In high school, there was one day of the year I dreaded more than any other.
It wasn’t the day of final exams, or even parent-teacher interviews.
It was the day we had to do The Beep Test.
For the sportier types, this multi-stage fitness test was a welcome respite from the monotony of classroom lessons. They got to get up, get out and assert their inborn physical superiority, one sprint at a time.
For those who considered themselves thespians, artists and literature buffs, PE class was an hour of pure brutality. Why did we have to be pulled away from our canvases, our Theatre Studies solos and our Shakespeare texts to do something as pointless as exercise?
My 15-year-old asthmatic self couldn’t understand it. I wasn’t going to become the next Cathy Freeman, so why bother?
Years on, I now understand the importance of maintaining physical fitness. Getting puffed out walking up a flight of stairs isn’t cool anymore. Sure, I still indulge in Double Caramel Ego Magnums, but when I want one, I walk to the shops to get it. Balance.
Thankfully (unless you’re a professional sportsperson) The Beep Test has been left in the past, along with canteen Sunnyboys and that weird crush you had on your Geography teacher.
But if you’re still interested in how fit and/or muscular you really are, there’s a test you can take, and all it requires is a sturdy chair and a timer.
The Chair Test involves timing how long it takes for you to stand up and down from a chair ten times.
It’s a simple and relatively universal way of assessing the strength of your muscles. How fast you can complete the challenge will depend on the strength of your quads and glutes; the biggest muscles in your flesh prison.
The faster, the fitter:
According to the BBC‘s Michael Mosley, men under 35 should be able to complete 10 chair stands in 10 seconds or less. For women under 35, it’s 12 seconds or less.
We in the PEDESTRIAN.TV‘s Melbourne office thought we’d give the test a crack. We’re a relatively sedentary bunch; we sit at our desks nine hours a day, sometimes not even getting up for lunch (gracias, UberEats). Here are the results:
Result: 11 seconds
Young Myles here was the first cab off the rank. As you can see from his bad boy hand gestures, he was unfazed. Or was he…
He had to do the test twice because during the first run he only did 9 stand ups. On his second attempt, he completed the 10 stand ups in 11 seconds. He would like me to note here that he could totally definitely do it in 10 seconds, he just couldn’t this time because he’d already tried the test just before.
He also had some valid questions about the accuracy of this test (what if you have sore knees? What if you’re heaps taller than the chair?), but I reckon he’s just salty his score was above international average.
Result: 9 seconds
I am the author of this piece, and I am living proof that you can go from coming dead last in cross country in year 7 (and subsequently surviving a major asthma attack), to getting a 9 second score on The Chair Test.
Dream, believe and you may achieve a slightly above-average score on a relatively meaningless fitness test, my dudes.
Result: 9 seconds
As you can see in the above GIF, Blair’s technique is quite advanced. The man has clearly been spending some time in the squat rack.
Either that, or he’s been listening to Da’ Dip on repeat and slut dropping in the mirror. I would not put it past him.
Oh, dearest David. On his first attempt at a sit down, he lost his footing and promptly gave up. Props to him for nailing the disappointed-cum-IDGAF look with a relaxed cross-legged finisher. Cool as a cucumber, David.
Result: 8 seconds
Sweet baby Jesus!
Apart from the fact that she looks as if she’s riding an untamed stallion on the loose, Flick squatted everyone under the table. Completing the challenge in just 8 seconds, she comes in a whopping four seconds under average.
All that, and she didn’t even split her jeans.
So there you have it, folks. You got a chair, you got a fitness test.
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