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Press Up Test

Testing and measurement are the means of collecting information upon which subsequent performance evaluations and decisions are made. In the analysis, we need to bear in mind the factors that may influence the results.

Objective

The Press Up test's objective is to assess the strength endurance of the athlete's upper body muscles.

Required Resources

To conduct this test, you will require:

  • Non-slip surface
  • Assistant

How to conduct the test

  • The athlete warms up for 10 minutes
  • The athlete lies on the ground, places their hands by the shoulders and straightens the arms - see Figure 1 (start position)
  • The athlete lowers the body until the elbows reach 90° (see Figure 2) and then extends the arms to return to the start position
  • The athlete continuous this press-up action, with no rest, until they are unable to continue
  • The assistant counts and records the number of correctly completed press-ups

 

Press up
Figure 1

Press up
Figure 2

Athletes with less relative strength in the upper body can use the modified press-up position to assess their upper body strength.

  • The athlete warms up for 10 minutes
  • The athlete lies on the ground, places their hands by the shoulders, straightens the arms and keeps the knees on the ground- see Figure 3 (start position)
  • The athlete lowers the body until the elbows reach 90° - see Figure 4 and then extends the arms to return to the start position
  • The athlete continuous this press-up action, with no rest, until they are unable to continue
  • The assistant counts and records the number of correctly completed press-ups
Press Up
Figure 3

Press up
Figure 4

How much weight are you pressing?

When you perform the full press-up (Fig 1), you are lifting approximately 75% of your body weight, and in the modified press-up position (Fig 3), you are lifting about 60% of your body weight.

Assessment

The following normative data is available for this test:

The following table, McArdle et al. (2000)[1], provides normative data for the full-body press-up for Men

Age Excellent Good Average Fair Poor
20 - 29 >54 45 - 54 35 - 44 20 - 34 <20
30 - 39 >44 35 - 44 25 - 34 15 - 24 <15
40 -49 >39 30 - 39 20 - 29 12 - 19 <12
50 - 59 >34 25 - 34 15 - 24 8 - 14 <8
60+ >29 20 - 29 10 - 19 5 - 9 <5

The following table, McArdle et al. (2000)[1], provides normative data for the modified Press-Ups for Women

Age Excellent Good Average Fair Poor
20 - 29 >48 34 - 38 17 - 33 6 - 16 <6
30 - 39 >39 25 - 39 12 - 24 4 - 11 <4
40 -49 >34 20 - 34 8 - 19 3 - 7 <3
50 - 59 >29 15 - 29 6 - 14 2 - 5 <2
60+ >19 5 - 19 3 - 4 1- 2 <1

The following table, adapted from Golding et al. (1986)[2], provides normative data for the Press-Ups for Men

Age Excellent Good Above
Average
Average Below
Average
Poor
17 - 19 >56 47-56 35-46 19-34 11-18 <11
20 - 29 >47 39-47 30-38 17-29 10-16 <10
30 - 39 >41 34-41 25-33 13-24 8-12 <8
40 -49 >34 28-34 21-27 11-20 6-10 <6
50 - 59 >31 25-31 18-24 9-17 5-8 <5
60 - 65 >30 24-30 17-23 6-16 3-5 <3

The following table, adapted from Golding et al. (1986)[2], provides normative data for the Press-Ups for Women

Age Excellent Good Above
Average
Average Below
Average
Poor
17 - 19 >35 27-35 21-26 11-20 6-10 <6
20 - 29 >36 30-36 23-29 12-22 7-11 <7
30 - 39 >37 30-37 22-29 10-21 5-9 <5
40 -49 >31 25-31 18-24 8-17 4-7 <4
50 - 59 >25 21-25 15-20 7-14 3-6 <3
60 - 65 >23 19-23 13-18 5-12 2-4 <2

To evaluate the athlete's performance, select the age group and Test, enter the total number of press-ups and then select the 'Calculate' button.

Age Test Number of press ups
Assessment -

Assessment is based on the normative data tables above

Analysis

Analysis of the test result compares it with the athlete's previous results for this test. It is expected that, with appropriate training between each test, the analysis would indicate an improvement in the athlete's upper body strength endurance.

Target Group

This test is suitable for active individuals but not for those where the test would be contraindicated.

Reliability

Test reliability refers to how a test is consistent and stable in measuring what it is intended to measure. Reliability will depend upon how strict the test is conducted and the individual's level of motivation to perform the test. The following link provides various factors that may influence the results and therefore, test reliability.

Validity

Test validity refers to the degree to which the test measures what it claims to measure and the extent to which inferences, conclusions, and decisions made based on test scores are appropriate and meaningful. This test provides a means to monitor training on the athlete's physical development.

Advantages

  • No equipment required
  • Simple to set up and conduct
  • The athlete can administer the test
  • Can be conducted almost anywhere

Disadvantages

  • Assistant required to administer the test


References

  1. McARDLE, W.D. et al. (2000) Training muscles to become stronger. In: McARDLE, W.D. et al., 2nd ed. Essentials of Exercise Physiology, USA: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, p. 418
  2. GOLDING, L.A. et al. (1986) Y's way to physical fitness: the complete guide to fitness testing and instruction. 3rd ed, USA: Human Kinetics 

Related References

The following references provide additional information on this topic:

  • WULF, G. et al. (2014) Choosing to exercise more: Small choices increase exercise engagement. Psychology of Sport and Exercise15 (3), p. 268-271
  • MAEO, S. et al. (2014) Muscular activities during sling-and ground-based push-up exercise. BMC research notes7 (1), p. 192.

Page Reference

If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is:

  • MACKENZIE, B. (2001) Press Up Test [WWW] Available from: https://www.brianmac.co.uk/pressuptst.htm [Accessed

Related Pages

The following Sports Coach pages provide additional information on this topic: