Fitnessgram 2nd & 3rd Grade


Grades 2 and 3

The second and third grade fitness test is an introduction to the health-related components of fitness.  These components include cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility and body composition.  These components are crucial in staying healthy and helping to reduce the risk of many diseases such as diabetes, certain types of cancers and heart disease.  
For each of the areas of fitness, a test is performed by each student to determine their strength in each component.  These particular tests were designed to enforce proper technique of certain exercises and also to promote personal health rather than competition among students.  Students will receive a criterion-based computer analysis of their test results.  This analysis will go home with their report cards.  The only area that does not have criteria set (for 2nd and 3rd grade only) is the PACER test.  The tests are listed below.
Fitness Component: Cardiovascular Endurance

Test:  PACER

          The Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run is a multistage fitness test adapted from the 20 meter shuttle run test.  The test is progressive; it is easy at the beginning and gets harder each stage.  Set to music, this test is a valid, fun alternative to the customary distance run test for measuring aerobic capacity.  The PACER is recommended for all ages.  The children have a good time while learning how to pace. (Fitnessgram, 1999)  The students get several practice tries before taking the actual test.  The test distance is shortened to 15 meters for the 2nd and 3rd grade (compared to the 4th and 5th grade: 20M), so the students can feel a sense of achievement when taking the test.  There are no standards set for 2nd and 3rd grade, emphasis is placed on fun, learning how to pace and learning about cardiovascular endurance.
Fitness Component:  Muscular Strength and Endurance

Test:  Flexed Arm Hang and Curl-ups

          The students learn the proper way to perform exercises that improve their strength and muscular endurance.  When performing these exercises, the students are also taught the muscles being used for each different exercise.  Some type of strength training is incorporated into each and every lesson throughout the year.  
        The Flexed Arm Hang is performed on a chin-up bar and the student tries to hold their chin above the bar, palms facing away from them, for as long as they can. This is a challenging test and scores can range from 0 to 75 seconds.
          The Curl-up Test is performed with a partner.  Each performer has his/her arms straight over their head with their partner holding their feet.  Knees are bent to prevent lower back injuries and arms must come straight over the top of the performer's head and touch their wrists to the tops of their knees.  Students only curl-up half way (curl-up vs. sit-up) to keep stress on the abdominal muscles the entire test time rather than the hip flexors.  This technique allows for a more accurate measure of abdominal strength and endurance. The test is performed to a slow cadence to eliminate the help of momentum.
Fitness Component:  Flexibility

Flexibility is incorporated into each Physical Education class.  It is an important part of the students warm-up to prevent injury and improve performance.

Test:  Shoulder Stretch  The shoulder stretch test is a simple test of upper body flexibility.  It is useful in educating the students about the importance of flexibility in all areas of the body.  The student reaches with the right hand over the right shoulder and down the back as if to pull up a zipper.  At the same time she/he places her/his left hand behind her back and reaches up, trying to touch the fingers of the right hand.  This is also done with the opposite hand.

Test:  Back Saver Sit and Reach       The Back Saver Sit and Reach is used to measure hamstring and lower back flexibility.  It is performed one leg at a time to prevent back injuries and to measure left and right side flexibility. 
Test:  Trunk Lift  The Trunk Lift measures abdominal flexibility and lower back strength, both vital for core strength and posture.  The student lies face down on a mat with their hands under their quadriceps and slowly raises their trunk off the ground.  Students may only lift up to 12 inches off the ground to avoid injury from hyperextension.