Thoughts on Test Week | Part 1

Over the next couple of days I’ll share with everyone a few thoughts on the tests from this week and some stuff to be prepared for over the upcoming cycle.  I’ve been thoroughly impressed with everyone’s effort through test week so far, which makes me quite excited to see where folks will end up at the end of the cycle. If as athletes we carry the same effort into our training as the testing, and couple that effort with a hunger to learn and grow everyone will be extremely pleased with the collective results!

Monday and Wednesday Tests

I’m not going to go into as much detail as I did last cycle on the specifics of the tests. If you read my articles last cycle you should have a good idea of what we are testing for and why. If not go back and read (or reread)  them and see if you can identify some of the attributes we described last time in this week tests.  I am however going to break down a few quick items that are unique this go around, as well random nuggets of knowledge for the tests. (Articles from last cycle: Test Week Overview, Strength Tests Overview, Aerobic Power Tests Overview)

Anaerobic Threshold
Thrusters 95/65
Burpees over bar

This test is almost identical to “Fran” with the only difference being the work is spread over more sets and the pull-ups are replaced with burpees. First up the burpees allow for a greater range of motion and are limited to a lesser extent (but not completely)  by localized upper body strength endurance. This allows the test to be distinctly more metabolically taxing and requires athletes to dig deeper into the anaerobic zone to finish faster. For those  that have a moderate to high strength base, and are skilled at moving their own body weight this test should have been particularly grueling.  One side note, for several folks 14.5 came to mind immediately when this test popped up (and rightfully so seeing as its the back half of that workout).  Despite the obvious similarities it is quite different in the potential stimulus it can elicit. Mainly, the extra volume by wave of the large front end sets, never allows the athlete the opportunity to dig deep into the anaerobic system. Even Mr. Froning himself  never breaks a steady 80-85% effort pace on 14.5. So the lesson here is looks can be deceiving :), and just because something is shorter doesn’t mean its easier.

Speed, Max Strength
1 RM Hang Squat Clean, 1 RM Bench Press, and Max Rep Bench

Last cycle we talked about the strength curve and how the power snatch and front squat sat at opposite ends of the curve.  That said you can think of the hang clean as sitting directly in the center of that curve requiring equal parts speed, and max strength.  So now that we’ve tested and trained the edges I’m interested to see how well we can apply it (yesterday would suggest quite well).  The bench is simply a max strength test for the upper body pushing pattern, while the max rep test allows us to judge how neuromuscularly efficient (NME) each athlete is in the bench press. NME tells us a few broad things about your muscle fiber make up, training age, training background, and what kind of stimulus you might respond to best. So don’t get caught up in comparing that number with others.

Tomorrow I’ll be checking in with a synopsis of Thursday and Friday’s test, and a few thing to look for in the upcoming training cycle.