A great time to test
Before we begin, we’d like to apologise to all of those that can’t yet get their bodies back into the gym because of COVID related restrictions. Nonetheless, this is worth having a read as it could get you thinking about returning effectively when your gym finally does open up.
Lucky enough for most of Australia, we have been given the green light to get training, in the gym again (to a certain extent).
What is going to be interesting to see is all the new year's resolutioners that threw their resolution out the window at the end of march could now be the “post covid resolutioners”. Some might even be considering making “the back end of 2020 their year”...?
If this is you, or you’re just keen to get back to training and normality (we won’t judge) we suggest that before you jump in and try and get yourself fitter than you have ever been you take a wee bit of time to get your head around where you’re at - particularly post COVID and a potentially serious amount of detraining.
How should you do this?
Test yourselves folks.
What should you test?
Well this depends on what you’d like to achieve. For us, most of our members want to be stronger, faster, fitter, leaner and more flexible.
Yes, it is wishful thinking.
Healthily generating all those results at once quickly (over 6 weeks) is nearly impossible - particularly if you are well trained (think, diminishing returns).
So we’re taking the approach of testing 3 key areas as a base line and then encouraging the individual to pursue their preferred marker first (sometimes it compliments the other).
Test 1 - Strength and Power
With this test, it is crucial that safety is considered first.
If you haven’t been under a heavy barbell for 8 weeks, we’d suggest you don’t test any RM (1,3,5 or 10) unless you have a number of years experience in strength training.
For us, we don’t see the need in taking such risks with our members.
Instead we are using our force plates (thanks Vald Performance) to test counter movement jump heights as this will give us a base line of force and power.
If you don’t have the luxury of using a force plate, a velocity based test (they tend to relate to your force production which relates to your strength) is recommended such as a standing broad jump test.
Although they are not quite strength specific, the relationship between strength and power is pretty strong and we’d rather not compromise the safety of our potentially detrained members or you compromise the safety of yourself...
Test 2 - Strength Endurance
Without the ability to lift heavy things the majority of you have had to revert to your body weight (and maybe some light household items) as a solution. What this has probably forced you to do is increase your rep ranges so you feel some sort of effect during your at home workouts.
A likely improvement in your strength endurance. So why not test it?
All though we came across as a nice bunch in the strength/power test, we are looking forward to using the strength endurance test to remind our members that sometimes you just have to get uncomfortable to find the truth.
Maximal chin ups is our go to strength endurance as setting the parameters is easy - full lock out of the arms, sternum to contact the bar for the rep to count and NO swinging.
If you can’t manage more than two that defeats the purpose of strength endurance, but it is easily fixed by a maximal inverted row test on gymnastic rings.
We’d suggest you do the same - it’s a great way to put things in perspective.
Test 3 - 1.2km Time Trial (Bronco)
We are fortunate enough to have worked a lot with rugby players. From rugby sevens, rugby league, womens, mens, elite, semi professional to social players, the sport requires you to have a comprehensive level of anaerobic and aerobic fitness.
One of the marquee tests used in the modern game at an elite level across both major codes (Union and league) is the 1.2km time trial, commonly known as The Bronco.
The test involves up and back returns of 20, 40 and 60m distances repeated 5 times.
This test sits right on the threshold of lactic (anaerobic) and aerobic energy systems and the stop start nature makes it grueling.
It appears as though running was the most popular (this is based on instagram and facebook visits, not hard science) form of exercise during isolation and gym lock down so why not check out where you landed?
Decent results for a male is anything under 4:30 and female 4:50.
Not a fan of running? Well then a 2km row on an ergo will also give you a similar idea of where you might be!
So there you have it.
Testing doesn’t have to be advanced or incredibly technical. It is a useful way to get your head around where you are and a great way to lay a platform to keep you motivated to train once gyms are up and running and life seems to be back to normal.