Why We Test...
At Varsity House we run a year-round athlete training program that is broken up by four 13 week blocks. The common theme in these blocks is that we look to test our athletes in week 3 and week 12 of the block. Testing in week 3 allows for a 2-week introductory period before having the athletes test. This allows our coaching staff the opportunity to decide on testing parameters given on the ability of each group.
We have a variety of strength, performance, anaerobic, and aerobic tests that are performed based on the time of year and current block. A simple example of this is when we are in block 1 (December), most of our football players will not perform any true agility drills but are more likely to perform a much lower impact aerobic test. After the testing week has been completed, we then have 2 months of progressive overload training to help build the athletes overall physical composition and GPP (General Physical Preparedness).
Generally, at Varsity House, we test in 3 separate categories that are listed below. I think its extremely important to have standards and averages.
Below I will list our athlete demographic and average of each movement. See how your athletes stack up! It should be noted that this was done over the course of 13 weeks with different age groups 9-12th grade high school athletes.
I added up the number of each athlete and divided by the total number of athletes we had during that block – which resulted in the average number per test.
Upper Body Variation 1-5RM
Bench Press 3RM: 168.5lbs
Lower Body Variation 1-5RM
Box Squat 3RM: 185.5 lbs
Sprint Acceleration Variation
10 Yard Sprint (Handheld): 1.67 seconds
Vertical Force Variation
2-Step Approach Jump: 21.4 inches
Horizontal Force Variation
Broad Jump: 66.5 inches
H/H Prowler 150 Yard shuttle @ 15lbs/side
Average time: 1min and 24 seconds
Use these as standard to see how your athletes stack up and let us know!
Week 11 is primarily a low intensive, low stress week. This low intensive week can be done in two different ways. The first way is keeping the stress down by lowering the percentage of weight lifted and increase the volume of reps to help with blood flow and practice of movement.
The second way is to keep the intensity down by performing 2-3 sets of 1-3 reps at a higher percentage to help with proper set up and to maintain physical output above 80%.
This decision is made by the coach and the level of athletes they may be working with, in my opinion there isn’t a right or wrong answer. We have tested both strategies and had success with both options. Week 12 is our realization phase where we re-test our athletes.
“When testing an athlete, you are providing incentives and motivation to train, training is a lot more fun than just working out.”
We believe in optimal testing parameters and performance training.
A majority of the athletes we work with are not professionals. As a result, we train them accordingly. They are field sport athletes and their goals are to perform better in their sport and feel physically better doing it through strength and conditioning.
If your athlete hits a 20lb personal record cut it there. You want to have them leave some room in the tank for future development. Explain your reasoning behind this and it will allow them to “buy in” and continue to train.
After testing week, the coach now has a great look at what worked and what didn’t and can now properly prepare for the next phase of training.
I believe testing is imperative for an athlete’s overall success and it is a true indicative of an athlete’s strengths and weaknesses – both physically and mentally.
Furthermore, it enables the coach to appropriately adjust their plan based on the results of their athletes. The sign of a good coach is one who can constantly adjust based on what they see in their athletes. Testing enables this.
Lastly, when you test – you are training. You are providing incentives and motivation to train, training is a lot more fun than just working out.
- Coach Mike
CONNECT WITH MIKE CAPRIGLIONE