3/02/2014 2:13pm, #1
Tests of Physical Might and Virility
I remember in school every year we had to take a physical fitness test covering basic aerobic ability, strength, and flexibility. I always nailed it aside from one specific stretch I could never achieve, which was connecting my fingers across my back over my left shoulder. The pacer test and its lively fitness music always compensated for my sorrow, though:
I'm not sure how passing the same measly test we've been taking since kindergarten could compensate for us sitting on our asses for 90% of the day. Nonetheless, thinking about this has inspired me to check out what other physical tests are out there that might actually be worth taking.
Navy SEAL test:
PST Event Minimum Standards Competitive Standards 500 Yard Swim 12:30 8 Minutes Pushups 50 80-100 Sit-ups 50 80-100 Pull-ups 10 15-20 1.5 Mile Timed Run 10:30 9-10 Minutes
Ken Shamrock's Lion's Den tryout test:
- 500 squats
- 200 push ups
- 200 sit ups
- 1.5-mile (2.4 km) run
- Repeated runs up and down bleacher steps
- Bear-crawls up steep hills
- Lugging heavy barrels of water and sand bags up steep hills
- Pull-ups until failure
10 Standards for Assessing Your Fitness Level (Men's Health):
- Bench 1.5 Times Your Body Weight
- Run 1.5 Miles in 10 Minutes
- Touch the Rim (Vertical Leap)
- Leg-Press 2.25 Times Your Weight
- Swim 700 Yards in 12 Minutes
- Do 40 Pushups
- Measure Up (Hip and Waist Circumference)
- Run 300 Yards Sub 1 Minute
- Touch Your Toes
- Toss a Basketball 75 Feet Kneeling
What do youse guys have?
3/03/2014 6:41pm, #2
I don't have any other tests to add to this, but maybe we could throw together a Bullshido Fit Test (BFT). Members could post a video of them completing the challenge and possibly get a tag, or at least bragging rights. It could be a single test, SEAL type tet with a minimum and competitive bracket, or 3-tiered test (bronze, silver, gold).
The minimum might look like this:
1.5xBW BB Squat
Box Jumps (not sure how to judge this)
1.5 mi Run 11:30min
Maybe I'm bored, maybe I think real good-like.
3/04/2014 9:06am, #3
Let's get this out of the way: any benchmarking methodology is going to be prone to gaming. All benchmarking methodologies are incomplete because "fitness" is not an objective measure, but rather always appears in the form "fitness for ____": fitness for judo, fitness for CrossFit, fitness for powerlifting, fitness for not getting heart disease. And these fitnesses vary person to person, so what's good for Jane might not be good for John, and what's good for John might cause Bob to pull a hamstring.
I have a set of standards for myself that are gathered from what I can achieve with a medium degree of effort over several months. My favorite method of finding good goals is to ask the various "pure" sports:
- Powerlifting (pure strength)
- Olympic lifting (pure power)
- Track (pure...well, impure power, endurance, etc)
- CrossFit (pure muscle endurance adulterated by a bunch of BS)
- Gymnastics (pure muscle control)
- Medical science (pure biology--as in, what are the proper ranges of motion for the shoulder, hip, etc)
I grab from those disciplines as I see fit. I dislike benching but from powerlifting I take the squat and deadlift, though I modify the squat to be high-bar or even a front squat these days. I am still working on my overhead mobility and I don't want to do sport-specific movements so Oly lifting, for me, for the purposes of benchmarking, is just the power clean and working towards an overhead squat. I keep track of my mile run and 5k times, and if I had an easy way to track my 40m and 100m dashes I would. I do a few CrossFit 'girl' WODs occasionally and count them as benchmark metcons along with a bunch of Ross Enamait's and Catalyst Athletics' conditioning workouts. I count handstand pushups and muscle-ups (as well as their constituent parts, pull-ups and dips) as gymnastics goals. I check my hip, elbow, and shoulder ROMs against the physical therapy literature and I keep track of whether I can touch my toes and so forth. To that list I also add box jumps and a smattering of things I just expect myself to be able to do, like rope climbs, kettlebell work, and so on.
I think that martial arts instructors should use some sort of similar list to screen students for competition. The standards should be quite low--squat bodyweight, run a mile under 8:00, that kind of stuff. I don't think comprehensive testing is useful because the standards very quickly get very complex and demanding.
So basically, the tests we should be taking are essentially identical to the novice competitive level of ability for a variety of semi-pure sports. The Pareto principle applies: you get the majority of results with your initial push of effort for each physical culture, with diminishing returns as you get better and better at each specialized discipline.
I also think sit-ups are a dumb thing to test.
3/04/2014 9:13am, #4
Oh, another thing, related to my first point. Unless the goal is sports performance, one should never teach to the test. For instance, if the goal is strength, then use a rational general strength training program that incorporates the power lifts (squat/bench/deadlift) or similar exercises to attain strength. Don't get tricked into hyperspecialized training for those lifts, rather than strength.
The same goes for, say, Ken Shamrock's Lion's Den test. If you look at that and say, "wow, someone who can do that is a badass!" and then replicate the *test* as your *training*, then you've gone terribly wrong. The training should not be the test. The training should not be specific to the test. The training should make you good at all things, or all the things that matter, which will include the test. If you just do the Lion's Den workout five times a week, then congratulations you're good at that workout but you missed out on maximally improving the attributes that the test is intended to measure. A rational strength and conditioning program would achieve better results than aping the test itself.
3/04/2014 11:21am, #5
Ah, I see I was trying to oversimplify things.
And I certainly didn't mean to imply that one should train the test to complete the test, just that these might be some criteria to test for, covering a few different ranges of fitness (explosive power, strength, cardio) that would be beneficial to most full-contact martial artists or those interested in having some base levels of fitness for possible SD scenarios.
3/04/2014 11:51am, #6
If I were to take a stab at creating an Athletes Of Bullshido test, which I probably wouldn't be in favor of, it would probably be:
- Lower body strength: deadlift 2xBW (doable for serious athletes, and easier to judge than a squat)
- Upper body strength/muscle-endurance: 20 dips and 15 dead-hang strict pull-ups (both easily doable, and they demonstrate a minimum of mobility)
- Speed/endurance/cardio: 22:00 5k or 6:30 mile
- Power: bodyweight power clean
I would fail the cardio and deadlift right now. That list is a little too hip-extension-centric, in that the deadlift, clean, and run all share that movement pattern. I also avoided the most common feats of upper body strength, the bench and overhead presses, because, well, because felt like it. (A one-arm clean-and-press of 1/3 bodyweight would be fair, but we'd never be able to enforce the necessary strictness of the press. Some sort of bench would be fair too, but then you need a spotter and good lighting and then the test is 2/3 of a powerlifting meet so why not just have a powerlifting competition...)
Of course, anyone who starts thinking of strength/conditioning/mobility standards rapidly falls into one of three approaches: either a binary pass/fail test, or a set of levels, or a totally individualized attack-the-problem approach (e.g. what I described for myself above). If levels are your thing, then check out Dave Werner's Athletic Skill Levels.What a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable. -Xenophon's Socrates
3/04/2014 12:59pm, #7
Max V02 uptake is a common standard for aerobic fitness...although it requires specialized equipment. And yes, you can jog or ride a bike, so it can be somewhat "sport" specific.
Then there is measuring lactic acid and other metabolite levels while exercising.
I never did get to 1.5x my bodyweight for deadlift. Required too much specialized lifting for my body type. I would never use knee wraps or a belt, either. I figured I wasn't going to be wearing them in a judo shiai. May have been faulty logic on my part at th etime, though.
Making weight for judo suck(s)(ed).Falling for Judo since 1980
3/04/2014 1:08pm, #8
3/05/2014 1:18am, #9
The beep test is a nasty little test for cardio
3/05/2014 1:22am, #10
Also when I was a life guard at summer camp we had to do this thing where we would do 10 push ups then swim a lap get out do 9 swim a lap get out do 8 well you get it and instead of doing 1 at the end it would be another 10 push ups.
It wasn't a lot of push ups or laps but it was timed and I can't recall the time on it but was nasty.