Measuring Your Strength – Upper Body

Do you remember the old Atlas ads that showed you the scrawny kid on the beach getting sand kicked in their face? I do – while it’s been years since I saw one. It’s important to measure your body strength in order to determine the progress you are making. Most gyms don’t necessarily do a strength test, however if you are working with a personal trainer or building your own exericse program – a strength test is going to give you a good barometer of where you are at and where to start.

Most strength tests are testing your endurance rather than the maximum amount of weight you can push up or lift. They are measuring your strength endurance and capabilities You can do a lot of these muscle tests at home and the following is an idea of how to measure your upper body strength and endurance at home.


Yeah, I said push-ups. We’re going to do push-ups and the idea is to measure how many you do without stopping and without losing your form. For men, this means military push-ups with your legs straight out and toes on the floor. For women, this is a modified push-up with knees bent and feet on the floor. You want to lower your body with your upper arms and then push yourself back up without touching the ground.

The following are a guide to determine whether you are in excellent, good, average or fair shape.

Men – Push Ups:

Age 30-39:

  • Excellent 45+ push ups
  • Good 35-44 push ups
  • Average 25-34 push ups
  • Fair 15-24 push ups
  • Low 0-14 push ups

Age 40 –49:

  • Excellent 40+ push ups
  • Good 30-39 push ups
  • Average 20-29 push ups
  • Fair 12-19 push ups
  • Low 0-11 push ups

Women – Push Ups:

Age 30-39:

  • Excellent 40+ push ups
  • Good 25-39 push ups
  • Average 12-24 push ups
  • Fair 4-11 push ups
  • Low 0-3 push ups

Age 40-49:

  • Excellent 35+ push ups
  • Good 20-34 push ups
  • Average 8-19 push ups
  • Fair 3-7 push ups
  • Low 0-2 push ups
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About Heather Long

Heather Long is 35 years old and currently lives in Wylie, Texas. She has been a freelance writer for six years. Her husband and she met while working together at America Online over ten years ago. They have a beautiful daughter who just turned five years old. She is learning to read and preparing for kindergarten in the fall. An author of more than 300 articles and 500+ web copy pieces, Heather has also written three books as a ghostwriter. Empty Canoe Publishing accepted a novel of her own. A former horse breeder, Heather used to get most of her exercise outside. In late 2004, early 2005 Heather started studying fitness full time in order to get herself back into shape. Heather worked with a personal trainer for six months and works out regularly. She enjoys shaking up her routine and checking out new exercises. Her current favorites are the treadmill (she walks up to 90 minutes daily) and doing yoga for stretching. She also performs strength training two to three times a week. Her goals include performing in a marathon such as the Walk for Breast Cancer Awareness or Team in Training for Lymphoma research. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience through the fitness and marriage blogs.