Workout Tips

Test Your Fitness With These Strength Benchmarks

Gauge your performance with these assessments that test your flexibility and strength.

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Test Your Fitness With These Strength Benchmarks

Test Your Strength

The Move: Front Squat

Standards:

            Work needed: 0.5-0.75 x bodyweight
            Average: 0.75-1.0 x bodyweight
            Above Average: 1.0-1.5 x bodyweight
            Excellent: 1.5-2.0 x bodyweight

Improve Your Score: The front squat combines the unique combination of strength and flexibility to successfully perform the lift. To improve your performance, focus on mastering upper body flexibility to keep the bar in the proper place throughout the exercise. Build flexibility in the lats and forearms with stretching and foam rolling. Improve range of motion in the hips with hip flexor stretching and deep squats. To build strength in the front squat, start with high repetitions to master form and flexibility before working down to lower rep ranges after a few weeks. Once a week, implement front squat box squats into your routine to increase power production in the lower body.

The Move: Pull-up

Standards:

            Work needed: 0-5 with bodyweight
            Average: 6-10 with bodyweight
            Above Average: 10-15 with bodyweight
            Excellent: 15+ with bodyweight

Improve Your Score: In order to boost your numbers, you have to work multiple pull-up variations into your routine. Pick three days a week to focus on your pulling power. One day should be dedicated to lower rep strength work including sets of three to five utilizing additional load if necessary. Another day should incorporate higher volume including sets of 8-10. A final day should focus on form and technique using a variety of grips but stopping before failure.

The Move: Overhead Press

Standards:

            Work needed: 0.5-0.7 x bodyweight
            Average: 0.7-0.9 x bodyweight
            Above Average: 0.9-1.1 x bodyweight
            Excellent: 1.1-1.3 x bodyweight

Improve Your Score: In order to safely master the overhead press, lifters should first ensure that they have the appropriate flexibility to perform the movement correctly and minimize chance of injury. This includes completing the wall angel mentioned above and being able to extend the arms fully overhead without compensating at the lower back. To improve strength, work the overhead press into your workout frequently (2-3x per week) even simply as just a warm-up exercise to groove the movement for maximum efficiency. Work overhead two times a week including a power session and a strength-focused workout. For the power workout, utilize the push press to build total body explosiveness and cause the upper body to adapt to heavier loads. On the strength session, utilize additional tools like bands and pins to emphasize different portions of the movement. Alternate weeks of using bands and chains to change the difficulty of the movement with pins, which emphasize the top (lock-out) portion.

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