The Strength Test: The 50/50
Ever wonder how you measure up when it comes to fitness? Try the 50/50 test and measure your strength and endurance in the trunk and legs.
What is it?
This is a test to measure strength and endurance in the trunk and legs. It was developed by a New York trainer and gym owner, Mark Merchant. Unlike many other strength tests, the simple, easy to follow method takes into consideration body weight.
Who should test it?
This is a great method for people who are in overall good health and those who have been training for more than a few months and would like to set a benchmark to work from. However, this is not the method for you if you suffer from lower back or knee pain, as the movement puts a lot of strain on these areas or if you find it difficult to squat without added weight.
Why test it?
It is important to know how strong you are using a comprehensive movement. A squat is quite a challenging exercise on its own, and this test will be very telling in terms of whether your program is working.
You test it
First, you’ll need to find out your body weight, and divide that number in half. Next, set yourself up at a free-standing squat rack (not a Smith-style) with the barbell loaded to your half-body weight. Prepare yourself for a standard back squat with the bar behind the neck (always ask a trainer for help if you’re unsure of the technique). Do as many repetitions as you can, up to 50.
To improve strength, you should start using 6RM to 8RM with multiple sets from 3-to-5 and 2-to-3 exercises per major muscle group.