How strong are you from head to toe? This five-exercise test can tell you.
Can you do three rounds of 30 seconds each of squats, jumping jacks, one-leg balance, pushups, and planks? In this video, SilverSneakers fitness expert David Jack shows how this five-exercise test can give you clues about your total-body strength.
You'll need open space, an exercise mat, and a watch or clock. Try the test now, then see what your results mean below. If you have a chronic condition, balance issues, or injuries, skip the test, but check out the tips below.
How to Do the Test
Do each exercise for 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds between each exercise, and aim to perform three rounds of the circuit. If an exercise is too difficult, try the suggested modification to make it easier-or what fitness experts call a regression.
Keep in mind that moving safely and with good form is more important than moving quickly. If you feel pain or notice your form is breaking down, pause or adjust. Still feel pain? Stop, but check out the tips below.
Here are the exercises:
- Jumping jacks: To make it easier, move one leg at a time
- Balance on one leg
- Pushup: To make it easier, place your knees on the mat or floor
- Plank: To make it easier, place your knees on the mat or floor
If You Did 3 Rounds
That's a sign your total-body strength is average or above average. In your daily life, a strong:
- Upper body helps you lift, carry, push, and pull objects
- Core helps protect your spine and keep you upright
- Lower body helps keep you stable and power movement
Maintain your muscles by doing strength exercises at least two days a week. You can use the five-exercise circuit above or discover new strength workouts on the SilverSneakers Go app (free, iOS and Android).
What else you can do: Get the most out of every single rep by making sure you have good strength training habits.
If You Weren’t Able to Do 3 Rounds
That's a sign you may need to improve your total-body strength. Good news: It may be easier than you think. Ideally, you would do at least two days of strength exercises each week. But the latest fitness guidelines say any activity that requires at least moderate effort and works your major muscle groups count. This includes:
- Workouts using just the weight of your body or using dumbbells, resistance bands, or weight machines
- Strength exercises as part of a SilverSneakers class or physical therapy program
- Everyday activities like carrying heavy groceries or climbing stairs
Need some ideas? Build your strength by doing the five-exercise circuit two to three times each week. Or if you need a seated option, try this 15-minute total-body chair workout.
If You Have a Chronic Condition, Balance Issues, or Injuries
The first thing to remember is physical activity is safe-and beneficial-for almost everyone, according to the latest fitness guidelines. The key is working with your doctor to find the right plan for you.
Start by talking to your doctor about your current health and any medications you take. Ask these three questions:
- What types of exercise are appropriate for me?
- How often and how much should I do them?
- Are there precautions or steps I should take? For example, people recovering from an injury may need additional treatment or physical therapy. People with arthritis may want to learn exercise modifications to prevent pain.
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SilverSneakers gives you free, unlimited access to more than 15,000 gyms and fitness centers across the nation, plus classes and tools designed to keep older adults strong and independent. Check your eligibility instantly here. Already a member? Get your SilverSneakers member ID and exclusive content by logging in to or creating your online account here.