What’s a “Testing Week”?

Many of you have asked about the “Testing Week” headline in the Workout of the Day box to your right. Good! You should be asking.

Because most members here are training for general health and fitness (not competition) we want to make sure you are achieving increased fitness, and what we’ll call “balanced” fitness. So we’re putting in tests that will allow you and us to record data about how you’re performing, that will then inform us where your training needs to go.

Here are some guidelines for balanced fitness that will help you see what where your imbalances lie, and therefore where your training should be focused:

(Click to enlarge)

This might be a slight paradigm shift for some of us. For example, perhaps you’ve been excited to see your deadlift numbers increase to impressive levels. That’s cool. But, if your Back Squat is not also increasing within the ratio laid out above, you might be creating imbalances between your anterior and posterior kinetic chains. Or, if your Shoulder Press to Pull Up ratio is out of whack, you may be putting unnecessary excess strain on parts of your shoulders with all the overhead or dynamic shoulder work we do. Get balanced.

Also keep in mind that your left and right sides should be balanced as well. Is your right arm stronger than your left? Left leg weaker? We need to fix that.

Now, these are general numbers for general people seeking general health and fitness. If you’re a competitive athlete, your sport will dictate the ratios. For example, an Olympic Weightlifter will likely have a higher Front Squat to Back Squat ratio – that’s fine and to be expected and perhaps even desirable.

So, as we continue with this “Testing Week” please keep in mind that this is data collection to steer your programming. If you hit some new PRs, that’s awesome! But check out the ratios above and note where your imbalances lie so you (and we) can focus your upcoming training. We’ll be prompting you to identify those imbalances so we can help you in the process.

Which reminds me, if you’re on this board (in the pic below), please update your numbers! If you’re not on the board, get your name up there and start to write in your 1RMs. This is important data.