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How to perform a basic home fitness test

home fitness test

How to perform a basic home fitness test

Finding out your level of fitness can often be difficult. Sometimes you may feel fitter. At times you may even improve an aspect of fitness such as how long it takes to run a particular distance.

Some gyms even offer VO2 tests on fitness equipment such as bikes or treadmills. This type of test is one of the most accurate tests of aerobic capacity.

Unfortunately, these tests are not always available and can be expensive. Sometimes a local university can provide these services. So if it is something of interest, contact your local facility.

If you would like a simple way to determine your fitness then the basic home fitness test is great.

Research tells us that a good level of aerobic fitness is beneficial to general health. Heart rate watches are useful in giving us a unique insight into our hearts health.

To complete this quick test you don’t need one. But if you were performing this test on a semi-regular basis it makes the process a little easier. You don’t need anything fancy the very basic Polar FT1 is ideal.

To do this test all you need is a step, the bottom of your stairs is fine and a watch. Then as long as you can complete basic home fitness test and take your pulse, you are good to go. The heart’s ability to recover from moderate exertion is a great sign of fitness. Although the fitness test is not meant to diagnose heart trouble or illness.

They are simple ways that can give you a sign of your current level of fitness. Plus a great way in which you can measure fitness improvements each month. Enter the basic home fitness test This test is sub-maximal. Meaning it doesn’t need all-out exertion. So it’s not designed to test your greatest heart rate. But instead your heart’s ability to recover after exercise.


Please do not attempt this if you have existing heart problems or joint aches and pains. Consult with your doctor before engaging in physical activity if you are unsure.

How To Perform the Fitness Test

All you need to do to complete this test is to step onto and off the bottom step of a flight of stairs for 3 minutes. During the test you will measure your pulse rate. The test is suitable for anyone who is healthy and used to moderate exercise.

If during the test you begin to feel discomfort or distress, then please stop and recover. First using the bottom step of a flight of stairs practice performing the test. You are aiming to complete two up-up and down-down cycles in 5 seconds or 24 steps in a minute.

When you are confident you can do this, then try the 3-minute Step Test. Step at this pace for exactly 3 minutes then sit down. Rest for 30 seconds and find your pulse. Here is how you can take your pulse if you don’t have a heart rate device. Then get your pulse for another 30 seconds and compare your score with the table below:

Females Males
Number of Beats in 30 Seconds
Excellent 35-38 31-34
Good 39-41 35-37
Average 42-4 38-40
Fair 45-49 41-44
Poor 50-63 45-56

What do the results mean?

Poor or Fair:

You need an aerobic exercise program to improve your fitness. Find an activity that best suits your lifestyle and give it a go!


You need to exercise more. Make sure you exercise 20 minutes a day, three times a week.


You are in good shape. Well done!


Keep up the good work.

Test every month or so

You can take the basic home fitness test each month to see improvements in basic health and fitness. The best thing about this test is it only takes 3 minutes. Plus it doesn’t need any expensive equipment.

A more comprehensive assessment of aerobic fitness is the Chester Step Test. Its an affordable and reliable means of testing your aerobic fitness at home.

The Chester Step Test is an easy-to-perform fitness test. Used by many fire and rescue services, police forces and the ambulance services. As well as many large occupational health clinics around the world.

It has been subject to validation studies and is now considered a reliable test. It is a fantastic way to determine your sub-maximal V02 max. The test is also used in health clubs and occupational health departments.

The test is simple to perform too. All that you need to carry out the test is a stepping platform or box at a set height. A basic heart rate device, a CD or Mp3 player and a pen to record your results. There is a software to determine your fitness available or you can use a pen and paper sheet to record the data.

The robust steps are available in a variety of sizes. The full test kits include everything you need to perform the Chester Step Test. This includes a Polar heart rate watch. The test software calculator and audio CD, aerobic resource and instruction manual.

The calculator allows you to estimate your VO2 max reading. This gives you an understanding of your level of health and fitness. These results can assess your current fitness level and set new goals. Doing this helps you to target improvements in aerobic fitness and respiratory health. The Chester Step Test is suitable for people of all ages and levels of fitness.

Give the basic home fitness test a go today and see how you score.

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One thought on “How to perform a basic home fitness test

  1. […] than climb and down a flight of stairs, you may prefer to use the bottom stair and step on and off in a steady rhythmic fashion. Start with a couple of minutes each day, then slowly build up the duration as you get fitter. You […]

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