Friday, January 4, 2019

Step-up our middle-aged man cardiovascular conditioning

In the normal course of living middle-aged manhood to the fit-fullest, it’s not uncommon for some of us to fall off the peak-fitness wagon from time to time and that was my case sometime last year. 

When did it start?  I’m not sure but looking back, the absence of training journal detail provides a first clue.  I always struggle with quality workout time during my peak work season that generally takes place from February to April.  Given that this period is soon upon me, I resolve to be more vigilant now that I’m back on the training pony full force since August 31, 2018.

I’ll have more to share about my current fitness, health and wellness journey later but today I’m going to share the results of a quick cardiovascular conditioning test I took this morning.  It’s called the YMCA Bench Step Test for Cardiovascular Fitness.

This test is based on how quickly your heart rate recovers following a short bout of exercise.  It’s a 3-minute test using a 12-inch step, bench or box that you step up to and down from at a cadence of 96 beats per minute.  I found a YouTube video of a Metronome playing for 3 minutes for my test here:

Another place to go is here:  METRONOME ONLINE

I used a recently purchased high-quality 12-inch step that I have in my office that I use for office-based workouts.  I’ll share some of the workouts I’ve done using the step on a different day.

I paid $99 for this high-quality step
and it's worth every penny paid.  

Following the test procedures, did the requisite step-ups for 3 minutes, stopped immediately and sat down on my step. I then took a pulse reading one minute later.

My results

Starting heart rate
71 beats per minute
Average heart rate during test
116 beats per minute
Maximum heart rate during test
131 beats per minute
Heart rate one minute after test
72 beats per minute
Calories burned during test
25 calories
My estimated maximum heart rate
180 beats per minute

Using the age-adjusted standards based on guidelines published by the YMCA, I rated as excellent.  Naturally, I’d like to improve my score and am sure I will with my current training efforts.  Here are the guidelines for your study:

For better viewing or to download these guidelines, go here:

This is only one of many ways to assess cardiovascular conditioning which, for me, I rate as very important in my fitness, health and wellness journey.  A tougher one that I learned about is the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer Physical Fitness Test 1 consisting of 120 step-ups in 5 minutes using the same 12-inch step.  I’ll plan on taking that test on a different day and share my results here.

A couple nights ago, I got some more favorable feedback when taking my blood pressure using a home-based device.

Take this YMCA test for a drive one of these days to assess your own middle-aged man cardiovascular conditioning.  At this chapter in our fitness, health and wellness journey, we need to be vigilant and step-up our cardiovascular conditioning.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum


michael said...

Congratulations on Your results! Looking forward To the post about Your training and how You are combining everything. I have a question about the step up test. When You say this, "step up to and down from at a cadence of 96 beats per minute." I never used a metronome so I'm a little confused by this. Can You explain this?

Pierini Fitness said...

Michael, sorry for my belated reply. I got to get back in the blog mode 100% which includes comment moderation. The 96-count equals 24 step-ups and step-downs in a minute.

For example, one complete step-up consists of (imagine beginning with your right foot) step up with right foot then left food (now both feet are on top of the step) then step down with right foot and then left foot so that both feet are back at the starting position. That's one step. Again, 24 step-ups in a minute to a 96-count cadence because there are 4 movements for each step-up rep.

Hope this explanation helps. Thanks for visiting Pierini Fitness; enjoy your day.