels

The Fitness Variation Cure

When someone joins the Bootcamp Ideas email list they are sent an email with a question:

‘What is the number one thing you are struggling with right now as a bootcamp trainer?’

I keep track of what trainers write back to me in a spreadsheet. To date over 250 trainers have taken the time to respond.

The most popular response I receive is not surprising. It’s why most trainers come to Bootcamp Ideas in the first place, ‘to find fresh workout ideas’.

The second most popular response I get is:

‘I struggle creating workouts that are effective for all of the different fitness levels in my bootcamp.’

IMG_0392

I’ve heard you and have put together this little guide with some different ways to have your groups of mixed fitness levels work together seamlessly.

Let’s start with some planning tactics and then I’ll go into how to actually put them into practice.

Four methods for handling various fitness levels

1. Exercise Variations

Plan out your workout as you normally would. Once completed create 1 to 3 additional variations of the workout by modifying the exercises.

Doing this before the workout, rather than on the fly, makes you look more professional and serious about your clients fitness. So don’t wait until the session to try and make these modifications.

Here’s an example of a drill modified for different fitness levels:

Original drill:

10 minute AMRAP

  1. 15x Push Ups
  2. 15x KB Goblet Squat
  3. 10/side Side Plank Hip Drops
  4. 10m Bear crawl

Modified for different fitness levels:

10 minute AMRAP

Beginner Intermediate Advanced Reps
1.  Push Ups on knees Push Ups HRPU 15
2. 8kg KB Goblet Squat 12kg KB Goblet Squat 16kg KB Goblet Squat 15
3. Side Plank Hip Drops Alt. Side Plank Hip Drops Side Plank reach throughs 10/side
4. Bear crawl  Bear crawl Reverse Bear crawl 10 m

Alt. Side Plank Hip Drops: alternate sides each rep without letting hips touch ground in between.

Continue Reading