Outside Online Archives

Outside magazine, May 2000 Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Go ahead, measure your current Parcourse prowess

In grade school, the Presidential Fitness Award rewarded fit kids with a nifty patch and year-long bragging rights. Alas, exercise achievement standards are not so clear-cut for adults, but baseline evaluations are still possible. We've provided some data below as fitness touchstones, loosely grouped by performance category: Olympian (Sydney 2000!), Weekend Warrior (you look good in bike shorts), and Penitent Sloth (your treadmill's a drying rack). "The standards can be used to set goals for yourself and monitor your improvement as your training progresses," says David Nieman, a professor at Appalachian State University and the author of Exercise Testing and Prescription: A Health Related Approach. Think of it as the Outside Parcourse Fitness Award. Sorry, we can't send you a patch, but bragging is strongly encouraged.


26-35 M: 51-85
F: 58-92
M: 88-102
F: 95-110
M: 104-161
F: 113-171
36-45 M: 49-88
F: 51-96
M: 92-105
F: 100-112
M: 108-163
F: 115-169
46-55 M: 56-93
F: 63-101
M: 95-111
F: 104-118
M: 113-159
F: 120-171
Measure pulse for one minute following three minutes of stepping at 24 steps/minute on a bench 12 inches off the ground. Each step is comprised of a four-count cycle: right foot up, left foot up, right foot down, left foot down. Compare your total beats-per-minute with the pulse-rate numbers above to see where you fall.

20-29 M: >=36
F: >=30
M: 22-35
F: 15-29
M: <=21
F: <=14
30-39 M: >=30
F: >=27
M: 17-29
F: 13-26
M: <=16
F: <=12
40-49 M: >=22
F: >=24
M: 13-21
F: 11-23
M: <=12
F: <=10
Men should follow instructions for push-ups on opposite page. Women's results are based on "knee up" push-ups. Place hands shoulder-width apart, back straight, head up, ankles crossed, knees on floor. Lower chest to the floor. Both groups should repeat to failure. Numbers above are total consecutive number completed.

20-29 M: >=44
F: >=39
M: 35-43
F: 28-38
M: <=34
F: <=27
30-39 M: >=40
F: >=30
M: 31-39
F: 21-29
M: <=30
F: <=20
40-49 M: >=35
F: >=25
M: 26-34
F: 16-24
M: <=25
F: <=15
Perform sit-ups per instructions for crunches on page 156. Do as many as possible in one minute, then compare your results with the numbers above.

Mike Grudowski, a former Outside senior editor, is currently a Weekend Warrior striving to become an Olympian.

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