How Fit Are You Really?



They're a staple in most fitness classes for a reason—performing one with proper form is an indicator of overall total-body strength. "You want to be able to do a push-up so your hips and shoulders rise at the same time and everything is moving up and down in a straight line," says McCall. If your butt sticks in the air or your hips stay on the ground while your shoulders rise, that can indicate weakness in your core and spine. For your assessment, try to perform three to four full-body push-ups (so no dropping to your knees for the test), with your elbows pointing back as if they were positioned at 4 or 8 on a clock. "If they're positioned at 3 or 9, which is too far out, you're putting a lot of strain on the rotator cuff," explains McCall. "If your hands are too close together, as if you were performing a chaturanga, that's placing more force on your triceps and you don't really use your chest and shoulder muscles. Keeping them at 4 and 8 puts the shoulder joint in a more neutral position so all the muscles that stabilize it are able to work more effectively."

Then, keep an eye on your form—if a broom were placed on your back while you completed each rep, would it roll off? "If so, start adding in push-ups—modified ones are okay as you work on improving–or standing chest presses."

Stabilized Lunge

For this test, McCall wants you to evaluate your range of motion. "Put yourself on a straight line with one foot about 2 feet in front of the other, then lower into a lunge so your back knee comes toward the front ankle," says McCall. "If you can do 3 to 5 reps and maintain a tall spine, switch and see if you can do the same on the other." Most of us have one side that's stronger than the other, and the weaker side tends to force your body into a corkscrewing motion—making you feel like you're losing balance—as you lower down. McCall says that's because your hip isn't going for the desired mobility. To work on it, he suggests adding Bulgarian split squats to your routine a few times a week. "It's a really good exercise because you use your hamstrings and adductors together to extend and sink lower into the front hip, rather than just the glute to control movement," he says. Plus, it's an easy move to do at home—all you need is a couch or chair.





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