This Cardio Assessment Day Will Get Your Heart Pumping

A National Guardsman runs a portion of the 12-mile ruck march during the 2018 Georgia Army National Guard Best Warrior competition.
Georgia Army National Guardsman Staff Sgt. Kevin A. D'versa, representing 78th Troop Command, Ellenwood, Ga., runs a portion of the 12-mile ruck march during the 2018 Georgia Army National Guard Best Warrior competition. (Staff Sgt. R.J. Lannom Jr./U.S. Army National Guard photo)

Some days, you need to see just how well your lungs are working for you. Obviously, if you take a run or swim test regularly, you'll be on top of things, but sometimes you still can test in other cardio events just to mark progress. These are great tests of how your endurance training is going, and some are great beginning cardio cycle assessments.

Here are some ideas:

Cardio assessment:

Swim #1: 500-yard swim -- Time:

Swim #2: One-mile swim with fins -- Time:

Run #1, 2, 3: Run 1.5-mile timed run, two-mile timed run or three-mile timed run. Time :

More advanced running tests -- Time:

Navy SEAL: Four-mile timed run -- Time:

Ranger/SF: Five-mile timed run -- Time:

Ruck #1: Three-mile ruck with 40-50 pounds in a backpack.

Ruck #2: Four-mile ruck with 40-50 pounds. Time limit: Under one hour.

Ruck #3:  If you have a foundation of rucking, test the 12-mile ruck time. Under three hours is the goal.

Non-impact options other than swimming

Rowing: 2,000-meter row. How fast can you do it? Can you beat your mile run time? It's very good if you can.

Stationary bike pyramid -- How high can you go on resistance levels if you increase resistance by one level each minute until you no longer can maintain 80 RPM? Then repeat in reverse order. Can you take 30-40 minutes?

Elliptical Tabata intervals -- How many intervals can you do in 20-second sprints and a 10-second easy pace? Can you go longer than 10 minutes? Twenty minutes?

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you're looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to

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