12 Things you “Should” be able to do in the gym:

Everybody who steps into a gym has a goal in mind, whether it be to get stronger, lose fat, gain muscle or run a marathon. To help contribute to your goals and drive you to get better on your fitness journey, I’m going to give you 12 challenges that will test your overall fitness ability, Endurance, muscular capacity, power, speed, explosiveness, quickness, mental toughness and your will to push yourself to that next level. I’ve also found that people who aren’t “Just” trying to lose weight or “gain” muscle that strive for multiple goals are more likely to achieve more. So try to add some of these to your routine and get better at any 1 or all of them….

            These are all tests you have probably seen somewhere else, but I have taken and scaled to: 1.Beginner, 2.Intermediate, & 3 Advanced classes. Don’t expect these to be easy, to get a top grade on this test you will need to put up world class scores.  I’ve also broken down the scores from my personal training clients over the years so that you can see how you rank. Mens/Womens scores are set like this for those M/W.


1. Sub 6min 1 mile run – Your basic test that has been used for years is still alive. My 72 year old University basketball coach would make us do this every week of training camp. He would tell us if we finished over 6min we had to run 10miles right after, then if you couldn’t finish the 10 miles you were cut.

Score: Elite = 5min, Advanced=<6min Intermediate=>6min Beginner=<8min, You need to run more! =>8


2. Body Weight Bench Press – A body weight bench press might be impressive when you’re in high school impressing your friends, or a benchmark for college football scouts, but this is the big leagues. Yes it may have to do with your height/weight ratio and the length of your arms, but in the end it comes down to pure upper body strength, technique and stamina. Load the bar… grab a spot… Let’s get it done!

*Rules: Bar must touch your chest and be locked out for each rep to count.

Score: Advanced=>30/20, Intermediate=>20/15, Beginner=>10/5, Do you even lift?=<10/<5


3. Deadlift 3X Body Weight – Saving you the time from grabbing your phone and opening that calculator app… IT”S A LOT!!! Or maybe you think it isn’t? Go ahead, load the bar… I’ll wait… IT’S A LOT!!! This isn’t one that you could expect to break without years of training. Belt up, chalk up and get ready to make some awful faces, its deadlift time.

Score: World Class=3XBW, Advanced=2.5XBW, Intermediate=2XBW, Still good=>2XBW


4. Squat your Body weight for max reps- No half reps here. Hip crease drops below the knees to count as a rep. Find a rack, put the pins in and get ready to find your limit… or the floor.

Score: Advanced=30+, Intermediate=25+, Beginner=20+, Try harder =>20


5. Crossfit Baseline – A test I use to group my athletes on their 1st day of training. 5 movements that everybody should be able to do, but who will give up when the burn hits?

For Time:

Row 500m

40 air squats (must lock out the knees and hips at the top and hip crease below the knees at the bottom)

30 ab mat situps (hands touch the floor lying back and touch your heels at the top of the situp)

20 pushups (chest touches the floor and lock out elbows at top)

10 pullups (full extension of the elbows at bottom, chin above bar at top. *kipping is allowed

Score: Advanced=<4min, Intermediate=<4:30min, Beginner=>5min



6. V02Max Test – A V02 Max test is a maximal exercise test performed on a treadmill or a bike while connected to a machine capable of analyzing your expired air. Your test provides data on how much oxygen you use as you exercise and determines the maximal oxygen you can consume during exercise.

Downside this test will cost you $$$. I do have a manual test for this as well if you send me an email I can forward it along to you.

Test results for this vary depending on sex & age. For full tables visit: www.fitnesscity.com/understanding-vo2-max




7. 40yard dash time – A classic speed test. Familiar to any football fan as a combine favorite. Simple test. Find a football field, start at the goal line and sprint out to the 40yard line. Record time. Repeat until desired time is achieved.

Score: Elite Speed < 4.5seconds, Still faster than most humans < 4.75seconds, Considered extremely slow > 5seconds


8. Shuttle time- A test to measure speed, agility and change of direction. Start on a line. Sprint 5 yards to either direction, touch the line and sprint 10 yards in the opposite direction, touch that line and finish through your start line. Scores are similar or slightly under 40 yard dash times. My 40 time was 4.54 seconds which was average, but I had an elite shuttle time at 4.19 which made me a great route runner.

Score: Elite Speed < 4 seconds, Still quicker than most humans < 4.5seconds, I’ve heard these people called stone footed > 5seconds




9. Box Jump- Also a vert test, but since we are doing this from a gym workout standpoint lets stick with the box. I like it as it brings in hip mobility and a mental aspect of landing. Simple test. Stack the boxes and jump up on them until you can’t anymore. Measure you highest.

Score: Elite (Can probably dunk on you) > 60”/50”, Advanced (depending on height can probably still dunk on you) > 55/45”, Intermediate > 45”/<35”, Beginner <35”/<25”


10. Max Pullups(Strict) – A feat of pull strength and grip. Being lighter is a bonus for this one so only 1 set of scores for guys and girls. I have seen girls perform better and guys at this test.

*With double overhand grip, Must get chin above bar and return to full extension of the arms at the bottom of each rep.

Score: Elite > 30, Invited to join the army = 20+, OK if your over 130lbs = 20-10, Beginner = < 10


11. Row sub 1:30/1:40 500m- Now a bit of technique is needed here and a set of lungs. Doesn’t hurt to be 6’6 and 230lbs either…  On a concept 2 rower perform 500m as fast as possible.

Scores: Advanced = 1:30/1:40, Intermediate = 1:45/1:55, Beginner = 1:55/2:05


12. Sub 40min Murph- The final test is one of my favorite… a test of endurance, muscle capacity, fitness, and the will to survive. “Murph” is a workout that covers 3 of the tests above and more. You must be able to put a score on the 6min Mile, Bench press capacity and pullups… oh and do it all wearing a 20lb weighted vest.

Workout: 1mile run, 300 squats, 200 pushups, 100 pullups, 1 mile run.

Scores: Elite sub 40min, Advanced 40-50min, Intermediate 50-60min, Beginner >60min


I hope these tests give you something new to push for in the gym other than weight loss goals. I have found that many clients do better when given strength goals. They should also give you a little more push… There is always another level to training and fitness goals.


Coach Murph


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