Fitness Articles

The Push-Up Test

A DIY Fitness Assessment

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

Continued ›
Page 1 of 3   Next Page ›

Advertisement -- Learn more about ads on this site.

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

  • 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
    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
    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
    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
  • Can't read the chart for women 50-59 because the How Fit Are You? link is blocking that part of the chart. Any way they can reposition so I can see how I did? - 9/28/2014 10:47:33 AM
  • I started doing pushups and crunches when I started this weight loss program. I am 62, soon to be 63 and I used to roller speed skate, ride bikes over 250 a weekend plus at least 150 during the week, then I trained for triathlons. Gosh, I even used to be able to do one handed pushups, pushups with a clap, you name it. I lifted 150# three times, not once but a few times. I couldn't do one push up in July when I started SP. Now I can pump out 2 sets of 15 modified pushups quite easily. My favorite thing was running/jogging. I loved the 15k the most. I ran in the Disney marathon (my first and last marathon), but I did several 5k, 7k, 15k, half marathons and many, many triathlons. It is disheartening to think I can no longer run, heck I can barely walk 1/4 mile due to the bad knees. Had a Total knee done in 2010 and it never did bend all the way nor straighten out all the way! And it buckles at will. Doc said no pounding (jumping, running etc) or it won't last 20 years. However, I do my walks (marching) here at home and do quite nicely! At least when the ole knee buckles I have something to hang on to! Oh, I've also torn the meniscus in the other knee and have bone on bone pain in it! However, I am optimistic. As long as I can do the walk videos/training videos and work out i.e.pushups,crunc
    hes etc. I'm going to keep this weight at a normal level! :) I just love the timed push up. I definitely will try that! I love SP.. :) - 8/30/2014 7:58:39 AM
  • I managed 52 in a minute, probably could have hit 55 but I was using the stopwatch on my phone and it messed up. Pretty proud of myself :D - 7/18/2014 4:43:24 PM

x Lose 10 Pounds by January 8! Sign up with Email Sign up with Facebook
By clicking one of the above buttons, you're indicating that you have read and agree to SparkPeople's Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy and that you're at least 18 years of age.