The Cooper Institute

Founded in 1970 by the "Father of Aerobics"
Kenneth H. Cooper MD, MPH



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Muscular Strength, Endurance, and Flexibility

Test components for the musculoskeletal system are broken down into three primary areas: muscular strength, muscular endurance and flexibility. FitnessGram® tests these three areas to assess the functional health status of the musculoskeletal system.

  • Muscular strength is the maximal force your muscles can exert in a single effort.
  • Muscular endurance is the ability to sustain, or repeat muscular activity, over time.
  • Flexibility describes the range of motion of muscles at the joint.

FitnessGram recommends tests of the upper body and the abdominal/trunk areas to assess musculoskeletal fitness because of their relationship to activities of daily living, good posture, and back health.

FitnessGram provides seven tests to assess musculoskeletal fitness:

  • Abdominal Strength & Endurance
    • Curl-Up
  • Trunk Extensor Strength & Flexibility
    • Trunk Lift
  • Upper Body Strength & Endurance
    • 90° Push-Up
    • Modified Pull-Up
    • Flexed Arm Hang
  • Flexibility
    • Back-Saver Sit and Reach
    • Shoulder Stretch

Musculoskeletal fitness helps an individual perform daily activities more easily, reduces the risk of injury, and improves abdominal and back health. Most important, helping children and youth be aware of the status of their muscular strength, endurance and flexibility can carry forward into adulthood, preventing health concerns and improving quality of life.