How to test your real upper body strength?

How to test your upper body strength -

How to test your real upper body strength?

Test Your Upper Body Strength

The upper body is most often in the spotlight of any gym exercise: many people crave to tower above all else with their mean muscles, and get that sculpted body ASAP. Well, tracking and measuring progress is one of the mainsprings of your training endeavor. A ballpark figure will not cut it, nor elicit praise from your close friends. So, how can you perform a proper test and see how well your program is serving your goals? With tests that are as simple as ABC, and always on target.

Lift the veil

One of the most common questions in gyms is related to how much weight you can lift. This, however, is not the best assessment of your strength. Even worse, pursuing larger weights often leads people to injury, due to excessive strain and improper execution. On the other hand, powerlifters and personal trainers know strength tests forwards and backwards, taking advantage of basic exercises for evaluating the upper body. There is no cheating here: either you can do it or you have to throw in the towel.

The first test is the standing overhead barbell press. For probing purposes, it is best to use 1RM or rep max. For converting the rep max to a projected RM, you may use the following formula: weight lifted x reps x 0.333 + weight lifted. The focus should be on keeping it strict, without dips, and avoiding the scenario where you turn it all into a push press. A result which equals 100% of your body weight is considered to be top-notch, 90% is good, and everything beneath that threshold implies you have to break a sweat.

Pressing matters

The other test is the pull up/chin up. Choose the grip (any, including the natural one will do), and one of the two variations of the test. The first one includes a single, all-out set with your whole body weight, and the second one is a weighted pull up/chin up with 10% of bodyweight added. Set the stopwatch to 10 minutes and do as many reps as you can with strict motion. Those who manage to do 20 reps with bodyweight or 40 with the 10% added, are blessed with impeccable upper body strength.

If you are situated between 15 and 30, that is not so bad, but lower than that point lies an arena for those who need to step up the game. Note that the aforementioned tests are crucial, albeit not the only part of the equation. For example, both men and women can also turn to press-ups as a means of gauging strength. The difference is that females may utilize box or ¾ press-ups, while males must not shy away from going all the way.

What you are supposed to write down is the number of reps you are able to do in one minute. Do not let the short time frame fool you, and always give your muscles a nice warm-up. Only good reps count, and if they pile up to 40 (men) or 30 (women), your strength is at a formidable level. An amount of 30 or 20 for genders respectively is a good result, and means you are on the right track.

Test the waters

If your prime goal is to increase the strength of the upper body, you need solid tools for measuring your advancement. The good news is that the press and pulling exercises are all you need in order to obtain a realistic picture. Just work within your limits and record the methods you have used, as well as the score. This is a great way to stay focused and directed towards set goals. Remember that test methods also help you take upper body strength to the next level, and work quite well with aerobic and lower-body exercises.

This article was written by Samantha Oliver of, for more great articles and information make sure you head on over to have a read.

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