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The Benchmark Test; Pushing Your Limits

Training intelligently is vital if you expect regular quantifiable results. Testing your speed, strength, power, endurance and flexibility, provides invaluable information crucial to designing an effective training plan.
First, a myriad of testing scores will become the benchmark of a percentage based phase by phase training program. Elements such as what weight will accompany which repetition range, the number of appropriate sets or circuits and training frequency will be decided upon because of the strength or weakness uncovered that first test day.
In the weight room your testing scores will be translated into a 100% maximum performance score. For example 10 repetitions of 100 lbs is equal to 80% of your maximum potential strength, thus your 1 rep maximum theoretically would be 125 lbs. Use the following set of examples to help you decipher your 1 Rep Maxes:
1 Repetition = 100%
2-3 Repetitions = 95%
4 Repetitions = 90%
6 Repetitions= 85%
10 Repetitions = 80%
On the track and in the pool testing is straight forward and athletes are typically able to test at 100% output. For more comprehensive testing protocols, a V02 Max test, as well as a detailed body fat analysis using a caliper or water displacement tank (if available) is highly recommended.
This brings us to the second reason regular testing is so important; to expose physical imbalances and structural weaknesses. Addressing any obvious imbalances will not only benefit your quality of life immeasurably, but it will help to correct your lifting technique and even allow for exercise alternatives to be found and implemented.
All of this has not touched on the importance of goal setting which will be the topic of another discussion.
In conclusion a healthy regiment of testing both in the gym, on the track and even in the lab will allow you to monitor your progress, and work out any bugs in the program. Also you will be able to pin point weakness, imbalance and injury immediately and correct it before it becomes too serious.
Stay tuned next article to learn how to use your testing scores to design your own sport or goal specific training program.
Yours in Health,

Matt Goreski B.A., PSCE