A few months ago, I had the opportunity to participate in an exercise science study at a local university. Talk about being in the right place at the right time. I had been looking to find a way to quantify all of my hard work getting in shape over the past several years when this study came along. It was a win-win for everyone. They got their precious, precious data from my test results and I got a battery of fitness evaluations for free! Here are the results of some of the more important tests.
The first is the Wingate test, a measure of anaerobic power. The actual test itself lasts about 30 seconds, but let me tell you… I had Post-“Fran” syndrome (when you’re not sure whether you’re going to throw up or pass out first) for almost 30 MINUTES after the test was over. For the test itself, you had to pedal on a stationary bike with weighted resistance relative to body weight in an all-out max effort for 30 seconds. That’s just long enough for your muscles to run short on ATP and Creatine Phosphate as alarms go off all over the place in your body and it scrambles to find more fuel to keep your muscles working. It’s not a pleasant feeling and if I never have to do that test again, it’ll be WAY too soon. So, how’d I do? Here’s a look at a percentile chart for college-aged males. I’m a generation or so removed from that age group, but I’ve never let age stand in my way before.
Wingate Test: My total number of watts generated came in at 830W making my watt generation per kg of body weight 11.86. Take THAT, 18-21 year olds! Here’s another chart comparing this score to Division I athletes (sorry for the blurriness of this picture).
So, according to this, I’m “below average” when comparing myself to the best athletes in the country at or very close to their athletic prime. I’m pretty happy with that.
The second test was VO2max, the absolute upper limit of your body’s ability to utilize oxygen during increasingly strenuous continuous exercise. To perform this test, you simply have to run on a treadmill that slowly increases in steepness until you physically can’t run any further. Oh, and your nose is clipped shut and you’re wearing headgear with a tube attached to it that you have to breathe into. Super comfy, I assure you. In any case, let’s go to the numbers!
VO2max: After an incredibly challenging run whilst breathing into a giant tube, my body’s maximum oxygen usage was 56.7 ml/kg/min. Off the charts again.
Isokinetic strength was measured using something called the Biodex machine. This machine is used to measure isokinetic leg strength by strapping your leg into the machine and then repeatedly extending and flexing your leg in a max effort at three different resistance levels (60 degrees per second was the hardest and 300 was the easiest to move).
As you can see from the chart above, it’s harder to translate the results of this test into a meaningful result since different sports require different kinds of strength, but here’s how my numbers stack up against various Division I athletes (measured in ft-lbs of peak torque for left leg/right leg).
60 deg/s: 149.2/160
180 deg/s: 107.6/113.7
300 deg/s: 83.4/86.8
Not too shabby if you ask me.
So what did I take from all this besides a nice ego boost? Aside from being a pretty darn fit guy, I would say that if CrossFit wants any proof that 4 years of training has made me strong as well as given me endurance with and without the presence of oxygen in my muscles, well…there you have it. I wonder how these numbers would change after a few rounds of Starting Strength. Maybe I’ll think about revisiting these tests again someday…even the dreaded Wingate.