Numbers don’t lie, and they don’t have much for bedside manners, so leave your safe spaces and see where you stand in the iron jungle.
In a time where all kinds of hierarchies and age-old standards of dominance are crumbling around us, those who lift still know a thing or two about rankings. The first days you stumbled into a weight room, eyes gleaming at the titans throwing weight that you could only dream of. You knew they had authority, and they had your respect. Now, after years of paying your dues, learning from the alpha males, and even crafting your own techniques, it’s your time to stand in the light. Or is it? These tests will help you determine if you’ve earned the right to be one of those examples, or if you’re still only halfway up the mountain.
The Lift To End All Lifts
The deadlift. Exercises don’t get more savage than this one, and this test isn’t pulling any punches. It’s a one rep max, and there’s no cheating on a deadlift.
Plant your feet, check your mental form list, and pull that bar like you’re saving a bus full of cheerleaders. If deadlifts aren’t currently part of your training program, you’re living wrong. After finding your 1RM, consult the chart:
Piss Poor – Less than your bodyweight (Come on, bro)
Average – Bodyweight (Who ever got anywhere with average?)
Above Average – 3 or more repetitions with your bodyweight (You’re getting warmer)
2nd in Command – Twice your bodyweight (Respect)
Alpha Male – Over twice your bodyweight (Defend the Throne)
The Weighted Pull-Up Test
If you’re in any way an impressive figure in the barbell jungle, bodyweight pull-ups would simply take too long; therefore, let’s add a bit on.
Grab that bar wide (like a man) and find your three-rep max. The game is to keep adding weight until getting more than two reps is a thing of the past. Once again, consult the chart:
Piss Poor – One rep at your bodyweight, coupled with falling off the bar in shame. (Seriously?)
Average – Three reps with your bodyweight. (Look around town, you don’t want average)
Above Average – Three reps at bodyweight, plus 10-15 pounds. (Moving on up)
2nd in Command – Three reps at bodyweight, plus 25-35 pounds. (Respect)
Alpha Male – Three or more reps at bodyweight, plus 50-60 pounds. (Crowds gather)
Continued on the next page…
Everybody Clap (for gains)
Let’s test your power. So far we’ve measured slow strength (maximal weight moved), but power is a matter of work done divided by time.
The Plyometric or “clapping” push-up is an excellent movement for developing this speed-strength attribute; therefore, a standout way to pit you all against each other in a clap-off to failure. Once more, refer to the chart:
Piss Poor – Can’t clap. (nobody is clapping for this)
Average – At least one rep with a solid clap. (Hey, one is better than none)
Above Average – Three to Five reps in a row. (Now you’re getting somewhere)
2nd in Command – Up to 10 unbroken reps. (Respect)
Alpha Male – 10 or more unbroken reps, or even lifting your entire body at once. (Get the popcorn and protein shakes, people are going to want to watch this)
Pro Tip – Take your pec plyometrics to a whole new level by strapping on a weighted vest during your sets. Improving your explosiveness and overall power will greatly help the development of fast twitch muscle fibers (the larger ones), improving performance and aesthetics.
Where Do You Stand?
In a time where teachers, parents, and government officials alike are handing out participation trophies like they’re going out of style, we feel the need to stress that not everyone is a winner, but that can be changed.
All successful people know that the world isn’t an equal playing field, and those same people did what they had to do to change it — gave 100%. If you happen to fall in the “average” category, don’t sit on the abduction/adduction machine, cry and order online steroids; instead, examine your life and make the necessary adjustments. You know what to do.