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7 Functional Fitness Tests for Any Athlete

7 Functional Fitness Tests for Any Athlete

Here at Men’s Fitness we try to debunk the theory that raw athletic talent is genetic. We’re not referring to bodybuilding, but rather to movements that directly affect sports performance. We believe that by doing specific workouts and doing them over a period of time, a guy can surpass the athletic feats he was “born to be able to do.” The first step in doing this is figuring out where you could use some improvement and the second step is working hard to better your numbers.

Designed by Monkey Bar Gymnasium founder and personal trainer Jon Hinds, these seven tests are not only good workouts in and of themselves, they're also barometers for overall sports performance.

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Sprint 40 yards as fast as possible.

For athletes in a short-sprint sport like football, a good time is under 4.6 seconds, says Hinds.

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Complete the shuttle run run below. Rest 15 seconds. Repeat. Record your best time out of three. A good target is 15 seconds or under.

Sprint 15 yards then sprint back to the start.
Sprint 10 yards then sprint back to the start.
Sprint 5 yards then sprint back to the start.

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Run a mile as fast as possible. Six minutes or below is good for an endurance athlete, Hinds says.

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Reach as high as possible while standing with heels flat on ground. Then, jump and touch (no steps) as high as possible and measure the difference between the reach height and where your hand touched after jumping.

“A good vertical jump is over 30" for men and 20" for women,” says Hinds. “I hold the Monkey Bar Gym record with 46 inches.”

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Put your toes against the yard line of a football field or a measurable open space. Jump forward as far as possible. Measure from your heels back to initial line your toes lined up with.

“A good measure is 2 feet over your own height,” says Hinds. 

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Men: Use 16kg
Women: Use 8kg
Repeat the following for 10 minutes. The goal is 100 reps. Once you’ve hit 100 reps, next time you test, try 20kg. If you can 100 reps of that weight, then do 24 kg for your next test. For women, move up to 12kg then 16 kg.

Reps: Five in 15 seconds
Rest: 15 seconds. 

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Do this circuit twice, as fast as possible.

Reps: 25

Jungle Gym XT Body Rows (body at 90 degrees)
Reps: 25

Situps (elbows touch knees)
Reps: 25

Deadlifts (50% bodyweight)
Reps: 25

Stepups: (each leg) or box jumps onto a 12-inch box
Reps: 50

The goal is to finish two rounds in less than 15 minutes. Once you do that, try 12 minutes next test, then 9 minutes. The best Monkey Bar Gym time is 6:11.

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