How can I assess my strength?

JC Pinzon

Most strength tests are relevant to the sport or function. There are many strength tests for different muscles. All tests must have "reliability" and "validity." Reliability would depend upon how strictly the test is conducted and the individual's level of motivation to perform the test. Validity: There are published tables to relate results to potential level of fitness and the correlation is high.

Most strength tests involve muscle endurance or the ability to perform either a certain amount of repetitions or hold a position. The Core Muscle Strength Test can be used to monitor the development of the athlete's core strength and endurance. Throughout the test the back, neck and head should be maintained in the plank position. If the athlete is unable to hold this position then the test is to be stopped and results are based on how long the plank position was held. The most common tests of strength are the pushup test for upper body and the crunch test for the abdominal area. There is also the Chin Up Test. The objective of this test is to monitor the development of the athlete's arm and shoulder muscular strength and endurance. The Bench press test is used for upper body as well and for Leg strength the Leg Press machine or squats will do it.

These tests are suitable for active individuals but not for those where the test would be contraindicated. No mater what test is is make sure the participant is warm and stretched before to avoid injuries.

To assess upper body strength, a one-rep maximum bench press test is recommended, and to assess lower body strength, a one-rep maximum leg press test is advised. Both of these are considered advanced assessments and are usually reserved for individuals trying to improve athletic performance. They are not recommended for beginners because of the potential for injury. A qualified fitness professional would be able to assist you in these assessments and make sure they are performed safely.

First of all it is very important that when you are assessing strength you have someone with you. If you are doing any type of heavy lift or any type of lifting, you want to have a spotter, so safety first. As far as it relates to basketball, one of the more common upper body strength tests is the bench press, which we usually use 185 pounds and see how many times it can be performed. Prior to doing the test, you want to warm up which may include 10 repetitions of really light weight on the bench or maybe some push-ups. Rest for a minute and then bench 135 pounds five times followed by resting for a 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Put on the 185 pounds and see how many reps you can do. Obviously you do not want to burn yourself out on the initial warm up but it is important that you warm up! You cannot go straight into a bench press and try to get a bunch of reps without being properly warm. For lower body strength assessment, the squat can be done. Again, you want to warm up! Eight to ten reps of really light weight followed by a minute of rest, then adding about 30 pounds and doing three to five reps. Rest for a couple minutes and repeat that until you fatigue and can no longer do three to five reps. At that point, rest for a couple minutes and then put on more weight and do one repetition max which will show your strength for your squat. A more simple routine if you do not have the bench and squat around are pull-ups and push-ups. See how many you can perform in a minute or until fatigue.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.