Test Week

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It's been a while since we've had a real test week. I thought we might have been doing them too often last year, and this year, I swung the pendulum a little bit too far the other way and haven't scheduled a chance for you to see what your 1RM is on the big lifts.

A refresher on the rules of test week;

1 - Don't participate if you're just getting started. Unless you've been lifting with us for about 6 months (or have significant pre-Barbell Strategy experience), it's not going to do you any good to test this time. Don't worry you'll have a chance later

2 - This isn't a eyes-bulging, nose-bleeding 1RM max out test. We're not competitive powerlifters here, and even if we were, this week isn't a competition. This is a chance to see how much we can lift so that we can track progress.

3 - Don't judge your self worth on your numbers this week. The last time we did test week, it was right after a focused powerlifting cycle. We've taken a break from that for some more kettlebell work. So while you are probably a better person now, you may not be as strong in the specific powerlifts we're testing. That's fine. It's still a good idea to know your numbers

4 - Keep a log. And make it easy to find! After you've had a real honest test week (probably after you've been here 2 years or so), then the percentages you calculate for programs actually mean something. So that means you need to know what your maxes are. I don't remember everyone's maxes (though I am pretty good and know more than you think I know), so it's up to you to know your numbers and be able to calculate your percentages.

5 - Don't get hurt. I hate test weeks because it's one fewer week of training, and it's a good opportunity for your ego to be stronger than your body. I think everyone should have an idea of their maxes but we need to have common sense here.

How do you warm up? You'll get different answers depending on who you ask. I never warm up that much because warming up makes me tired and takes away from my max lifts. Other people like to do tons of singles and sneak up on it. If you know how you respond, do what makes sense for you. If you don't know let's experiment a little.

I like Randy's approach: do a sets of about 5, 3, 2 all below 70%.  Once you're at 70%, just do singles with long rest. I like to start out with somewhere around 2-3 minutes rest and then as I approach 90% it's more like 5-6 minutes. Make jumps that are big enough that you don't waste too much energy below your max, but small enough that the weight is never so heavy that it freaks your brain out. We'll be there to help you.

Michael Deskevich