Push Up Testing

The push-up fitness test is a measure of upper body strength and endurance. There are many variations of the push-up test, which differ in such details as the different placement of the hands, how far to lower the chest during each repetition, the duration of the test and the method of counting the number of completed push-ups.

Below is a general overview of push-up testing, with links to specific push-up tests.

equipment required

The required equipment will depend on which protocol you use. For some tests you will not need any equipment at all. A floor mat sometimes comes in handy, especially if the surface is rough on the hands or you need to touch the floor with your chest. A block of foam or some other object is sometimes placed under the chest to standardize how far the chest is lowered. If it is a timed test, you will need a stopwatch or a watch with a second hand will usually do. Other tests may need a metronome if it is a cadence test. Otherwise an audio file with the recorded cadenced or some other method of making the correct regular rhythm is required. There are also tests that require a wall or chair to lean on.


The purpose of the push-up test and the test procedures should be fully explained to the participant before starting. Make sure that they have no pre-existing ailments that will affect the test result or will get worse by participating in the test. Record basic information about the subject, such as age, height, body weight, gender and test conditions. Get them to perform a warm-up including upper body stretches and swinging of the arms. Explain the push-up technique required and get the participant to practice a few reps so that you can give feedback about what is required.


Begin in a starting position with the hands placed shoulder width apart, the body straight and up on the toes (see standard push-up technique). Keeping the back and knees straight, the subject lowers the body to a predetermined point, to touch some other object, or until there is a 90-degree angle at the elbows, then returns back to the starting position with the arms extended. This action is repeated, and the test continues until exhaustion, or until they can do no more in rhythm or have reached the target number of push-ups.


Record the number of correctly completed push-ups.

Specific Push-Up Fitness Tests




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