Health and Safety Test Your Upper Body Fitness With The Push Up Test By Elizabeth Quinn Updated November 09, 2018 Pin Flip Email Print Justin Lambert/Taxi/Getty Images More in Fitness Health and Safety Beginners Motivation Sports Nutrition Fitness Trends Running Strength Walking Workouts Cardio Flexibility and Stretching Yoga Pilates Fitness Tools and Equipment View All Pushups are not only a great way to build upper body strength and endurance, but they are a good way to test your upper body muscular strength and endurance. The push-up test is a basic fitness test used by coaches, trainers, and athletes to assess upper body fitness and to monitor progress during strength and fitness training. This simple test helps you compare your own upper body muscular endurance to others of your age and gender and track your fitness program over time. Why Measure Upper Body Strength and Endurance? Strength and endurance in the muscles of the upper body, specifically the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core is a good indication of overall fitness. This simple exercise engages muscles throughout the entire body—from head to toe—in order to maintain a rigid position. Upper body strength and endurance is essential for athletes such as swimmers, climbers, or golfers who demand strength and power from their arms and shoulder to perform well and avoid injury. But a strong upper body is also important for everyone who wants to perform everyday movements, such as carrying luggage or picking up children, with ease and without risking injury. Primary Muscles Used During the Pushup These are the key muscles that allow you to perform a pushup: Shoulders (anterior and medial deltoids)Chest (pectorals)Back of the upper arm (triceps) How to Perform the Pushup Test While performing pushups, you lift nearly 75 percent of your total body weight. Using a modified pushup position reduces this amount to about 60 percent of your total body weight. Standard Pushup Test This version is used for men: Perform a short warmup before performing any fitness testing.Begin in a pushup position on hands and toes with hands shoulder-width apart and elbows fully extended.While keeping a straight line from the toes to hips, and to the shoulders, lower your upper body so your elbows bend to 90 degrees.Push back up to the start position.That is one rep.Continue with this form and complete as many repetitions as possible without breaking form.Record the total number of full push-ups completed. Modified Pushup Test A modified version of the test is used for women, who tend to have less relative upper body strength than men. The test is conducted in the same way as above, but uses a modified, "on the knee" pushup position. Perform a short warmup before performing any fitness testing.Begin in a modified pushup position, on the hands and knees with hands shoulder-width apart and elbows fully extended.Drop the hips, and move the hands forward until you create a straight line from the knees, to the hips, and to the shoulders.While keeping a straight position from the knees to the shoulders, lower your upper body so your elbows bend to 90 degrees.Push back up to the start position.That is one rep.Continue with this form and complete as many repetitions as possible without breaking form.Record the total number of full modified pushups completed. How to Score Your Results After your complete, the test, compare your results to the norms and recommendations for your age and gender. To assess your training progress, you can do the pushup test every eight to 12 weeks. You will see a variety of charts and scoring, depending on the source the tester uses. This chart is from "Essentials of Exercise Physiology." Other standards come from the YMCA's "The Y's Way to Physical Fitness," the National Strength and Conditioning Association's "NSCA's Essentials of Personal Training," and the American College of Sports Medicine's "ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription." Push Up Fitness Test Results Men Age: 20-29 Age: 30-39 Age: 40-49 Age: 50-59 Age: 60+ Excellent 54 or more 44 or more 39 or more 34 or more 29 or more 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 or fewer 15 or fewer 12 or fewer 8 or fewer 5 or fewer Women Age: 20-29 Age: 30-39 Age: 40-49 Age: 50-59 Age: 60+ Excellent 48 or more 39 or more 34 or more 29 or more 19 or more Good 34-48 25-39 20-34 15-29 5-19 Average 17-33 12-24 8-19 6-14 3-4 Poor 6-16 4-11 3-7 2-5 1-2 Very Poor 6 or fewer 4 or fewer 3 or fewer 2 or fewer 1 or fewer Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Get exercise tips to make your workouts less work and more fun. Email Address Sign Up There was an error. Please try again. Thank you, , for signing up. What are your concerns? Other Inaccurate Hard to Understand Submit Article Sources American College of Sports Medicine. ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. 2017. Coburn JW, Malek MH, (U.S.) NS. NSCA's Essentials of Personal Training 2nd Edition. Human Kinetics; 2012. McArdle WD, Katch FI, Katch VL. Essentials of Exercise Physiology. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2015. Continue Reading List Try This Upper Body Strength and Endurance Challenge with Supersets Article How to Do Push Ups for Upper Body Strength List How to Use Yoga for Building a Strong Upper Body Article Decline Push Ups for Upper Body and Shoulder Strength Article Getting Started With Pull-Up Bar Exercises Article Boost Your Push-Up Test Performance With These 9 Training Tips List Upper Body Power and Strength Workout Article Cooper Test: A 12-Minute Run to Check Aerobic Fitness List Runners Who Exercise Their Upper Bodies Can Prevent Injuries List Is It Better to Focus on Strength or Endurance During Weight Training? List How to Check Your Fitness Levels at Home Before a Workout Routine List Beginner Upper Body Workout List Total Body Strength Workout for Seniors Builds Stability List Get Strong With This Intense Upper Body Workout Article Build Strength and Balance With the Stability Ball Push-Up List Resistance Band Pilates Exercises to Work Your Arms and Core Want to Lose Weight in 2019? Let us help you with a personalized meal plan!