Find Out How Fit You Really Are in Only Three Minutes

A participant in the Maltz Challenge performs push-ups at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.
A participant in the Maltz Challenge performs push-ups at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., March 9, 2018. The CrossFit-style competition features a 400-meter run and challenges in pull-ups, dips, push-ups, sit-ups and more. (Staff Sgt. J.D. Strong II/U.S. Air Force photo)


Physical fitness extends beyond weightlifting. It involves assessing your strength relative to your body weight, according to Martin Rooney, author of "Ultimate Warrior Workouts." In his training regimen, athletes undergo body-weight tests. If they struggle, this indicates a need to either enhance strength or shed weight.

You can adopt a similar self-assessment approach through Rooney's push-up challenge to gauge and enhance your physical prowess.

The test

Do as many push-ups as you can in three minutes.


1. Rest whenever you want, but keep the clock running the whole time.

2. For a rep to count, you must maintain perfect form: elbows locked at the top, chest two inches above the floor at the bottom, hips not sagging and knees not touching the floor.

3. Pace yourself however you'd like, but it's best not to rush, Rooney said. Take a 15-second break once you slow down after your first burst. Then take longer breaks as you become more tired, he said. Never push yourself to total fatigue.

Tire out too quickly? 

How you did:

  • Below average: < 55 push-ups

  • Average: 55-74 push-ups

  • Good: 75-99 push-ups

  • Excellent: 100-110 push-ups

  • Extraordinary: 111 or more

Problems to look for

If you can't do 15 push-ups with perfect form ... Your chest and triceps are weak. Strengthen them by doing regular high-rep (12-15) sets of the bench press and triceps pushdown. Also try push-ups in a power rack on a barbell so you can set your body at an incline, making the push-up easier. As you improve, lower the barbell until you're doing regular push-ups.

If your hips sag during push-ups ... Your core is weak. Solution: planks and side planks. These exercises build stability and endurance in your core and mimic the movement needed to succeed at push-ups. They're also great ab workouts. 

Related video: Stew Smith Pushups Demo

    How to boost your score

    Add push-ups to your routine twice a week for the next four weeks, Rooney said. Follow this push-up protocol, trying to complete each rep as quickly as possible. Then take five days off from push-ups and retest yourself.

    Are you performing your exercises correctly? Use this guide to perfect your form, prevent injury and pack on size faster.

    More from Men's Health:

    40 Small Changes for Bigger Muscles

    Related video: Increase Your Pushups and Pullups Quickly

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