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The 16 Physical Tests That Measure EVERYTHING

At Range of Motion, and with our online Range of Motion Individualised Programming clients, we place high value on the pursuit of growth and achievement. And regularly testing performance is a big part of that.

But fitness and performance are broad reaching, and trying to narrow down ways to test it is a challenge. We’ve settled on 16 different physical tests. We believe these tests comprehensively cover all major elements of our clients’ physical ability.

We separate these tests into four different categories:

  • Work Capacity: How proficient you are at delivering fuel and removing waste from muscles to cause contractions over varying lengths of time.
  • Absolute Strength: How proficient you are at lifting heavy loads.
  • Relative Strength and Stamina: How proficient you are at lifting your own body weight, measuring both your strength and stamina.
  • Power: How proficient you are at moving both your body and external loads fast and powerfully.

Now, we don’t do all 16 tests with every person. As part of our individualised programming, we bias towards areas of weakness. Based on the Range of Motion Model of Health, we believe that health and fitness is limited by the ‘weakest spoke’ on our ‘wagon wheel’ of health. You are only as healthy and fit as you are competent in your weakest link.

So instead of all 16 tests, we only do four tests per person, selected based on whether their main weakness is in work capacity, absolute strength, relative strength and stamina, or power.

These are our 16 tests, separated into the four categories:

 

Work Capacity:

 

Test: Peak wattage in 20 second air bike sprint.

What it tests: ATP-PCr energy system, peak power output, anaerobic alactic work index.

Primary energy system/s being used: ATP-PCr

Procedure: *Note: this should be completed at the same time as the ‘Average wattage in 20 second air bike sprint’ test.

  • Complete a max effort 20 second sprint.
  • Upon completion, the screen will alternate between showing you ‘max watts’ and ‘average watts’.

Result to record: Max watts reached over the 20 second sprint.

 

Test: Average wattage in 20 second air bike sprint.

What it tests: Anaerobic and glycolytic capacity, average power output, lactic work index.

Primary energy system/s being used: ATP-PCr / Glycolytic.

Procedure: *Note: this should be completed at the same time as the ‘Peak wattage in 20 second air bike sprint’ test.

  • Complete a max effort 20 second sprint.
  • Upon completion, the screen will alternate between showing you ‘max watts’ and ‘average watts’.

Result to record: Average watts over the 20 second sprint.

 

Test: Max distance in 60 second air bike.

What it tests: Anaerobic lactic capacity, anaerobic glycolysis, anaerobic threshold.

Primary energy system/s being used: Glycolytic.

Procedure: 

  • Complete as many metres as possible over the 60 second effort.
  • Upon completion, the screen will display the total metres you completed.

Result to record: Total distance completed in 60 seconds.

 

Test: Aerobic Multi-modal

What it tests: Aerobic capacity, aerobic/lactate threshold. This test is ordered so as to ‘shunt’ blood to different parts of the body. This is an effective way of testing overall aerobic capacity, as aerobic capacity can be specific to bodyparts.

Primary energy system/s being used: Oxidative.

Procedure: 

  • In 20 minutes, complete as many metres as possible, rotating in order through: 200m run, 250m row, 600m bike, 250m ski.

Result to record: Total distance completed in 20 minutes.

 

Absolute Strength:

 

Test: Max bench press.

What it tests: Upper body pressing absolute strength.

Procedure:

  • Find a one rep max bench press.
  • As heavy as possible without technique break down.

Result to record: Heaviest weight lifted.

 

Test: Max bench pull.

What it tests: Upper body pulling absolute strength.

Procedure:

  • Find a one rep max bench pull.
  • As heavy as possible without technique break down.
  • Begin movement with bar off ground in retracted shoulder blade position, conclude movement in same position.

Result to record: Heaviest weight lifted.

 

Test: Max front squat.

What it tests: Lower body anterior chain strength.

Procedure:

  • Find a one rep max front squat.
  • Any grip on the bar is permitted (standard front rack or ‘genie’), and a goblet squat (with a kettlebell or dumbbell) can be used.
  • As heavy as possible without technique break down.

Result to record: Heaviest weight lifted.

 

Test: Max deadlift.

What it tests: Lower body and torso posterior chain strength.

Procedure:

  • Find a one rep max deadlift.
  • As heavy as possible without technique break down.

Result to record: Heaviest weight lifted.

 

Relative Strength and Stamina:

 

Test: Max strict bar dip.

What it tests: Upper body relative pressing strength.

Procedure:

  • Find a one rep max bar dip. If weight added, add this to your bodyweight to give a score. If band assistance used, subtract the amount of assistance from your bodyweight for the score.
  • Five minutes after completing this test, begin the ‘max unbroken strict bar dips in 60 seconds’ test.

Result to record: Your one rep max (using the guidelines outlined above).

 

Test: Max unbroken strict bar dips in 60 seconds.

What it tests: Upper body relative pressing stamina.

Procedure:

  • Begin this test five minutes after completing the ‘Max strict bar dip’ test.
  • Complete this testing using 70% of your max bar dip.

Result to record: Total kilograms moved in the set (reps x 70% of your one rep max).

 

Test: Max strict chest to bar pull-up.

What it tests: Upper body relative pulling strength.

Procedure:

  • Find a one rep max strict chest to bar pull-up. If weight added, add this to your bodyweight to give a score. If band assistance used, subtract the amount of assistance from your bodyweight for the score.
  • Five minutes after completing this test, begin the ‘max unbroken strict chest to bar pull-ups in 60 seconds’ test.

Result to record: Your one rep max (using the guidelines outlined above).

 

Test: Max unbroken strict chest to bar pull-ups in 60 seconds.

What it tests: Upper body relative pulling stamina.

Procedure:

  • Begin this test five minutes after completing the ‘Max strict chest to bar pull-up’ test.
  • Complete this testing using 70% of your max chest to bar pull-up.

Result to record: Total kilograms moved in the set (reps x 70% of your one rep max).

 

Power:

 

Test: Peak wattage in five ski strokes.

What it tests: Hip flexion, trunk flexion, shoulder extension and elbow extension power.

Procedure:

  • Set the ski erg with the damper on ‘five’, and ‘watts’ as the units.
  • Complete five strokes within ten seconds (ensuring you don’t reach the limit of the rope at the end of each stroke).
  • Record the highest number the ‘watts’ got to during the five strokes.
  • Rest until you’ve recovered (120 seconds plus).
  • Repeat the test twice more.

Result to record: Highest score over the three attempts.

 

Test: Max height jump squat.

What it tests: Lower limb anterior chain power.

Procedure:

  • Chalk fingers on right hand.
  • Stand side-on to a wall and reach the right hand as high as possible up the wall, marking the highest spot you can reach.
  • Complete a full depth squat (hip crease below knee) and (in one movement) jump as high as possible. Reach the right hand up the wall and mark the highest spot you can reach.
  • Measure and record the vertical distance between the top of the lower mark, and the top of the higher mark.
  • Rest until you’ve recovered (60 seconds plus).
  • Repeat the test twice more.

Result to record: Highest score over the three attempts.

 

Test: One rep max push jerk.

What it tests: Upper body pressing power.

Procedure:

  • Find a one rep max push jerk.
  • For the repetition to count, the lift must be a ‘legal’ lift, that is, there can be no ‘press out’. This will ensure we’re testing pressing power, and not pressing strength.
  • As heavy as possible without technique break down.

Result to record: Heaviest weight lifted.

 

Test: One rep max hang power clean.

What it tests: Lower body posterior chain and upper body pulling power.

Procedure:

  • Find a one rep max hang power clean.
  • For the repetition to count, the lift must begin above the knee, and the receiving position must be no wider than the individual’s standard squatting width. The bar can be received anywhere above a full depth squat.
  • As heavy as possible without technique break down.

Result to record: Heaviest weight lifted.

Dan Williams

Dan Williams

Founder/Director

Dan Williams is the Director of Range of Motion and leads a team of Exercise Physiologists, Sports Scientists, Physiotherapists and Coaches. He has a Bachelor of Science (Exercise and Health Science) and a Postgraduate Bachelor of Exercise Rehabilitation Science from The University of Western Australia, with minors in Biomechanics and Sport Psychology.