So you made it! Our three-block off-season cycle is over and you may be sick of shoulder pressing, squatting, and deadlifting but the progress was obvious from our perspective. According to the template we have laid out for the year next in the hopper we have 2 test weeks before we move into pre-season.
There are many potential reasons for testing outcomes and they all serve a slightly different purpose. Ultimately, test weeks are a break in the rhythm and signal the start of a new phase. The important thing to note is that training (what we do day-to-day) and testing (what we will be doing these 2 weeks) is not the same thing.
Testing is different than training. It requires your best effort and in some workouts requires you to adopt a strategy in order to maximize your outcome. For instance you may choose to intentionally break a set of push-ups into really small chunks to minimize your total rest time due to fatigue later on when in a normal workout you might push to go unbroken for as long as possible. Testing is also generally much lower volume; typically we will only do one workout piece in a class or 2 very small pieces. You won’t see high volume lifting or gymnastic EMOMs during test week. Lastly, while technique and safety will always be the highest priority, quality of movement is likely to be less of a focus during testing. Your coach will not stop you to fix a problem as long as what you are doing is safe for you and others the same way they might during a regular training session.
The core characteristics of a test week are:
Because of these characteristics they are not designed to increase your fitness, only provide a benchmark as to where you currently stand. That isn’t to say you won’t get more fit by participating in test week, just that they are not sustainable as a long term strategy for increasing fitness.
Well, I don’t want to give it all away but I will give you a few and a few hints:
and this Gem….
So strap in and enjoy the ride over the next 2 weeks. Even if you are only doing this purely for fitness test week is still for you. You’ll get a chance to benchmark where you are and what you should work on. The team will be there cheering you on and in the end you’ll maybe work a bit harder than normal.