3. Perform One Controlled Wall Squat
Men's Health Fit: Full squat in control
Above Average: Halfway down
Ordinary: Less than halfway
Mobility is a quality great athletes hone but most regular guys ignore. That's a mistake: "The more mobile you are, the better you can move your joints through their full range of motion and the less likely you are to be injured," says kinesiologist and rehab expert Dean Somerset, C.S.C.S. This test, he says, "will expose limitations in your ankles, hips, neck, and upper back—places where most men are bound up." A lot of people fail this test because they have a rounded back or inflexible ankles.
Stand facing a wall with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes 2 inches from the baseboard and turned slightly out. Keeping your feet flat, chest up, and back naturally arched, see how far you can lower your body without touching the wall or falling backward.
Boost Your Mobility
Loosen your back with self-massage. Lie on your back with a foam roller placed perpendicular to your spine just below your shoulder blades. Bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor. Support your head with your hands, and move your head, neck, and upper back forward and backward over the foam roller four to six times. To loosen tight ankles and calves, try the ankle mobility lunge. Stand in a split stance with your front foot about 6 inches from a wall. Now bend your front knee to touch the wall without letting your front heel leave the floor. Do this 8 to 10 times. Switch legs and repeat.
4. Score Level 12 on The Beep Test
Men's Health Fit: Level 12
Above Average: Level 11
Ordinary: Level 9
Cardiovascular endurance isn't just a sign of your 10K potential; it's an indicator of how long you'll last in any athletic endeavor, from a 48-minute basketball game to an afternoon of backyard football. And people who play aerobic endurance sports have a higher life expectancy than those who do not, according to a recent German study review.
Download the Beep Test app for your iPhone (Beep Test Solo, $1) or Android device (Beep Test, $2.50). Place two cones 20 meters apart on a track or field, hit the start button on the app, and run from one cone to the other. When you hear the beep, run back. Continue until you can't reach the opposite cone before the next beep sounds. (The time between beeps will shorten as you progress through the test.) Then hit the "record score" button. "This is the best way to test aerobic endurance," says Alwyn Cosgrove, C.S.C.S., owner of Results Fitness in Santa Clarita, California. Its escalating intensity is a good measure of your body's ability to deliver oxygen to working muscles—your "peak aerobic capacity."
Improve Your Endurance
Repeat the beep test once a week. Just repeating the drill can help boost your peak aerobic capacity, says Cosgrove. On two other days each week, do sprint intervals. Sprint at 85 percent of your maximum effort for one minute and then rest for two minutes. Do that 5 to 8 times total. "Over and over, intervals have been shown to be the fastest way to improve your VO2 max, the maximum amount of oxygen your body can process at once, which is a powerful indicator of your aerobic fitness level," says Cosgrove.
Plus: Get fit at home with workouts tailored to your life goals in our Train for Life Challenges.