The Payne Center had a fitness assessment at the gym earlier in the week. It consisted of a one minute max push-up, one minute max sit-up, an agility test (running sideways between cones), and a flexibility test (sit and reach). I was out of town for work during the day when my comrades did their assessments. I was told of all of their numbers. There will be a public ranking (you had to elect to have your results posted – we all did). Fortunately there was another round of assessing after work. I did not see the word competition in that list of synonyms but that is what this ‘fitness assessment’ became.
I had a rough idea of the best scores for Richard, Vic and Chad. I was told that Richard was an animal and killed the events. I was worried about the agility test. I just do not change directions very fast and my coordination leaves something to be desired. In addition, I know from running 100 yard dashes that I am not the fastest horse out of the gate. I can easily get beat in the super short stuff. My saving grace is that these quick people fade after a set or two – my endurance is better.
But for this agility test there are no repeats. I was going to save this test for last. I tackled the push-up challenge. I was thinking that my 70% bench pressing just might help me in this area. Since this was a speed test there would be no perfect push-ups. There would be a lot of momentum – no down for 2 seconds / up for 1 second slow burn / good form push-ups. I knew that Richard had blown this test out of the water with a number in the 50’s. They had yoga mats that you could use. I pushed mine aside. I did not want to slip. I assumed the position and went full bore! The guy counting told me when I was at the 45 second mark – a paused briefly – I was not sure what he said and then I cranked out another dozen. I finished up the first challenge with 79 push-ups in 60 seconds.
Next was the sit up challenge. Fortunately the person counting also held your feet. This was also damn hard to go all out for 60 seconds. I asked her to tell me at the 45 second point. I sprinted it out and I ended up with 60 sit-ups in 60 seconds. This was tough.
As far as flexibility, this was my ace in the hole. I knew that I was damn good at the flexibility task. I do not know why but the sit and reach is a strong point. The sit and reach test measures your lower back and hamstring flexibility. I believe that most runners have tight hamstrings but I do well in this test. Other aspects of flexibility are tough for me. I cannot do a backbend – my arms will not rotate very far past my head. But I am golden with the sit and reach. I remember excelling in this all the way back to grade school with the Presidential fitness tests. I asked the girl conducting the test what the best number she had seen all day. She said 17 inches – but that was for a girl. I told her that I would beat it! She did not think so. Using the sit and reach box (26 cm is touching your toes) I was able to push the little measuring device 43 cm. According to sportsmedicine.about.com a measurement above 34 cm is excellent for adult men (above 37 for adult women).
Now it was time for the agility test. This would be my Achilles heal, so to speak. My legs were already a little tight from the bike intervals of that morning. I saw where the cones were located and approximated the distance in another part of the gym. I did a few practice tries. I knew that Vic was around 19 seconds and Richard was 18 something. I gave it my best and scored 20 seconds flat. This is an area I need to improve on.
This assessment was a lot of fun. I think that I will try to recreate this test periodically to see exactly where I stand.