Do you need a personal trainer? Take this test to find out.

Do you need a personal trainer? That depends. If you're already highly fit, and if you're accustomed to following structured programs, you may benefit from a specialized coach who can assist you with specific deficiencies in your fitness—but not necessarily a personal trainer, who is likely to be more broadly focused on general physical fitness.

The following lists are designed to help prospective trainees determine their level of fitness. If simply performing the basic movements is difficult, a personal trainer is an absolutely invaluable asset.  

Level 1: Novice Competency

A novice trainee ought to be able to properly perform the following exercises:

  • Air squats to parallel or below
  • Push-ups: chest to ground, then full lockout
  • Dead hang pull-up (band assistance allowed)
  • Kettlebell swing, clean & press, snatch, and Turkish get-up
  • Basic barbell competency: bench press, deadlift, back squat, row, overhead press
  • Burpee
  • Plank 1:00
  • Hanging knee raise
  • Run a 5k

Level 2: Intermediate Competency

A healthy adult should be able to properly perform the following exercises:

  • Bodyweight barbell back squat (i.e., your bodyweight loaded on the bar)
  • Deadlift x1.5 bodyweight (conventional)
  • Bench Press 75% bodyweight (women, 50%)
  • 3 unassisted dead-hang pullups
  • 50 unbroken pushups
  • 25 unbroken burpees
  • Hanging L-sit, 1:00
  • Plank 3:00
  • 100 kettlebell snatches in ten minutes at 35lbs
  • Run a 5k in under 30 minutes

 

Level 3: Advanced Competency

An experience athlete should be able to meet the following standards:

  • Squat 2x bodyweight
  • Deadlift 2.5x bodyweight
  • Bench Press 1.5x bodyweight
  • 100 unbroken push-ups
  • 50 unbroken burpees
  • 15 unbroken dead-hang pull-ups
  • 100 kettlebell snatches in 5 minutes at 53lbs
  • Turkish get-up with 75% bodyweight
  • 250 calories in ten minutes on the Assault Airbike
  • 10 strict toes-to-bar
  • Plank 5:00
  • Run a 5k in under 22 minutes

These are not intended to be absolute or immutable standards—simply guidelines to well-rounded athleticism. If you can bench press twice your bodyweight and do 20 dead-hang pull-ups but are unable to squat twice your bodyweight, it might be time to focus on some lower body work. If you're strong but can't meet endurance standards, it may be time to introduce some variation into your strength training. If you can't meet the minimum requirements of properly performing the basic movements that encompass strength and conditioning, it's definitely time to hire a personal trainer.

Mike DoolittleStyrka