Thursday, August 26, 2010

Fitness Test

One perk of being an Exercise Physiologist and working at the facility that I do, is that I'm able to do a VO2 max test and fitness assessment whenever I want for free. These tests would normally cost $335! My coworkers and I all decided we were going to put ourselves through a complete fitness test, similar to what the firefighters we test everyday have to do.

Last Friday, I did the complete fitness test, which included:
  • VO2 max (Bruce protocol on treadmill)
  • Flexibility (sit & reach box)
  • Grip strength (hand dynamometer)
  • Push ups (to fatigue)
  • Sit ups (2 min test)
  • Chest press (estimated 1 rep max)
  • Leg press (estimated 1 rep max)
  • Plank pose (to fatigue)

First up was the VO2 max test on the treadmill. This test is the best indicator of cardiovascular fitness & endurance. It's the maximum capacity of an individual's body to transport and use oxygen so the higher the number the better. During a VO2 max test at my work, you are hooked up with electrodes to have your heart monitored on an EKG as well as hooked up with a mask to measure breath by breath inspiration and exhalation. You can talk and breathe normally through the mask.

One of our fitness testing rooms at work

There are different protocols that can be used for a VO2 max test or stress test but the most widely used is the Bruce protocol. The Bruce protocol on the treadmill starts out very easy and gets very difficult, very quickly. It's 3 minute stages and every 3 minutes you get an increase in both the speed & grade. It doesn't sound too bad until you realize that you start at a 10% grade and it goes up 2% every 3 minutes so it's the incline that kills you on the test. I lasted 12:42, which is the 5th stage of the test (speed of 5.0 mph @ 18% grade) and had a max heart rate of 180. I did, however, reach a VO2 max on 65.0 ml/kg/min! To put this into perspective, a female between the age of 20-29 is considered to have an excellent VO2 and be in the 90th percentile with a VO2 of 49.0. Other notable numbers: Steve Prefontaine had a VO2 of 84.4, Lance Armstrong has a VO2 of 84.0, and Joan Benoit has a VO2 of 78.6.

My score sheet with EKG

My final stats for the tests:

  • VO2: 65.0 ml/kg/min
  • Flexibility: 23 inches (15 inches is touching your toes)
  • Grip strength: 32.5
  • Push ups: 33
  • Sit ups: 80
  • Chest press: 101 lbs (estimated 1 rep max)
  • Leg press: 286 lbs (estimated 1 rep max)
  • Plank: 2:00 min

I was in the 90th percentile for females aged 20-29 for all fitness tests except chest press which I was only in the 80th percentile. I was most excited to get my VO2 above 60 and that I did 33 push ups! I'm also proud to say that I did better on my VO2 than all the firefighters I train at the local fire deparment.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

wow way cool that you get to do this stuff! and stellar numbers/results! you are in great shape. is this something you'll periodically test out and track fitness/progress?