5 key biomechanical tests

Back in 2010 our Editor Andy Dixon went head-to-head with Olympic Champion Mo Farah. Find out who came out on top in this running battle and take the five biomechanical tests below to reveal your running fitness.

1. Hamstring leg raise test

Tests: Hamstring flexibility

How: Lie on your back on the floor. Ensure you keep one leg flat against the floor. Keeping your other leg straight, with no bend in the knee, lift it as far as you can. Assess the angle you can lift your leg to.

90º =  Excellent   
70º = Good   
50º = Fair   

100º = Excellent
90º = Good
60º = Fair
<60º = Poor

2. Standing squat test

Tests: Balance and stability

How: Stand up straight, lift one foot off the ground so that the knee is at a right angle, then sink into a squat position, making sure your knee doesn’t move in front of your toes. Use your arms to help you keep balance. Get a spotter to time how long it takes for your hip area to start wobbling. Do it on both legs and compare one side to the other.

Time holding pose with no wobbling

20+ seconds = Excellent
15 seconds = Good
5-10 seconds = Fair
0 seconds = Poor

3. Distance hop test

Tests: Leg muscle power

How: How many hops does it take you to cover six metres?
3 = Excellent
4 = Good
5 = Fair
6+ = Poor

4. Downward reach test

Tests: Spinal flexibility

How: Bend forward at the hips, keeping your legs straight (knees locked), and your head relaxed. Reach down as far as you can with your hands. Do the same again with your chin touching your chest. This pulls the spinal cord and tightens up the nerves. See if you can
hit the same point. If there’s a dramatic difference, then your spinal nerves are tight.

Where can you reach?

Touch toes = Excellent
Ankles = Good
Halfway down shins = Fair
Just beyond the knees = Poor

5. Plank test

Tests: Core muscle control

How: Lie facing the floor with your weight on your toes and elbows, and your body in a straight line from neck to ankle. A spotter will help.

Time before loss of form (Your pelvis or lower back starts to sag, or your midsection starts to tremble)

1 minute = Excellent
40 seconds = Good
20 seconds = Fair
10 seconds = Poor

The Bupa Fitness Assessment includes 13 tests to help you develop an action plan and get more from your training. It is available nationally at an introductory cost of £149.00. For more information call 0800 66 55 77.