I don’t give a shit what your personal best is…what can you do right now

This always makes me laugh…next time you are in the gym….ask someone what they bench or what they squat or deadlift…I’ll pretty much guarantee they’ll tell you their personal best. This is just plain retarded…who cares what you did once upon a time….what can you do NOW. People often ask why I test so much and why I don’t give people more time between testing or questions that are actually just statements phrased as questions…what they are really trying to say is that I test too much and that I should give athletes more time between testing. Well let me tell you a few things.
1. Testing is not a life or death situation…I mean this is obvious…but you would see that it isn’t obvious to some people…I have a heap of chokers…athletes that fall to pieces in testing to the extent that they’ve done more in training than they are able to get out in the session we call ‘testing’. However, if you test often enough…which you will if I’m coaching you….eventually it doesn’t become a big deal…it is just something you do every 4-6 weeks.
2. In relation to point 1…learning to deal with pressure and being able to punch out a performance when asked is a good ability to have if you’re an athlete. Being able to ‘lift your game’ when you need to…often guys come in feeling like shit….who cares…not me….we test anyway. Even if it’s bad…you do it again in 4 weeks and it becomes just a blip….if you feel bad and you do well….then excellent…it should give you confidence in your ability to ‘dig out’ a performance when needed.
3. Testing takes time to get used to…there are a lot of things you need to become accustomed to…for example. The order of testing…we bench for 1RM, do pull ups for reps to failure, then as many push ups then inverted rows as possible in 60 seconds followed by a 1RM trap bar deadlift. If you have a huge miss on your bench….I mean a grinding it out for 3-5 seconds off the chest only to miss…you are going to be fried for the rest of your testing….or if you hit a massive PB on your bench…you will also generally be fried for the rest of your testing. You can apply this rule anywhere along the testing time line with the exception of the last lift. Any outstanding performance will take a good bit out of you…but you have to suck it up and get on with it.
4. Testing is fun. It is a chance to rub your dominance and superiority in everyone else’s face and the often you get to do that the better.

I tested with Paul when he had his testing on Monday and these were my results:
Bench – 140kg
Pull Ups – 9 reps
Push Ups – 39 reps
Inverted Rows – 21 reps
Trap Bar Deadlift – 180kg

Now that’s pretty ordinary…not bad…not great…I’ve been back training properly for 4 weeks now…so I tested and that’s where I am at. That information is a lot more valuable to me than my list of PB’s…which read:
Bench – 195kg
Pull Ups – 18 reps
Push Ups – 72 reps
Inverted Rows – 41 reps
Trap Bar Deadlift – 265kg

I’m NOT a 195kg bencher…I’m a 140kg bencher…I can’t do 18 pull ups…I can do 9….do you see where this is going. Personal bests are fine but they don’t mean a thing. You are what you are NOW.

I have written my program and I am going to test on the 1st of July and I am going to do the following:
Bench – 150kg
Pull Ups -12 reps
Push Ups – 50 reps
Inverted Rows – 30 reps
Trap Bar Deadlift – 200kg

If I don’t do that then I will have to make a new plan. Because by the start of the next AIL season I want to do the following:
Bench – 175kg
Pull Ups – 20 reps
Push Ups – 80 reps
Inverted Rows – 45 reps
Trap Bar Deadlift – 250kg

To do that though I have to keep training, keep testing and keep passing all the milestones along the way.

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12 thoughts on “I don’t give a shit what your personal best is…what can you do right now

  1. Cool!

    I wondered what order you did the exercises! We’ve experimented a bit with the order, just to see what happened. I’m glad it’s normal for certain exercises to screw up the numbers of other ones!

    A quick question … Are the trap bar deadlift numbers equivalent to normal deadlift numbers?

    And we’ve been doing olympic ring chinups—there’s no bar where we train (and my thinking was that chinups on the rings give me roughly the same numbers as pullups on a bar).

    Cheers!

    • Cool!

      I wondered what order you did the exercises!
      Have you not read the blog?

      We’ve experimented a bit with the order, just to see what happened.
      No experimentation is permitted. I have patented testing and the exercises…also send me €$£1000 and I will send you a certificate.

      I’m glad it’s normal for certain exercises to screw up the numbers of other ones!
      It most certainly is normal.

      A quick question … Are the trap bar deadlift numbers equivalent to normal deadlift numbers?
      No. My straight bar deadlift PB was 230kg when I pull 265kg on the trap bar. There isn’t standard difference between the 2 lifts but they are very different.

      And we’ve been doing olympic ring chinups—there’s no bar where we train (and my thinking was that chinups on the rings give me roughly the same numbers as pullups on a bar).
      I doubt it. A fixed bar would be far easier for the majority of people.

      Cheers!

      • I’ve always found pullups slightly more challenging than chinups (maybe one or two reps less). That’s why I thought doing chinups on olympic rings would equate to pullups on a bar … I may have underestimated the extra effort of using rings 🙂

  2. Kira,

    I think experimenting is fine but I wouldn’t do it too much or your results will be skewed. I don’t want to put words in Will’s mouth but I think he only does it that way because that’s the way he does it, not because it’s some sort of magic order. The aim of any test is to have it as empirical and repeatable as possible so the order is only important as a constant. You’re already fighting a lot of variables mentioned in Will’s post anyway.

    Anyway I love personal bests. I bet you’ve all heard some versions of these hits:
    “Yeah I’ve benched 150kg, but that was before my shoulder injury”
    “My PB on the squat is 130kgs, but I don’t really squat anymore so…”

    Anyway I only ever believe PBs when it’s done either in a competition or on a testing day. I benched 90kgs two weeks ago (a PB) but I didn’t get a touch on my chest. Now I think it was like a hair away, but I can’t rely on what I think, as it was probably actually 6 inches off. Everyone is the same.

    • Barry said

      Kira,
      I think experimenting is fine but I wouldn’t do it too much or your results will be skewed.
      Exactly.
      I don’t want to put words in Will’s mouth but I think he only does it that way because that’s the way he does it, not because it’s some sort of magic order.
      I keep waiting for Barry to say something here that I think is shit just so I can shoot him down. But essentially I’ve tested in this particular order for about 14 years.
      The aim of any test is to have it as empirical and repeatable as possible so the order is only important as a constant. You’re already fighting a lot of variables mentioned in Will’s post anyway.

      Anyway I love personal bests. I bet you’ve all heard some versions of these hits:
      “Yeah I’ve benched 150kg, but that was before my shoulder injury”
      “My PB on the squat is 130kgs, but I don’t really squat anymore so…”

      Anyway I only ever believe PBs when it’s done either in a competition or on a testing day. I benched 90kgs two weeks ago (a PB) but I didn’t get a touch on my chest. Now I think it was like a hair away, but I can’t rely on what I think, as it was probably actually 6 inches off.
      I almost guarantee that it would have been a minimum 6 inches off your chest.

      Everyone is the same.
      Except me….my Mum says that I’m special.

    • Hey Barry,

      Yeh, I get the point of the test is to measure improvement. But initially we were playing with it weekly, just to see how the order effects things. We always use the same order when we’re actually trying to gauge progress 🙂

      • I would actually stay away from the testing format for pretty much everything bar testing. I know it’s tempting to play with them week on week and aside from the fact that they’re not an optimum workout I think it’s really important to make those days either a real challenge to look towards, or a real threat to dread.

        Will has about a billion ideas for Informed Performance Gym, and about 90% of them are terrible, but one of his best is the testing day. I’m already looking forward to the first one I think it’s going to be a really incredible experience for everyone involved.

  3. Anyway I love personal bests. I bet you’ve all heard some versions of these hits:
    “Yeah I’ve benched 150kg, but that was before my shoulder injury”

    ah crap i do this all the time! haha

    hmmm ive been avoiding testing since i done in my shoulder. . i have been ‘guessing’ and sayin well if i done 5×5’s of that i’d guestimate i could do this’ . .

    ive just realised that im a pussy

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