In this article I’ll provide an insight to what strength tests I perform and how I use these test to individualise a clients program design. I’ll discuss 1RM Strength & Eccentric Strength Deficit Testing. I’m sure if you’re reading this article you’re familiar with testing your 1RM and have perhaps have done it yourself.
So what is the 1RM Strength Test?
This is where I test the Squat, Bench Press & Chin Up for you 1 repetition maximum, irrespective of the clients sport if they’re an athlete. Some coaches test specific indicator lifts; for example a Front Squat & Incline Bench Press however I have a different approach.
The reason I use the Squat, Bench Press & Chin Up is because I want to develop a balanced trainee or athlete, which I do using specific strength ratios. The strength ratios I use are based off the Squat & Bench Press, which are considered the “mother” lifts. I learnt this from my coach and mentor Stephane Cazeault from Kilo Strength Society, which I like a lot as it simplifies the testing process irrespective of who I do it with.
An example of a strength ratio is your Front Squat should be 85% of your Squat. So if your 1RM Squat is 100kg then your 1RM Front Squat should be 85kg. If your Front Squat in this example is a lot lower than 85% then you would prioritise that lift for a 12 week block. If it is a low higher than 85% then you would priories you Squat
The 1RM test is performed using a 40X0 tempo. The 4 second eccentric is sufficient time to negate the stretch shortening cycle, which demonstrates to me that the client can control the load. The aim is to determine your 1RM within 8 to 10 sets. Once this has been completed you can move onto the Eccentric Strength Deficit test.
It’s important to note that I also test the trainee or athletes shoulder health & strength using remedial based exercises. Believe it or not this test is important for knowing where to start with a clients upper body training to reduce risk of injury and improve long term progress.
So what is the Eccentric Strength Deficit Test?
This is where you measure your Concentric Vs Eccentric strength. Depending on the percentage difference you then know if the trainee or athlete needs to train for strength & hypertrophy and which specialist methods are needed, such as eccentric, isometric or speed base methods. This information allows me to individualise a clients program design to maximise their outcome
The Eccentric Strength Deficit test is performed using a 8 second eccentric tempo on the Squat & Bench Press. There is no concentric component to this test.
When it comes to 1RM & Eccentric Strength Deficit testing I use it for the intermediate to advanced trainees or athlete. In my experience a beginner trainee or athlete does not require such demanding testing. For the beginner client I will determine their “predicted 1RM’ from an Intensification phase when the rep range is between 3-6 reps. Anything above 6 reps I notice a drop off in work capacity for these primary movements.
If you would like to learn more about 1RM & Eccentric Strength Deficit testing protocols and how you can use them to become a go to coach then join us for our Program Design & Periodisation course where I will teach you all you need to know above these protocols and much more.
Featured is Head Coach Chris Bottomley performing his Eccentric Strength Deficit test at Kilo Strength Society in Huntington Beach, California in August 2018 while attending the Sports Specific Camp
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