Caught in some eternal flexed arm hang

If you’re a Canadian of a certain vintage, chances are you remember these:

I posted a photo on the socials this morning and these badges are like cilantro. You either loved them, or you hated them. There is no in between.

I remember doing these tests. I also remember Hal and Joanne McLeod’s Body Break! But that’s because it was on CBC, one of the 3 channels we had. I digress.

I never achieved that elusive black and red badge. In elementary school, I was about 3ft tall and weighed 80 pounds soaking wet. I did not enjoy exercise. My gym teacher, Roger, did everything he could think of to help me. Ultimately, I failed on the running part. Seriously.

Anyway. Clearly I’ve let it go and I really want to allow my children to experience this delightful challenge. Maybe, they too can be scarred for life!

The Canada Fitness Test was implemented in elementary schools nationwide in the 70s and 80s. To encourage “physical fitness” (and ultimately discontinued because it discouraged too many participants), it was based on this:

Fun fact: in 1979, they replaced the notorious flexed arm hang with a push up. I’m not super old but I still remember the stupid flexed arm hang. Maybe Roger didn’t get the memo.

Here are some delightful illustrations to help explain what the test was made of. To achieve “excellence”, you needed 95% in all 6 challenges.

Bust our your onesies and short shorts!

Push Ups

It helps to have someone right in front of you smacking your shoulders.

Do as many as you can, no time limit.

Shuttle Run

Ensure that you completely collapse at the end.

Test: Place 1 wooden block at one end, 2 wooden blocks at the other end, 10m apart. Start lying down with your forehead pressed into the gravel (fun!), run to the other side, pick up a block, run back, drop the block, pick up the other one, run back aaaaand time!

Partial Curl-Ups

I’m pretty sure these are no longer recommended. By anyone. 

Plus, this one requires a metronome.

But if you’re game, do them at a beat of “3 seconds per movement” for a max number.

Standing Long Jump

I’m quite fond of the rainbow shooting out of her butt. That’s what gives her the oomph.

The only place I ever long jump is into bed to avoid sharp cat claws hidden beneath it.

So yeah, measure the distance between take-off and landing. Feet hip width apart seems to be key.

50m run

Unclear what’s happening in pose #2.

This one made sure to bold that runner had to sprint past the line. I dunno. Whatever. Break out your stop watch.

Endurance run

This is my favourite. She’s like, “C’mon. Fuck. I’m done. WAIT! I’ll prance. Ok fine. I’ll do it but I won’t like it.”

Guidelines indicate that the endurance run must be executed around 50 square meters, and to ensure everyone has running shoes. And then run around said box for between 1600-2400m. I’m dizzy already.

Here’s how many laps you had to run around that dumb square:

God, no wonder so many kids hated this.

Here’s how you measured up. I tried to find the scoring for kids under 12, but no such luck. Y’all are smart, you can probably figure it out. Just click on each one to enlarge.

So there you go. My contribution to your homeschooling. I’m going to see if I can achieve bronze, for old times’ sake.

Might even throw in a flexed arm hang for kicks.


If you guys really want to dig into the descriptions, click here.


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