Home Fitness Tests

Body Size & Composition

The main aim of fitness training for many people is to modify body composition, such as to increase muscle mass or decrease body fat, so it is important to monitor these measures. Additionally, changes in body composition can also have an effect on the results of the physical tests.

This test includes measures of body size and calculations to determine body composition. Measuring height and weight is important for the interpretation of body composition changes due to fitness training. Girths are circumference measures at standard anatomical sites around the body and can be used for monitoring changes in muscle mass and fat levels.

This is one of the 10 tests included in the Home Fitness Test Manual. See the list of other Fitness Tests you can do at home.

Equipment Needed (see more about equipment)

  • Wall - for standing up against
  • Scales - bathroom type weight scales.
  • Cloth Tape - measuring tape like used for sewing.
  • Marker Pen - for indicating landmarks on the skin

Measuring Body Weight

Shoes and excess clothing should be removed. Sand on the scale with minimal movement with hands by your side. To improve reliability, measure body weight in the morning after voiding the bladder and before breakfast. Record the time of day and amount of clothing so that this can be repeated next time. Record the weight.

measuring resting pulse heart rate

Measuring Height

Remove your shoes. Stand with your back against a wall, facing directly ahead with your feet together. Heels, buttocks and upper back should all be in contact with the wall. Mark the wall at the point equal to the highest point of the head. Placing a book on your head and against the wall can help mark your height. Measure the distance from the floor to this point.

measuring height

Measuring Girths

For all girth measurements any clothing over the site should be removed if possible to make sure measuring tape is positioned correctly and that the correct circumference is determined. When recording, you need to make sure the tape is not too tight or too loose, is lying flat on the skin, and is horizontal.

Waist Girth

The waist measurement is taken at the narrowest waist level, or if this is not clear, take the measurement at the mid-point between the lowest rib and the top of the hip bone. If you are unsure if this measurement was taken at the narrowest level, take several measurements at different levels and record the smallest measurement.

waist girth

Hip Girth

The hip girth measurement is taken over minimal clothing, at the level of the greatest protrusion of the gluteal muscles (buttocks). Make sure you are standing erect with your weight evenly distributed on both feet and legs slightly apart - making sure not tense the gluteal muscles.

hip girth

Chest Girth

The chest girth measure is taken at the level of the middle of the sternum (breast-bone), with the tape passing under the arms. After the tape is in position, the arms should be relaxed by the side, and the measurement taken at the end of a normal exhalation.

chest girth

Thigh Girth

Take this measurement on the right thigh. First measure and mark the level of the mid-point of the thigh. Place your foot on a chair, and mark the mid-point of a line running between the hip crease and the tip of the knee. With the leg remaining resting on the chair, measure the thigh circumference at the level marked.

thigh girth


Body Mass Index

Body Mass Index or BMI is calculated by dividing your weight by your height squared. Metric units are used, so you may need to convert them first. Follow the calculations steps below. When done, transfer your results to the recording and rating sheet. Generally, the higher the BMI score the more overweight you are. 

If not already, convert weight to kgs (1 kg = 2.2 lbs) and height in inches to meters (1 m = 39.37 inches)

weight in lbs ÷ 2.2 = __________ kg
height in inches ÷ 39.37 = __________ meters

get the square of the height (in meters)
height² = height x height = __________

BMI = weight ÷ height²
= __________ ÷ __________
= __________


Waist:Hip Ratio

The waist to hip ratio (WHR) measurement has been shown to be related to the risk of coronary heart disease. Once the waist and girth measures have been collected, it requires only a simple calculation of the waist girth divided by the hip girth. As this calculation is a ratio measure, it is only important that both measures are in the same measurement units (cm, meters, inches), no conversion is required.

WHR = waist girth ÷ hip girth

= __________ ÷ __________

= __________



Calculate your BMI and WHR scores by following the instructions above. Record these figures in addition to the results for height, weight.

Girth measurements will be affected by changes in muscle mass and the amount of body fat. You can use these measures to monitor changes in these parameters, though on their own it is not easy to determine if the changes are due to fat storage or muscle mass changes.

Use girth values in conjunction with the changes in body weight to interpret the results.

If you have finished growing, your height and other physical dimensions are not expected to change—you will have to make the most of what you have. Dieting and exercise can help to decrease body fat, and specific exercises can be tailored to increase muscle mass.

Data Recording Sheet

data recording sheet

a page for recording all of your results

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Rating Scale

rating scale

a unique rating scale for use with the home fitness test.

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Why Test?

Regular testing is important to measure fitness levels and monitor changes in fitness.

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What to Test

There are a large number of fitness tests, so it is important to select the most apporopriate test for your sport or fitness level.

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How to Test

It is important to follow standard procedures. You need a guide.

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