T Nation

Upper Body Strength Test


ok, I just thought of a way to test upperbody strength and also whether you are balanced or not

To test whether you are balanced:

of strict BW pullups you can do should ROUGHLY = # of times you can bench your BW

example: a 225 lb person would be balanced if he could do 15 strict pullups and bench 225 lbs 15 times

To tell whether you are a novice, intermediate, or advanced trainee for upper body strength:

Novice: <10 reps of each
Intermediate: 10-20 reps of each
Advanced: >20 reps of each

these are rough guidelines but I actually think they are pretty accurate. what do you think?


Not bad, but I'd rather test my 1 RM to see my upper body strength than rep out my BW. Some people have more endurance than others, I've encountered people who I could lift more than, do more reps with a certain weight than me, while me max was substantially greater.

The bench vs. pullups to see if you have a big imbablance or not, is a pretty good idea though.


Well, 1RM is influenced a lot by technique etc... A 8 or 10RM is more of a measure of muscle-mass by comparison... Not sure which of the two you'd want to use here, I'd go with 8 or so.

<- indeed, it's a terrible idea, actually...

You want a backthickness exercise to balance out the bench... Preferably kroc's or some other heavy row variant where you retract the scapulae etc at the top. Pretty much a row where you're mimicking a bench press setup if you ask me.


why not weighted 3 RM pull up and weighted 3 RM dip? or something similar.



Would be about the best way ^


This makes much more sense. Testing rep strength based on body weight has a couple of obvious problems:

1) you're actually testing relative strength and not pure strength. A person benching 405 for reps has more strength than someone benching 350 regardless of body weight.

2) As Austin mentioned, if you're judging based on a # of reps completed then endurance is probably every bit as much of a factor as strength. Better to test weight used in a given rep range.


Not bad, but there is a certain point where this starts becoming about muscular endurance, and not so much strength. You cant just keep adding reps to someone's bodyweight bench or pullup, it doesnt really work like that. The strength to weight ratio isnt consistent at higher weights. Take it to the extreme: You can have a reasonably fit 115lb guy who can do pullups like no tomorrow, where as a seasoned trainee weighing 275 will most likely have much more trouble even though he is more advanced.


ive heard of rows supposedly being equal or near equal to bench press


yeah shouldn't it really be vertical v vertical ie pullups and military press and horizontal v horizontal ie bench press and bent over rows.


Well I only lift with one technique wheter it's lifting 135 pounds or 350, maybe I need to work on that, but it seems to be doing fine.

Well you are right as usual :wink:. It does make a lot more sense to pick 2 exercies in the horizontal plane (Bench and bent-over rows) or vertical plane (Pull-up and dips) rather than 1 vertical and 1 horizontal. This doesn't matter much to me though as I care more about beastly numbers than BW reps.


I think Eric Cressey recommends your 3rm chin-up(with weight added of course) should add up to your 1 rep max bench.


I think I'd have to disagree with Eric Cressey.


3rm chinup total body weight plus weight added being equal to your 1 rep max bench? Sounds about right actually...


I can do 15 pull-ups and bench my body weight 225*15...