Tag Archives: testing

Level Zero?

How would you define the following (in a fitness sense).
Beginners (novice)
Intermediates (amateur)
Advanced (elite)
Would you personally classify each by the abilities one may possess to be deemed worthy of said placing in this hierarchy, perhaps time served or level of progress.
You may see it as a combination of all of the above.
To me it’s down to these three simple qualities:
  • Body Composition
  • Base Strength
  • Athletic Ability (skill in their sport/thing)
These are my chosen markers due to their basic objectivity, just look at all the people who’ve trained for 10+ years and have achieved very little, they’re beginners in my eyes, yet on paper you’d think these people to be training sages.
While entirely arbitrary why don’t we look at these a little more for some context because i know some people will get butt hurt because it’s 2020 and the world is still hyper sensitive.
Body Composition:
Beginner (novice) – low levels of LBM in retaliation to the individuals total mass with potentially high or low levels of fat mass because skinny fat is totally a thing, arguably the worse thing to be in my ignorant opinion, that’s just me though.
Basically they don’t look like stye train.
Intermediate (amateur) – reasonable levels of LBM in relation to the individuals total mass, often these people have lower levels of fat mass as well, not always, just often.

Essentially they look like they’ve bumped a weight or two and in fact train the way they claim as oppose to simply talking about it.

Advanced (elite) – high level of LBM, often reasonably low levels of fat mass, not always just often. At a glance you’d stop and think, they look strong, and if measured accurately this would be confirmed due to high LBM.

Yep, these are the people many look up to in awe of.

Base Strength:
Rather dependent on what the person trains for, however as an arbitrary guide I base this off of what they can pick up and put overhead in a strict press.
Beginner (novice) – Less then 3/4 total bodyweight
Intermediate (amateur) – Their current total bodyweight
Advanced (elite) – 1.25x bodyweight or more
Why pressing overhead you ask?
It’s because it keeps people honest, and pressing overhead often reveals a multitude of sins and gaps in someones structure, stability and mobility as well.
Athletic Ability:
As with strength it will come down to the specificity of what they do.
If we take Running as an example, just because why not make it relatable to the gen-pop.
Beginner (novice) – 10min (or more) average mile
Intermediate (amateur) – 8min average mile
Advanced (elite) – 6min (or less) average mile
Of course each of the above will come down to the person we are looking at, yet even using the example above you’d find some decent trends in how well to do a person is in fitness.
Anyway, how do you see yourself fin regards to fitness?
Beginner, intermediate or advanced?
Why?
Why not, it’s just bit of fun and gets people thinking, plus we also need to remember that even if we are advanced in some things we may be absolute noobs in another.
After all, isn’t life about climbing as many mountains as possible and achieving a lot of different things, or is it just me who thinks that way?
Please do share your thoughts below.

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1,2,3,4,5,4,3,2,1

Had this little gem fly in to my head on a whim, thought you might enjoy it.
 
Load up 80% for whatever lift you desire.
 
Preform 1 rep, rest 30 seconds.
Preform 2 reps, rest 60 seconds.
Preform 3 reps, rest 90 seconds.
Preform 4 reps, rest 120 seconds.
Preform 5 reps, rest 90 seconds.
Preform 4 reps, rest 60 seconds.
Preform 2 reps, rest 30 seconds.
Perform 1 rep, move on to something else.
 
Keeping the load static in the ascending 5 is a good idea, when you start coming back down towards 1 rep again you can choose to lighten the load or keep it static.
 
This is only 25 reps, however it would be 25 good reps.
 
Once you’ve done this you can do one or two additional movements, I’d set it up like this:
 
Main lift – as above
Secondary lift – 3-6×6-8 – 60 sec rest between sets
Accessory lift – 2-3xfail – 30-60 sec rest between sets
^^ You can of course tweak these for varied goals such as fat loss for example.
 
The secondary lift an antagonist to the first for balance or an agonist to the first for strength, the accessory lift can be a weak point focus and hammered for pump.
 
Nice and simple.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Training session structure 101

Don’t get your hopes up, this is nothing special 😂
 
If anything I hope it will give you a better idea/guide of what makes for an easily repeatable session set up and movement pairs.
 
– W/U – Arbitrary movement work to help you RAMP*
– Skill – Lift Practice, say Bent Press or Snatch
– Strength Section – For Hypertrophy, Strength etc
– Conditioning Section – Accessory work or a Finisher
– C/D – Standard cool down and flexibility development
 
Pretty simple, not gospel, just useful for some to know.
 
I would advise that you rotate your training days so that you have a mixture of Hard-Medium-Easy sessions.
 
Often an easy session with precede or follow a heavy session, that is just good common sense and planning, that way the majority of your training will be in the medium effort range, just right for making progress.
 
As for pairing things together, these work well:
 
– Push, Hinge, Loaded Carries
– Pull, Squat, Loaded Carries
– Full Body Lifts, Carries
– Sprinting Endeavours & Movement
 
The above offers a good way to set things up for super sets, tri-sets, circuits and so on.
 
As for sets and reps here are the guidelines I follow for myself:
 
– 90%+ lifts 10 reps total
– 70-80% lifts 50-75 reps total
– <60% lifts 75-250 reps total
 
Training 2-7 times per week following the above works quite nicely, just make sure you cover each movement pattern (push, pull, squat etc) equally for general GPP, if you need to add in SPP then hire a coach.
 
Use the above well, it might just make putting training programs tother easier than you currently find it.
 
Enjoy,
Ross
 
*Raise the pulse, Acclimatise to required movement patterns , Mobilise joints, Potentiate the muscles you’re about to use.
 
**The ‘A’ commonly stands for “Activate the muscles” I just don’t like the term so I changed it.

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Testing for the experienced

“If you’re not assessing you’re guessing”

A good quote many would benefit from remembering.

When it comes to programming any form of training there is a large amount of people that do it blind.

This means they jump in head first without first assessing the basic strength, ability or condition of their trainees, it’s a shocking state of affairs.

While you may indeed get away with this if your clients are exclusively bodybuilders, this sort of behaviour won’t cut it with people who are interested in performance or strength. The chances of success are about the same as hitting a fish in a barrel with no fish in it.

So what tests do you have?

  • RM Test (squat, bench, deadlift are the classics)
  • Vo2 Max Test (1.5 mile run for example is often used)
  • ROM Testing (movement/flexibility can be FMS or other)

That’s essentially it for most people, and something all coaches/trainers should do, yet many don’t.

You literally have endless tests you can perform, however they will differ depending on the overall goal of the client.

If you’re looking at some options I will share with you what I use (keep in mind most people I see are after strength and/or performance progress).

RM Test – 1,3 or 5 reps

  • Squat
  • Power Clean
  • Press or Push Press (goal dependent)
  • Weighted Chin with Half Body Weight
  • Farmers Walk with Body Weight
  • Standing Broad Jump

The above give a good gauge of where the athlete is in regards to relative strength/power (Say I’m working with a sprinter, ideally they are hitting a 2xBW squat for 5 and 1.5xBW on the power clean, meaning they have optimal lower body strength/power)

Vo2 Test – Sport Specific

  • Example: 40 yard dash
  • Example: Watt Bike Test
  • Example: 2k Row

ROM Test

  • FMS (functional Movement Screen)

That’s essentially it.

This gives me a good idea of a persons level of strength, power, fitness and overall movement capabilities.

While a little different than what you may need, it’s worth remembering that having these is essential for good programming and progress.

Always assess, never guess.

Enjoy, Ross.

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Some simple tests to try

Movement.
 
It’s kind of really popular now.
 
Like really popular.
 
However before you can move on to all the fancy stuff, form a lifters perspective, can you do the basics?
 
Squat-Hinge-Push-Pull-Brace
 
Most think they can
 
The truth is many can’t
 
Here is a simple yet effective movement screen I use with clients to assess their ability and see what we need to work on.
 
My basic movement screen is as follows:
 
– Standing on 1 Leg (eyes open, then closed)
– Goblet Squat
– BW Hinge (double leg & single leg)
– Press Up
– Bat Wing
– Floor or Wall Angle
– Plank
 
What do the above actually assess or do?
 
Let’s take a look.
 
Standing on 1 Leg (eyes open, then closed): Aim for 30 seconds without any movement with your eyes closed.
 
Balance/proprioception/posture 
 
Goblet Squat: Aim for a full ROM with no upper thoracic collapse.
 
The ability to stay braced and maintain upper thoracic extension/stability while achieving a full flexion of the hip/knee, it also highlights ankle/foot stability/mobility issues (weigh shifting, heels lifting etc)
 
– BW Hinge ( start with double leg & then single leg): Aim for a full hip hinge while maintaining solid posture, no rounding or loss of balance.
 
Full hip hinge while maintaining core bracing, natural posture, proprioception and stability.
 
– Press Up: Aim for full press-up with no break in form (elbows tight to sides, bum pinched.
 
Bracing, posture, while moving through time and space in a pressing fashion, full ROM through elbow flexion and also control of upper back (scapula) retraction/activation.
 
– Bat Wing: Aim for full retraction of shoulder blades and upper back contraction – do this against a wall.
 
Upper back control, scapula retraction and full ROM, plus bracing and good posture throughout the movement.
 
– Floor or Wall Angle: Aim to get your arms fully extended overhead with no change in your posture (excessive back arching).
 
Upper thoracic ROM, shoulder ROM, stiffness in lats/lack of core bracing.
 
– Plank: Aim to hold a solid position from head to toe,no sagging.
 
Core Bracing and posture consistency.
 
The above tests are an overall assessment to see if the person doing them can control their body correctly and move through time & space without any issue.
 
A lot of people struggle with these basic movements and worst of all ignore them, opting to go for more advanced movements that they’re just not ready for.
 
Basically building on disfunction.
 
Think of it like building a house, you wouldn’t do it if the foundations were crap of the area was known for subsidence, that’s just a recipe for disaster.
 
Now from an enjoyment stand point the train that these styles of assessment will require the client to do can seem very boring and basic, especially when we live in a world that demands MORE MORE MORE.
 
A lot of people fall in to the trap of wanting the fancy fun things to do and while there is nothing wrong with this it can cause a lot of issues later down the line.
 
For example:
 
Plyometrics (jump training).
 
Is it fun?
 
Hell yes.
 
Is it safe?
 
Yes, IF you have correct movement patterns and the strength/stability to perform the movements correctly, if you can’t hen it will lead to injury, especially in the knee, trust me I’ve seen it.
 
Did you know according to the research done by Prof Yuri Verkhoshansky, to do basic low level jump training you should be able to squat your bodyweight for solid reps – that’s bodyweight on a bar by the way.
 
For Depth Jumps and other more advanced techniques the recommendations are up to 2xBW on the bar, not many can do that.
 
^^ You will find this info in the book Super Training & also The Science & Practice of Strength Training if memory serves me correctly.
 
Keeping this in mind.
 
How many people do you know who do training that is far lack of a better term, way beyond their pay grade, a fair few I’d imagine. 
 
I know a few and I have even done it myself in the past, injury was my reward because like all competitive people I did too much of what I wasn’t ready for.
 
Building a solid and wide foundation will allow you to hit a higher peak.
 
Yes it may be a tad dull at the start, it can also be hard to hear, however it’s sometimes necessary.
 
Take a look at your own movements and patterns, are they solid or could they do with some improvement?
 
Truing hard and stay safe
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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