test 1

Three Rep Squat

GOAL
The heaviest three squat reps with good form.

PURPOSE
Define strength in relation to body weight.

EQUIPMENT
Olympic barbell, plates, squat rack.

TECHNIQUE
The starting position is a standing one, with your feet 10cm wider than your shoulders, and pointing slightly outward. Rest the barbell across your upper back (it should rest on the middle of your trapezium muscle) while gripping the bar so that your hands are positioned 10-15cm wider than your shoulders.

Then you drop into a controlled squat where you lower yourself until your upper legs are parallel to the floor.Then extend your knees fully, and press upwards through your heels to get back to the starting position. Keep your head in a neutral position throughout the entire exercise. You need to do three reps on each weight before increasing the weight and attempting a higher score.

Start at a weight that you've lifted before, do your three reps (while keeping in the guidelines rest before moving on to the next weight. Don't attempt this test without a spotter.

REASONS FOR DISQUALIFICATION

Taking more than one recovery attempt.

Any touching of the bar by the spotter.

Any shifting or movement of the feet or hands during the lift.

Athlete does not go to or below 90 degrees.

Your score is the max load that you've correctly lifted three times in a row (within the guidelines). You'll need to know your weight to work out your final score.

test 2

bench press

GOAL
As many 50kg reps as possible in two minutes.

PURPOSE
Determine the max strength of the upper body.

EQUIPMENT
Olympic barbell with 50kg combined total(including bar and collars), bench.

TECHNIQUE
Lie flat on your back on a bench, with your feet on the floor, or on the bench. Your hips and shouldersshould stay in contact with the bench throughoutthe move.

Place your hands on the bar roughly 5-10cm wider than your shoulders. When the bar is lowered to your chest, your elbows should flex to close to 90 degrees.

To start the test, lower the bar off the stand and with control, bring it down to the centre of your chest, touching it lightly on your sternum. Then pressit upwards until your arms are locked straight above you.

You're not allowed to bounce the weight off your chest, but it must lightly touch your chest for every rep. Breathe in while lowering the bar, and exhale when you press it upwards. You can rest at the top of the movement but once the weight is placed on the stand, the test is finished and the reps are counted.

REASONS FOR DISQUALIFICATION

Bouncing the bar off your chest.

Not extending your arms fully.

Any touching of the bar by the spotter.

test 3

agility

GOAL
Finish the cone shuttle as quickly as possible.

PURPOSE
Measure horizontal-plane agility, acceleration and turning ability.

EQUIPMENT
Stopwatch, three cones.

TECHNIQUE
Mark out a 10m distance with cones on eachside, then place a cone in the middle of the two cones (5m), this is the starting point. Stand in the middle with one foot on the left and one foot on the right of the centre cone but facing in the direction of the first cone you run to.

Run to the first outside cone, dip and touch, turn and run to the other outside cone, dip and touch and then turn and run to the middle cone (no touch of cone required).

Your time to complete the entire run is recorded.

TRAINING TIP
Changing direction and gaining speed isn't only about fancy footwork. Consider your arms to be both rudders and to help gain speed on acceleration.

Pump your arms like a 100m sprinter on your take off, and focus on keeping your centre of gravity low on your turns.

REASONS FOR DISQUALIFICATION

Taking more than one recovery attempt.

Any touching of the bar by the spotter.

Any shifting or movement of the feet or hands during the lift.

Athlete does not go to or below 90 degrees.

Your score is the max load that you've correctly lifted three times in a row (within the guidelines). You'll need to know your weight to work out your final score.

test 4

overhand pull-up

GOAL
Max amount of pull-ups with correct form.

PURPOSE
Measure pulling strength and power.

EQUIPMENT
Pull-up bar.

TECHNIQUE
Hang from a pull-up bar, with your palms facing away from your body (overhand grip) and roughly 65cm apart.

The start position is from a full hang with your arms straight.

With each rep, your chin must reach above the bar, and your arms must be fully extended on the return down to the starting position.

You also need to have your knees pulled up (at 90 degrees) in front of you for the whole movement, or the rep doesn't count.

This is done so there's no swinging or kipping motion, and so that you don't arch your back. This test requires you to keep going until you can no longer lift yourself up above the bar.

If you release either hand off the bar at any stage, that's the end of the test.

REASONS FOR DISQUALIFICATION

Failure to fully extend your arms at the bottom of the pull-up.

Failure to pause for one second at the bottom of the pull-up.

Failure to lift chin above bar.

Failure to keep your knees at 90 degrees in front of your body.

Using momentum (swinging) to lift yourself up.

test 5

vertical jump

GOAL
The biggest difference between standing height and jumping height.

PURPOSE
Measure explosive leg power.

EQUIPMENT
Chalk, wall.

TECHNIQUE
To start the test, you need to stand with your right side against a wall.

If you have access to a chalk board or a vertex (the measuring tool used by biokineticists), it makes this easier, however, you can use an outside wall.

For the first marking, stand in your training shoes with your right hip against the wall.

Reach up with your right hand to touch the wall at the highest point possible (while keeping your heels flat on the ground).

Hold the chalk in your right hand, and jump from the same starting position (without a run-up).

To do the jump, you'll need to bend at the hip and knee joints and use your arms for momentum.

At the top of the jump you'll mark the wall (or chalk board) with the chalk.

The score for the jump is the difference between the standing height and the jump height (in cm).

The highest of three separate trials is recorded as your max score.

REASONS FOR DISQUALIFICATION

If the athlete takes any form of step or shuffle prior to the jump, the score is rendered invalid.

test 6

sit-up

GOAL
Max amount of sit-ups in two minutes with correct form.

PURPOSE
Measure muscle endurance.

EQUIPMENT
None. Two testers required.

TECHNIQUE
Lie face-up on the floor with your knees bent, feet flat on the ground.

One tester should hold your feet while the other tester keeps their hand on the floor behind your back to validate the downward movement.

While touching your ears with your hands, curl up and touch your knees with your elbows and then descend back to the start.

The second tester should put their hand (palm facing up) under your upper back so that their wrist makes contactwith your spine in line with the bottom of your shoulder blades.

REASONS FOR DISQUALIFICATION

Failure of elbows to touch knees.

Failure of scapular to touch tester's hand.

Your hands come off your ears while performing the sit-up.

test 7

1000m row

GOAL
Finish 1 000m of rowing as quickly as possible.

PURPOSE
Measure cardiovascular fitness and total-body stamina.

EQUIPMENT
Concept2 rowing ergometer.

TECHNIQUE
This test consists of 1 000m all-out rowing on a Concept2 rowing ergometer.

Its validity and reliability has been agreed upon and documented throughout all FISA affiliated rowing federations.

The procedure is as follows: start the test at the 1 000m mark (displayed on the screen in front of the rower), counting down to zero metres.

The rower must set the drag factor to 130 (this is set through an option on the main screen) and this will determine the resistance level.

The athlete's recorded score is the total time it takes to complete the 1000m.

REASONS FOR DISQUALIFICATION

Failure of elbows to touch knees.

Failure of scapular to touch tester's hand.

Your hands come off your ears while performing the sit-up.

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About MH Elite

Men's Health Elite is a basic training test, made up of seven parts, that allow you to benchmark your level of fitness. The goal is to give you an overall score that you can then improve using the specifically formulated workouts. The higher your score, the fitter you get. This test has been developed in association with the High Performance Centre at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa to give you the most comprehensive fitness standard, no matter what your level or what type of workout you do.

HOW IT WORKS
View the instructions (videos to come) and take the test, noting your scores for each exercise. Add them up for a final score and submit it at www.mhfit.co.za. Use the workout provided and follow the expert advice to improve your overall strength, mobility and fitness.

WHAT IT CAN DO FOR YOU
The goal is to create a balanced, strong and lean body. The workouts have been designed for overall body conditioning using the latest techniques and exercise science. Use the score to benchmark your fitness levels at regular intervals and plot your improvements on our dedicated website. Challenge your mates, spot celebrity scores and get fitter, faster.

GET STARTED!
First, take the test to establish your baseline fitness. Then, get started with the workouts to familiarise yourself with the moves. Do a practice round and perhaps get a training partner. Print out the workout or take your mobile phone to the gym sign in and start getting
Men's Health fit!

The Tests

Use the numbers below to navigate through the different tests.

test 1: three rep squat

click here for more information

GOAL
The heaviest three squat reps with good form.

PURPOSE
Define strength in relation to body weight.

EQUIPMENT
Olympic barbell, plates, squat rack.

TECHNIQUE
The starting position is a standing one, with your feet 10cm wider than your shoulders, and pointing slightly outward. Rest the barbell across your upper back (it should rest on the middle of your trapezium muscle) while gripping the bar so that your hands are positioned
10-15cm wider than your shoulders.

Then you drop into a controlled squat where you lower yourself until your upper legs are parallel to the floor.Then extend your knees fully, and press upwards through your heels to get back to the starting position. Keep your head in a neutral position throughout the entire exercise. You need to do three reps on each weight before increasing the weight and attempting a higher score.

Start at a weight that you've lifted before, do your three reps (while keeping in the guidelines rest before moving on to the next weight. Don't attempt this test without a spotter.

REASONS FOR DISQUALIFICATION

Taking more than one recovery attempt.

Any touching of the bar by the spotter.

Any shifting or movement of the feet or hands during the lift.

Athlete does not go to or below 90 degrees.

Your score is the max load that you've correctly lifted three times in a row (within the guidelines). You'll need to know your weight to work out your final score.

Back to Top

test 2: bench press

click here for more information

GOAL
As many 50kg reps as possible in two minutes.

PURPOSE
Determine the max strength of the upper body.

EQUIPMENT
Olympic barbell with 50kg combined total(including bar and collars), bench.

TECHNIQUE
Lie flat on your back on a bench, with your feet on the floor, or on the bench. Your hips and shouldersshould stay in contact with the bench throughoutthe move.

Place your hands on the bar roughly 5-10cm wider than your shoulders. When the bar is lowered to your chest, your elbows should flex to close to 90 degrees.

To start the test, lower the bar off the stand and with control, bring it down to the centre of your chest, touching it lightly on your sternum. Then press it upwards until your arms are locked straight above you.

You're not allowed to bounce the weight off your chest, but it must lightly touch your chest for every rep. Breathe in while lowering the bar, and exhale when you press it upwards. You can rest at the top of the movement but once the weight is placed on the stand, the test is finished and the reps are counted.

REASONS FOR DISQUALIFICATION

Bouncing the bar off your chest.

Not extending your arms fully.

Any touching of the bar by the spotter.

Back to Top

test 3: agility

click here for more information

GOAL
Finish the cone shuttle as quickly as possible.

PURPOSE
Measure horizontal-plane agility, acceleration and turning ability.

EQUIPMENT
Stopwatch, three cones.

TECHNIQUE
Mark out a 10m distance with cones on eachside, then place a cone in the middle of the two cones (5m), this is the starting point. Stand in the middle with one foot on the left and one foot on the right of the centre cone but facing in the direction of the first cone you run to.

Run to the first outside cone, dip and touch, turn and run to the other outside cone, dip and touch and then turn and run to the middle cone (no touch of cone required).

Your time to complete the entire run is recorded.

TRAINING TIP
Changing direction and gaining speed isn't only about fancy footwork. Consider your arms to be both rudders and to help gain speed on acceleration.

Pump your arms like a 100m sprinter on your take off, and focus on keeping your centre of gravity low on your turns.

REASONS FOR DISQUALIFICATION

Taking more than one recovery attempt.

Any touching of the bar by the spotter.

Any shifting or movement of the feet or hands during the lift.

Athlete does not go to or below 90 degrees.

Your score is the max load that you've correctly lifted three times in a row (within the guidelines). You'll need to know your weight to work out your final score.

Back to Top

test 4: overhand pull-up

click here for more information

GOAL
Max amount of pull-ups with correct form.

PURPOSE
Measure pulling strength and power.

EQUIPMENT
Pull-up bar.

TECHNIQUE
Hang from a pull-up bar, with your palms facing away from your body (overhand grip) and roughly 65cm apart.

The start position is from a full hang with your arms straight.

With each rep, your chin must reach above the bar, and your arms must be fully extended on the return down to the starting position.

You also need to have your knees pulled up (at 90 degrees) in front of you for the whole movement, or the rep doesn't count.

This is done so there's no swinging or kipping motion, and so that you don't arch your back. This test requires you to keep going until you can no longer lift yourself up above the bar.

If you release either hand off the bar at any stage, that's the end of the test.

REASONS FOR DISQUALIFICATION

Failure to fully extend your arms at the bottom of the pull-up.

Failure to pause for one second at the bottom of the pull-up.

Failure to lift chin above bar.

Failure to keep your knees at 90 degrees in front of your body.

Using momentum (swinging) to lift yourself up.

Back to Top

test 5: vertical jump

click here for more information

GOAL
The biggest difference between standing height and jumping height.

PURPOSE
Measure explosive leg power.

EQUIPMENT
Chalk, wall.

TECHNIQUE
To start the test, you need to stand with your right side against a wall.

If you have access to a chalk board or a vertex (the measuring tool used by biokineticists), it makes this easier, however, you can use an outside wall.

For the first marking, stand in your training shoes with your right hip against the wall.

Reach up with your right hand to touch the wall at the highest point possible (while keeping your heels flat on the ground).

Hold the chalk in your right hand, and jump from the same starting position (without a run-up).

To do the jump, you'll need to bend at the hip and knee joints and use your arms for momentum.

At the top of the jump you'll mark the wall (or chalk board) with the chalk.

The score for the jump is the difference between the standing height and the jump height (in cm).

The highest of three separate trials is recorded as your max score.

REASONS FOR DISQUALIFICATION

If the athlete takes any form of step or shuffle prior to the jump, the score is rendered invalid.

Back to Top

test 6: sit-up

click here for more information

GOAL
Max amount of sit-ups in two minutes with correct form.

PURPOSE
Measure muscle endurance.

EQUIPMENT
None. Two testers required.

TECHNIQUE
Lie face-up on the floor with your knees bent, feet flat on the ground.

One tester should hold your feet while the other tester keeps their hand on the floor behind your back to validate the downward movement.

While touching your ears with your hands, curl up and touch your knees with your elbows and then descend back to the start.

The second tester should put their hand (palm facing up) under your upper back so that their wrist makes contactwith your spine in line with the bottom of your shoulder blades.

REASONS FOR DISQUALIFICATION

Failure of elbows to touch knees.

Failure of scapular to touch tester's hand.

Your hands come off your ears while performing the sit-up.

Back to Top

test 7: 1000m row

click here for more information

GOAL
Finish 1 000m of rowing as quickly as possible.

PURPOSE
Measure cardiovascular fitness and total-body stamina.

EQUIPMENT
Concept2 rowing ergometer.

TECHNIQUE
This test consists of 1 000m all-out rowing on a Concept2 rowing ergometer.

Its validity and reliability has been agreed upon and documented throughout all FISA affiliated rowing federations.

The procedure is as follows: start the test at the 1 000m mark (displayed on the screen in front of the rower), counting down to zero metres.

The rower must set the drag factor to 130 (this is set through an option on the main screen) and this will determine the resistance level.

The athlete's recorded score is the total time it takes to complete the 1000m.

REASONS FOR DISQUALIFICATION

Failure of elbows to touch knees.

Failure of scapular to touch tester's hand.

Your hands come off your ears while performing the sit-up.

Back to Top

MH Elite Video

Terms Of Use

This content contained on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for medical, weight-loss or fitness advice and counseling. Before starting this or any fitness or weight-loss programme, consult your physician to determine if it is safe for you and fits your needs. Do not start this or any other fitness or weight-loss programme if your physician or health care provider advises against it.