A workout on time to assess your fitness at the gym

It’s all well and good to hit the gym and stick to a routine, but how well does this approach work for you? Do you really benefit from it?

Ashton Turner, personal trainer and manager at London’s evolve353, designed a “for time” workout for gym goers to gauge your fitness level. These sessions are popular CrossFit training format and asks you to complete a certain number of laps of a circuit as quickly as possible. This makes them well suited to be repeated after a period to see if you are able to improve your time.

“I love this workout because we rarely test and retest ourselves,” Turner says. “It’s a simple but effective way to set yourself a baseline and then see if your training program is working by retesting four to six weeks later.”

Ashton reiterates that it is important to always maintain good form with every exercise. “Just because you’re running in bad shape doesn’t mean you’re in better shape!” And you don’t just have to try to beat your time either. “If you’re able to increase the weights and maintain the same completion time, that’s still an improvement.”

“A good starting weight will be 8-12kg for women and 16-20kg for men, but adjust as needed,” says Turner. “It’s about setting a benchmark for your fitness level and aiming to improve your score – not someone else’s.”

Once you’ve gotten all you can out of this session, try these AMRAP workouts, gym challenges Where fitness tests.

For practice time

Try four rounds for the time of the exercises below. Stay with the same dumbbell weight throughout.

1 row of 1000 m


(Image credit: Getty Images/Thomas Barwick)

Row for 1 km on a rowing machine.

Representatives ten

Stand straight with a dumbbell on each shoulder, feet shoulder-width apart and toes slightly pointed. Push your hips back and bend your knees to lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor, keeping your back flat and facing forward. Push through your heels to stand up.

3 Manual press-up

Representatives ten

Start in a high plank position with your wrists directly under your shoulders, arms straight, and body in a straight line. Bend your elbows to lower your chest to the floor, briefly lift your hands off the floor, then return them to the floor and push yourself up. You can do the push-ups on your knees if you prefer.

Representatives ten

Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart, holding dumbbells in front of your body. Push your hips back until your torso is almost parallel to the floor and let your arms hang down. Keep your back flat and your core engaged as you bend your elbows and lift the dumbbells, keeping your arms close to your body. Pause when the dumbbells reach your rib cage, then lower yourself.

5 Dumbbell Lunge

Lunge with dumbbells

(Image credit: Getty Images/Thomas Barwick)

Representatives 10 on each side

Stand straight, put dumbbells on your shoulders. Keeping your core engaged and your back flat, take a big step forward with your left leg and lower yourself until your back knee is just above the floor. Make sure your front knee stays directly over your ankle. Then push up through the front heel to rise up and return to a standing position. Alternate sides with each repeat.

6 chest-to-floor burpees

Representatives ten

Standing, squat down, place your hands on the floor in front of you and jump your feet back to land in a high plank position. Bend your elbows and do push-ups, making sure your chest touches the floor. Then jump your feet forward again and jump reaching your arms above your head.

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