What Are You Measuring?

Today I am sharing some additional testing data from our advanced strength and conditioning class for athletes.  Before sharing this data though, I think it is important to discuss the why, what, and frequency of our testing.

The primary reason we test our athletes is to make sure our workout program is accomplishing what we want it to.  If we want our program to make our athletes more explosive, faster, and quicker, then we should design our testing around those factors.  Generally, the battery of tests that we use are:

  • Estimated 1RM Bench
  • Estimated 1RM Squat
  • Estimated 1RM Push Press
  • Estimated 1RM Hang Clean
  • 40 yd dash (Straight Speed)
  • Vertical Leap (Explosion-Leaping Ability)
  • Pro Agility Shuttle (Quickness/ Agility)
  • Body Weight

And from these we can then calculate:

  • Pound for Pound Ratio (Lean Muscle Mass)
  • Power Quotient (Lower Body Power)

As was mentioned is a previous post (Pound for Pound Ratio Data), the Pound for Pound Ratio Takes the athlete’s Total Weight (1RM for the 4 Core lifts) and divides it by their Body Weight.  The Power Quotient multiplies the Square Root of the Vertical Leap by the Square Root of the Body Weight.  An athlete that weights 200 pounds and has a vertical of 25 inches is generating more lower body power than an athlete that weighs 100 pounds and has an identical vertical leap.  As detailed in a previous post (Workout Card Motivation and Efficiency) the workout card automatically calculates both of these numbers.

I also believe testing is a strong motivating factor, and with this variety of tests, most of the athletes can take pride in some aspect of their results.  Beyond just the raw data, the calculated results (Power Quotient and Pound for Pound) are great motivators as well.  The smaller athletes generally can score higher in the Lb/Lb category, and the larger athletes have a chance to score well in the Power Quotient.  All of the results are printed on their workout cards so that they can see it daily, and in the case of their estimated 1RM they can check their progress as well.

2011 NFL Scouting CombineWe typically test our athletes 2-3 times a year, depending on when and how often they take our strength and conditioning class.  Last week we tested the athletes in our class on the vertical leap.  The vertical leap test always gets a great deal of pub this time of year because of the NFL Combine. This increases the interest among our athletes.  We test using a measured tape against the wall.  We mark their reach, then note their jump/ touch mark, and subtract the two.  While not as accurate as using a Vertec (which we do have) we opt for this method because we can test more athletes during a short amount of time using the tape/ wall technique.  We do it this way every time, so when we compare data we are comparing “apples to apples”.  We tell our athletes (and it proves to be true ) that typically they could measure 2”-6” higher testing on a Vertec.

The following results were from student-athletes (both men and women) that were enrolled in our strength and conditioning class.  It includes athletes from all sports, and all grade levels (9-12)

The results for the 76 men we tested ranged from 12” to 31”.  The average jump was 21.26” and the Median was 21” This graph shows the distribution of the results.

Male Vertical Leap

The results for the 40 women we tested ranged from 12” to 22”.  The average jump was 16” and the Median was also 16”.  This graph shows the distribution of the results.

female vertical leap

The calculated Power Quotient for the 76 men ranged from 41.28 to 80.75 (higher number is better).  The average PQ was 59.34 and the Median was 59.23.  This graph shows the distribution of the results.

Male PQ

The calculated Power Quotient for the 40 women ranged from 39.50 to 61.32 (higher number is better).  The average PQ was 47.57 and the Median was 47.36.  This graph shows the distribution of the results.

female PQ

I do believe our testing protocol, in conjunction with the printed workout cards, serves us well in evaluating and motivating our student-athletes.

If you have any questions, please just comment or email!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Don’t Take the “Light” Day Lightly

hartI have written quite a bit so far about the “Heavy” day in our weekly workout (A Weekly (not weakly) Workout Program!) and the concept of breaking (Breaking – It’s a Good Thing) on your heavy day lift.  Probably equally important, though, is our philosophy and how we approach our “Light” day lift.

A quick review/ reminder of what a week’s workout looks like in our program.  We have 4 Core lifts, Bench, Squat, Push Press, and Hang Clean.  We lift four times a week, each day doing one lift at a Heavy intensity, one lift at a Medium intensity, one lift at a Light intensity, and omitting one lift each day.  The way we have our week structured is this:

  • Monday – Heavy Bench – Medium Squat – Light Push (no Clean)
  • Tuesday – Heavy Squat – Medium Push – Light Clean (no Bench)
  • Wednesday – Heavy Push – Medium Clean – Light Bench (no Squat)
  • Thursday – OFF
  • Friday – Heavy Clean – Medium Bench – Light Squat (no Push)

The challenge with many of our athletes, because of their competitive nature, is making sure that they stick to the set/ rep percentages that are on their card for their Light day.  The percentages on the Light day start at 60% (of their 1RM) on the first set, and increase to only 80% on their last set.  Inevitably they will try to do more, or come to me and say “Coach, I know I can do more than what my card is saying for my light day!”.  They will be tempted to add weight and do more.  And they are right, they could do more weight than is on their card, but that is not what we want on the Light day.

We try to educate our athletes to the importance of sticking to the workout and the philosophy behind having a Light day.  The way the program is set up, the lift intensities cycle between Heavy – Off – Light – Medium.  After a Heavy day, we take day off from that lift to give that muscle group time to recover.  When the lift comes back into the rotation, it is only at a Light intensity.

The Light day is a great day to really concentrate on form and technique.  If they are having any technique issues on any of the lifts, their light day is the day to work on those problems.  It may be going through the full range of motion (past parallel) on squat, working on their “dip” when they Push Press, really working a controlled descent on their Bench Press, or improving the “Drop/Catch” phase of their Hang Clean.

If we are going to change things up (as was discussed in a previous post Throwing a Changeup”), the Light day is typically the day we will do it.  Here are some examples of what we might sub in place of a Light day lift:

  • Light Squat – substitute front Squats.
  • Light Hang Clean – substitute Power Clean from the floor.
  • Light Push Press – substitute Hang Snatch.
  • Light Bench Press – substitute Incline Bench.

Staying with the percentages on the workout card, and using the Light day to recover and work form and technique is an important concept in our strength and conditioning program.

Any questions?  Just comment or email… I always respond!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com