Collected Fitness Info

Monday, May 19, 2003
Leonardo, here are some test to consider. Testing for cardiovascular endurance includes a variety of methods and equipment, reflecting the wide differences in capabilities found among clients. This section will provide protocol for submaximal tests in swimming, leg cycle ergometry, and walking/running. There are several simple methods to assess cardiovascular endurance in older persons. The two most common methods are the 12-minute Run-Walk and the Step Test; both are included in this unit.
12 Minute Run-Walk Test

The goal of this test is to have the participant cover as much distance as possible in 12 minutes. It is best to perform the test on a track for ease of calculations. It is useful to place cones every 100 yards to facilitate measurement of distance. For norms, see Cooper’s table below. This test can be used to compare pre-training and post-training levels of aerobic fitness. Some older people will not perform well and may receive a poor classification. It is more important to focus on the progress they achieve through training than the classification they might receive; remember to focus on the positive! Performing this test on a quarter mile track makes assessing the distance completed much easier.

12 Minute Swimming Test This test can be used to assess cardiovascular endurance in those people who are not able to run or walk comfortably enough to complete the previous test. This is also an excellent assessment for asthmatics that seem to experience fewer incidents while performing water exercise. Be sure to find out the length of the lap lanes of the pool that you use for the testing site. Although most pool lanes measure 25 yards or meters, you need to be sure of the distance in order to obtain accurate results.

12 Minute Cycling Test This test can be used to assess cardiovascular endurance in the client that prefers cycling to the other previous assessments listed. This test can be done outside (using appropriate distance markers) or inside on a stationary cycle.

Step Test Another practical test that requires very little equipment is the Step Test. This test, along with the bicycle ergometer, is excellent for assessing visually impaired students. This test is also appropriate for all ages and both sexes. Because the test lasts only three minutes, only extremely unfit individuals would find this test too vigorous. Obviously, this test should only be performed if a physician has given the participant a medical clearance.

Equipment: 1. 12 inch high bench step (with at least a 24" x 16" stepping area) 2. Clock with a sweep hand (seconds) or a stopwatch. 3. Stethoscope (not necessary but can be useful). 4. Metronome.

Procedure 1. Set the metronome to 96 beat per minute. 2. Stepping cadence (96bpm) is 24 steps per minute. The rhythm of the steps will be a 4 count: up, up, down, down. Start stepping with the right foot up then left foot up, followed by right foot down then left foot down. 3. Demonstrate the pattern to your client. 4. Allow 15 seconds of practice with the metronome. 5. Begin the test; time your client for 3 minutes. 6. After the 3 minutes, terminate the test and have the client sit down. 7. Five seconds after the 3-minute termination mark take the client’s pulse for one complete minute. 8. Record the one-minute post exercise pulse rate. 9. Compare to the standards below.

Assessment for Muscular Strength

The participant’s posture, range of motion, and starting position for selected activities should be considered in the following strength assessment. It is also important to note any compensatory mechanisms or muscle substitutions that occur during a movement. Prior to engaging in any physical assessments, be sure to have your client warm up. Stretching or challenging the muscle without a proper warm up is a surefire way to injure your client. Let them warm up thoroughly, and be sure to explain the procedures that you are about to perform. Scores on the following tests, which gauge arm and leg strength, reliably reflect strength throughout the upper and lower body, respectively. Remember, all client information is confidential!

Upper-Body Test Have the client lie on a bench and with the barbell racked. When you are ready to begin, instruct the client to place his or her hands on the bar slightly wider than shoulder width apart. After lifting the bar off the rack, then instruct the client to lower the bar to chest level and then push it back up to the starting position. Be sure to stress the importance of breathing properly and keeping the low back pressed into the pad of the bench.

When attempting to determine a client’s on repetition maximum (1RM), a good starting place is to take the client’s body weight and multiply it times the minimum value listed in the “fair” or “average” category found under the appropriate age group heading. This will give you a good idea of the amount of weight to start with when testing for 1RM.

For example, let’s say your client is a very sedentary 58-year-old man who weighs 170 pounds. To estimate a weight to begin testing his one repetition maximum, you would take 170 (his weight) and multiply it times .65 (minimum value for fair in his age group) to arrive at 110.5. The number 110.5 represents the amount of weight in pounds that your client should be able to bench press for a 1 repetition maximum, taking into consideration his age and assuming that he is in fair condition. This is a safe estimate of the weight to begin testing your client’s 1RM.

Additional testing of this client shows that he can actually perform a 1RM bench press with 130 pounds. You would determine his rating by dividing 130 lbs. by his body weight of 170lbs to arrive at .76. When you look on the chart in the 50-59 age group, you would see that .76 would give this client a rating of average. Calculations 170 (weight in lbs.) X .65 (fair rating, 50-59 age group) = 110.5 lbs. (est. 1RM)

This upper body test will not be appropriate for all your clients. Some may have limitations that prevent them from being able to perform the test safely and accurately. If you cannot perform this strength assessment safely, then use your best judgment when determining the appropriate weight. ALWAYS err on the side of caution and remember that communication with your client can be the most effective assessment tool you have!

Lower Body Test

A 1 RM seated leg press can be used to assess your client’s leg strength. Through a process of trial and error you will estimate a 1 RM max for your client and then divide that value by the client’s body weight to come up with a number. Locate the number you came up with on the chart below to rate your clients leg strength.

Calculations 1 RM / client weight = Value to compare on the chart. If your clients have any knee or hip problems that would prevent them from doing this assessment test, consult with each client’s physician to determine how the physician would like you to proceed with your client’s leg strengthening program.

Advanced 1 RM Testing

If your client has prior experience training, then an advanced 1 RM test may be more appropriate. Select an exercise: for example the bench press, and ask your client how much weight he or she can successfully lift for 10 repetitions. Load the bar and then count the actual repetitions completed. If your client claimed that he or she could do 135 pounds for 10 repetitions and in reality only completed 7 repetitions, then you would check the chart for the accompanying percentage that relates to 7 repetitions. As you will see, 7 repetitions correlate to 82.5% in the chart. (insert estimating 1 RM chart) Take the weight lifted: in this example it was 135 pounds, and divide it by 82.5% to arrive at the estimated 1 RM. In this example, if your client successfully completed 7 repetitions at 135 pounds then his or her 1 RM would be 135/0.825 =164 pounds.

Assessments for Flexibility

Both active and passive range of motion (ROM) tests should be utilized when determining limitations in flexibility. Active ROM tests are performed with the participant actively contracting muscles to take the joint through the full range of motion. Passive ROM testing utilizes an assistant to take the limb through the range and is conducted when the participant has difficulty completing the movement due to lack of strength and/or coordination. In general, if a participant can move a limb through the normal range of motion actively, then a passive ROM test is not required (Hoppenfield, 1976). Passive ROM is typically greater than active ROM.

Simple Client Pre- and Post Test Assessment

The following tests can be used to define a starting point. Any progress made through exercise and healthy behavior changes can be measured against the starting point. This is a great way to show your clients that they are making progress without “classifying” their current state. Though it is important that they realize the need to facilitate changes due to negative conditions, it is equally as important to demonstrate the “fruits of their labor”. By showing your clients’ progress in their physical condition, they see that exercise is working and that fosters motivation to continue training.

Zipper Stretch - to measure shoulder flexibility. Directions: take right hand over right shoulder and bring left hand up the back. Measure the distance between the two hands. Switch arms and repeat the test with the left hand over the left shoulder and the right hand up the back.

Sit and Reach - measure the flexibility of the lower back and. Directions: This test involves sitting on the floor with legs out straight-ahead. Feet (shoes off) are placed flat against the box with both knees held flat against the floor by the tester. The client leans forward slowly as far as possible and holds the greatest stretch for two seconds. Make sure there is no jerky movements, and that the fingertips remain level and the legs flat.

Muscular Endurance

Push-ups - to measure upper body strength and endurance. Directions: Men should use the standard “military style” pushup position with only the hands and the toes touching the floor. Women have the additional option of using the “bent knee” position. To do this, kneel on the floor, hands on either side of the chest and keeping the back straight. Do as many push ups as possible with good form until exhaustion. Count the total number of pushups performed. (insert chart)

Sit Ups – to measure overall muscular strength and endurance. Directions: Have the client lie on the floor with knees bent and feet flat. The client’s hands should rest on their thighs. Have the client contract the abdominals (squeeze the stomach and have them raise high enough for their hands to touch the tops of their knees. Do not allow the client to pull with the neck or head and keep the lower back flat on the floor. If the client has back problems this test should be avoided. (insert chart)

Squats - to measure lower body strength and endurance. Directions: Have your client stand in front of a chair or a bench, facing away from it, with their feet shoulder width apart. The chair should be at a height where the client’s knees are bent at a 90° angle when sitting. Squat down and lightly touch the chair before standing back up. Repeat this process until fatigue sets in. (insert chart)

Walk Test - to measure cardiovascular fitness. Directions: Either on a treadmill or a marked area such as a track, have the client walk as fast as possible for one mile. Immediately upon completion, take the individual’s heart rate for 15 seconds. Good luck with the remainder of your examination.

Sachin Amin
Posted: 17 May 2003
if manual says training to failure is nonsence then how one should gauge whether or not the muscle has been adequately stimulated for growth if one does not take it to failure (or nearly so?)in every set .thanks

Author Responses
zachariah salazar
Posted: 17 May 2003
By "feel". Stop 1 rep short of percieved failure. To track workloads, add all weights lifted together in a given time. For example it takes you 10 minutes to do your chest workout and it is a light day. You can do 5 sets of ten reps at 100 lbs. You have done 5000 pounds of work. If you push to failure, lets say you get 1 more rep on each set. Thats an extra 500 lbs. Lets say you rob a combined total of 30 seconds from the rests of your other sets to do one more set not to failure of 8 reps. Thats 800 lbs. 300 lbs more than before. Lets say you add this small amount to you 3x a week chest workout. Taking a month out of a year for vacations and illness (12 workouts), you would have lifted 43,200 lbs more in one year by not going to failure and just making it up in a set. Thats the stuff big pecs are made of. Great structures are built from small pieces. Is this a bit meticuless? Yes, but thats why we make 50-100 bucks an hour. TO DO STUFF. Otherwise were like those OTHER trainers that just take the work out of the month out of a fitness mag and call ourselves professionals. Hope this helps, peace,z

Todd Reinhard
Posted: 17 May 2003
Hey Z. This is really useful stuff that is not adequately explained in most training programs. I mean, usually what you get are vague generalities where a lot of the common intensity variables are not addressed. In sum, it sounds as though you are suggesting less time between sets, more total sets, fewer reps per set, taking each set short of failure by 1-2 reps, with a load of approx. 75% 1RM (ie 10 reps to failure). Do you advise this for hypertrophy, max strength, strength endurance...? Any other nuggets you wanna give up--for FREE??? Thanks Z. Appreciate your time!!

zachariah salazar
Posted: 18 May 2003
I'll tel ya anything I know for free, But just on line! I just want cpt's to be viewed as professionals. The information is out there it just takes a while to aquire. Then there are the land mines of bad info.
In Sachin,s topic he states "stimulated for growth" so I assumed hypertrophy. But this was just a generalized example. For hypertophy I generally reccomend about 8-12 reps with 1 minute rests , which would be ABOUT 70%-80% of 1rep max. The thing about hypertrophy is that it seems that volume is the most important factor. 10-20 sets per bodypart (not exercise) is what I usually reccomend. But it may take a few months to get a client to the point where they can handle that kind of workload. For stength training I may let rests last as long as 2-5 minutes depending on the goals and if special techniques are used such as my fav for strength, Rest pause. For power there are a couple of approaches depending on the phase. Pure power training may be just 1-5 reps of 90% or more with up to 10 minute rests and 10-12 sets, maxing out at about 60-90 minutes for a lift (power cleans for example). You could do this with 1 hour rests and do 2-4 execises in a day 6 days a week. This is how a lot of the Olympic athletes I have worked out with have trained. But it can (and should) take years to get to this kind of volume. Or for elastic equivalent training, I may use a weight that allows for no more than 5 perfect, explosive reps coupled with a medicine ball throw with a weight no heavier than 10% of bodyweight. But as far as bodybuilding goes, the best program I have seen is are the ones in Hatfields Bodybuilding: a scientific approach. Very meticulous, so it must be studied and applied to be appreciated. And the stopping before failure thing is usually only 1 rep. hope this helps, z Todd or Sachin, if you ever want to talk fitness just email me at

dave draper on squats

Folks, I don't do squats because no one ever showed me how, and (sheepish) after I was 35, I hated to admit I have never done them and ask someone to show me the correct form.

How about the easy intro? Anyone who's never done squats before, stand up. Seriously, just stand up right there in front of your monitor and let's go through this.

Move your feet so they're just slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Point your toes out, just slightly. After you've played around with this, you can adjust your foot positioning to suit your structure.

Grab your legs near the lower quads, right hand on right leg, left hand on left - in other words, put your hands slightly above your knees. Take a deep breath of air, filling your chest. This forces your back into a straight line from neck to tailbone as you don't want a rounded back when squatting.

Looking straight ahead, raise your hands out straight in front of you.

Keeping your weight on your heels and your feet flat on the floor, lower yourself another 10 inches.

With your hands still in front of you, lift yourself to an upright position using your upper leg muscles.

Lower yourself and repeat. Perfect squats. There's absolutely no better way to learn or teach squats than from the BOTTOM UP as opposed to the top down.

To change this from well-formed deep knee bends to barbell squats, position the safety bars of the squat rack at a spot just slightly below your shoulders. If you're using a solid pin squat rack, put the bar on the pins nearest your shoulder height. Remember the movements we did in front of the computer and perform them now, without the bar, both to remember the motion and to warm up your knees, hips, ankles and leg muscles.

Step up to the empty bar and wrap your hands around the bar in a comfortable spot. Most people end up with their hands about a foot wider than their shoulders, usually using the bar's knurled edge or grip ring to find an even position so that your body is centered under the bar. For back squats, step under the bar and bring your upper body backwards into contact with the bar, knees slightly bent. Shuffle around slightly - leave the bar on the rack but schooch (hmmm?) around until you find that sweet spot where the bar just sits on the shelf created by your traps when your arms, elbows and chest are all held high from concentration and a big breath of air.

Straightening your knees to bring your body upright and the bar off the rack, back away from the pins so you're a couple of feet away. Position your feet again - slightly wider than shoulders, toes pointed out. Look up, chest high, elbows high, big air and lower yourself into a deep knee bend. Your first squat will not be very deep, but as you become more comfortable with the bar on your back and your ability to come back up, you'll move deeper and deeper into what the powerlifters call "the hole."

Your flexibility will increase fairly quickly, your confidence even quicker. Your muscles will become conditioned to the movement within a few sessions and your ankles, hips and knees will get stronger over the next month or so, when you'll find yourself with the desire to ADD MORE WEIGHT!

Main thing to remember: how far you go down should be dictated by your ability to come up... no! that's not what I meant to say!!... Seriously, how far you go down should be dictated by your ability to keep your back straight. I'm not referring to upright, but forming what's called a neutral spine - a straight line from neck to tail bone. Start back up just before the point when you round your back. This point will be lower and lower as time goes by - as your back gets stronger and your flexibility increases. A little patience here will save your back from injury.

Another thing I'm trying to be aware of is the difference between pushing thru the heel and pushing thru the ankle. To help a new squatter hold their balance, we usually say, "push thru the heel" to keep their weight back, rather than forward onto the toes. More accurate would be to press thru the ankle, which will better distribute the force of the weight during the movement.

Well, that's the end of the seminar for today.


CNIK on low carb

Atkins - the diet for losers who cannot figure out the difference between weight loss and fat loss.

Here's the deal.... if you don't eat carbs, the glycogen stores in your muscles disappear. This is the stuff that you need for energy when you lift weights. Without it your body holds less water weight, yet you also now elimitate the ability to make use of any protein that you eat to be shuttled and used to create new muscle since it will be used for energy since there are no carbs in your body to use for energy...

The "um... Benefit?" you now end up weighing less untill you once again eat carbs and your body once again shuttles those carbs into muscle tissues like it should... Eventually all the weight lost comes right back...and most likely you end up gaining even more fat since most atkins dieters end up losing muscle because there were no carbs in their bodies to protect them against muscle catabolism.