Fitness Articles

The Push-Up Test

A DIY Fitness Assessment

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By Jason Anderson, Certified Personal Trainer         
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Measuring your fitness level regularly is one way to find out if you're making progress. Most fitness centers have trained staff who can evaluate your body composition, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, and cardiovascular endurance, but it can be pricey. If you don’t have access to all the toys and tools of your gym, don’t panic. You have everything you need to measure your fitness level in your own house!

The Push-Up Test measures muscular strength and endurance, a combination that better reflects your fitness level than strength tests like the one rep max. Besides being dangerous, single rep max tests also require a lot of equipment (bench press or squat rack, barbells, and other weights). A timed push-up test, on the other hand, can be done anywhere.

Equipment needed: A stop watch or timer that can measure one full minute; a friend to help keep count and time you (optional).

Goal: Do as many push ups as you can in one minute.

Execution: Men will assume a traditional push-up position and females can use the modified push-up position (on knees). When the push ups start, so does the clock! Press yourself up with arms fully extended and lower yourself back until your chest is three inches from the floor (but do not touch your body to the floor). Repeat as many times as you can in one minute. You may rest only in the “up” position if necessary.

What this measures: Strength and endurance in your chest, shoulders, and triceps.

Scoring: Here are the age-adjusted standards based on guidelines published by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM):

Ratings for Men (Full Push Ups), based on Age
   20-29  30-39  40-49  50-59  60+
 Excellent  > 54  > 44 > 39 > 34  > 29
 Good  45-54  35-44  30-39  25-34  20-29
 Average  35-44  24-34  20-29  15-24  10-19
 Poor  20-34  15-24  12-19  8-14  5-9
 Very Poor  < 20  < 15  < 12  < 8  < 5

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About The Author

Jason Anderson Jason Anderson
Jason loves to see people realize the benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle. He is a certified personal trainer and enjoys running races--from 5Ks to 50K ultramarathons. See all of Jason's articles.

Member Comments

  • I just took the 1 Minute Push-Up test. I am 65 years old and I did 16 in 1 minute. I will be working on increasing that number. - 4/10/2016 11:23:09 PM
  • I just took the test and did 67 push ups in 1 minute. I am 57 years old, but I do exercise everyday. According to the chart, I am as physically fit as a 20 year old man in excellent condition. Makes me feel good! - 3/28/2016 1:30:48 AM
  • I want to know where the double modified push ups are for those of us who weigh to much to do a push-up or can't get up and down from the ground like the wall push ups... I know it sounds bad but I'm realistic, -With the carpel tunnel and the pinched nerve in my neck-arm, I am not capable of "real" push ups. At this stage attempting the push up test would be a disaster and more than likely end up with another sprained wrist and shoulder flare up after the fifteen min confusion on how to get off of the floor. I can however do 41 wallstyle push ups and that is my starting number so we will see where i go from there. - 12/9/2015 8:51:17 PM
  • How come the women have to do girl pushups. Where is the chart for women that can do full push ups?? You would think that in 2015 they would modify their standards to something less sexist. Really! - 10/24/2015 5:16:05 PM
  • I'm 58 and did 35 girl push-ups. :) I now have a new goal!! - 10/24/2015 8:55:35 AM
  • Of course, this is assuming your shoulders are strong enough for you to do pushups. My right shoulder would collapse before I did 2. - 10/14/2015 10:41:08 AM
  • I'm 69 and I do 50 regular pushups every morning. I never paid attention to how long it took, but when I saw this, I decided to check. I did 54 pushups in one minute. The time didn't feel any different than any other day, so I would guess I do my daily 50 in about one minute. - 10/14/2015 8:38:28 AM
  • I did the "girl" push ups and found I could only do 24 in 1 min...not great. I'm glad I know now though! I look forward to taking the test again next month and seeing some improvement! - 9/14/2015 8:45:11 PM
  • TEXASTOPAZ15
    I was doing push ups on Sunday when I injured my shoulder! It set off what turns out to be Calcific cystic tendinitis....and with that, an end to my push up days :-(

    For the record, at almost 57, I had counted 14 before the "pop". - 8/26/2015 2:46:54 PM
  • OMG I did 50 modified pushups in 1 minute. Arms are burning. I'm 53 years old. Feels pretty good. For those who are not there yet. Don't give up I've been working out for over a year.... not real steady until the last couple months. Its worth it. - 6/18/2015 8:55:11 AM
  • STEPHANIEAND
    To the guy who posted he could only do 22 modified pushups in a minute, here is some encouragement. I was around that range when I started practicing (I'm a girl) a few months ago. I can now do 50+ modified pushups in a minute, or about 13 real ones. So if you keep at it, you will def get stronger. Having said that, yeah I'm 29 and a girl, and stronger than you are. So there's some more motivation to work out if you need it. :) - 2/13/2015 3:49:55 PM
  • RYANF1
    This is kind of embarrassing but I figured I might as well be honest and share it in case it helps anyone. I'm a 38 year old guy, and I'm definitely out of shape (I'm not fat or super skinny, I just don't work out, like ever). I tried the test and I could do about 3 regular push-ups before my arms just wouldn't do anymore. So I switched to modified (yes, the so called dreaded "girl" pushups, don't judge) and managed 22 of them before I couldn't do anymore. Which puts me basically in the average range for a 20-something girl. Yikes that sucks! So, like I said, pretty embarrassing, but also a wake up call. I used to be pretty strong in college, but obviously, that is not the case anymore. So definitely a wake up call to get to the gym! - 2/9/2015 4:42:31 PM
  • I started this test last year and took it as a challenge to do every day ^_^. I could only do 18 when I started and now I can do 51. Going to move from modified to regular and try to match that number! Age: 26 - 2/9/2015 3:21:05 PM
  • Why is the portion of the chart for women in the older age groups blocked out by another ad which can't be moved away???????? I did the test, I'm almost 70, and I rated well for the 40 age group but I can't see what was listed for my real age group. Please, please, keep the ads off to the side! - 12/7/2014 2:21:18 PM
  • FOXGLOVE999
    I can't do push ups, never have been able to, not when I was 115 pounds, not now, not ever. I can do a lot of things that others can't, but this is not one of them. - 9/30/2014 9:58:43 AM

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