Determining Your Muscular Endurance and Fitness Level
This calculator can be used to estimate your fitness level by measuring your muscular endurance. The calculator needs only three inputs, including:
- The age of the user, stated in ranges that span from 15 – 19 to 60+
- The gender of the user, which includes male and female since the research on which this calculator is based included only these two options
- The number of standard push-ups the user can execute – more on this topic later
The calculator then provides the user with one output:
- An assessment of the user’s muscular endurance, which ranges from Needs Improvement to Excellent
Assessing Physical Fitness and Muscular Endurance
The assessment performed by this calculator is based on research conducted by the Canadian Physical Activity, Fitness & Lifestyle Approach: CSEP: Health & Fitness Program’s Health-Related Appraisal and Counseling Strategy. Push-up tests are one of those basic fitness tests, much like the National Football League Combine where draft prospects are asked to press 225 pounds as many times as possible. In addition to measuring physical endurance, push-ups are also a wonderful way to build muscle and upper body strength. For these reasons, measuring the number of push-ups over time is frequently used to assess progress when strength training. Our calculator is based on Canadian research and provides an assessment of muscular endurance based on the number of push-ups performed, age, and gender.
Push-ups are also considered a complex exercise because of the various muscle groups engaged during the exercise. This includes the pectorals (chest), deltoids (shoulders) and triceps (back of the arm). When performing a push-up, approximately 75% of your body weight is being lifted.
Performing a Push-Up Correctly
Cheating or performing any exercise with poor technique is both meaningless and a waste of time. If a standard push-up cannot be completed using proper technique, then the best course of action is to start with modified push-up. These push-ups exercise the same muscle groups as a standard push-up, but they are performed with your knees on the ground. This takes some weight off your upper body, allowing you to complete the exercise with proper form.
Converting Modified Push-Ups to Standard Push-Ups
As mentioned earlier, when performing a standard push-up, also referred to as a full push-up, you are moving approximately 75% of your body weight. With a modified push-up, you are moving around 62% of your body weight. If you take the number of modified push-ups and divide it by 1.2, you have the equivalent number of standard push-ups. For example, twelve modified push-ups are equivalent to ten full push-ups.
Standard Push-Up Technique
A push-up starts from a prone position, lying flat, and facing downward. Your hand should be placed palms down slightly outside shoulder width, making sure your forearms are perpendicular to the floor (at a 90-degree angle). Fingers should be facing forward or slightly inward. Your toes will be the pivot point and will be pointing towards your shin. Your feet should be together.
When you start your push up, your spine should remain neutral, meaning as straight as possible. This is achieved by stiffening your torso and contracting your abdominal muscles. Do not allow your hips to sag or elevate. Press upwards until your arms are fully extended. Once the arms are fully extended, slowly lower your body. Once again, maintaining a neutral spine position. Continue until your chest touches the floor. This process is repeated with good form for as long as possible. Stop when you are no longer able to complete a push-up with good form and record the number of correctly performed push-ups.