Trifocus Fitness Academy - cardio-respiratory fitness

What Is a Cardio-Respiratory Fitness Assessment?

A cardio-respiratory fitness assessment involves determining how efficiently an athlete’s cardio-respiratory system functions and is a good indicator of how physically fit they are. This assessment is all about endurance, or how well your heart, lungs and muscles work in conjunction while exercising over a specific time period. Let’s take a look at why these assessments are so important, a few types commonly used by personal trainers and exercises to improve a client’s cardio-respiratory fitness:

What is involved with cardio-respiratory assessments?

The Need for Cardio-Respiratory Tests

Personal trainers are contacted by a number of potential clients for a range of reasons. From losing weight and getting in shape, to preparing for an upcoming sports event, cardio-respiratory exercises will most probably play a role in a client’s fitness programme. Therefore, fitness assessments of this nature are essential to establish a baseline in terms of the client’s cardiovascular fitness.

This gives the personal trainer a starting point, and they can strategise the fitness and exercises that are needed to help the client achieve their goal. The last thing a personal trainer wants is for their client to get injured or burnt-out within the first week of training due to tackling a cardio-respiratory task that is above their capability.

Types of Cardio-Respiratory Assessments

Subject to the fitness level of the client, there are a bunch of cardio-respiratory tests a trainer can utilise to establish fitness levels. These include:

  1. The Cooper 12-minute Test

    Often used as part of the Navy Physical Readiness Test, the Cooper 12-minute test has clients run as far as they can in 12 minutes. This needs to be run at a steady pace, and fitness is determined based on how far the test subject can run in the given time.

  2. The 2.4 km Run Test

    Contrary to the 12-minute test, where the time is set and distance run is measured, the 2.4 km run test has test subjects run a total of 2.4 km. Fitness is determined based on the time taken to run the given distance.

  3. The Multistage Beep Test

    The beep test is used extensively in many contexts, for people of all ages and fitness levels. The principle is that the test subject must do 20-metre shuttle runs in time with auditory beeps. Time between the beeps decreases over time, and fitness is tested based on how many beeps you can accomplish.

Trifocus Fitness Academy - cardio-respiratory fitness

Exercises to Improve Cardio-Respiratory Fitness

Looking for exercises to improve cardio-respiratory endurance without needing a treadmill or stationary bike? Here are 4 cardio exercises anyone can try at home (courtesy of

Jumping jacks

  1. Stand up straight. Ensure that your feet close together and your arms by your sides.
  2. Jump your feet away from each other as you raise your arms over your head.
  3. Jump back to the position that you started and repeat this movement.

Run and jump in place

  1. Jog in place.
  2. While carrying on jogging in place, lift up your knees as high as they’ll go.
  3. Next, begin to bring your feet back and up as though you want to touch your bum.

*Do the above steps for 30 seconds each

Standing side hops

  1. Stand up straight with your feet close together.
  2. Jump your feet sideways so that your stance is wider than your hips.
  3. Squat in your current position.
  4. Jump back so that you’re standing with your feet together. Perform a squat in this position.
  5. Continue this movement.

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