Speed and Strength: Testing Methods

Everyone has a different idea on what we should test, how and why. I used to be a 2-rep max tester for bench, back squat, and hang clean. Then I progressed to 2-rep for bench, front squat and hang clean. All in all, I really couldn’t see total “gains” because I didn’t test on day one. I didn’t because it wasn’t safe; guys weren’t prepared physically, and the lifts and spotting techniques hadn’t been properly taught on day 1 or even week 1. On top of that, it took two years to teach the kids proper depth on squats in order to test them and count them. We would lose more time putting weight on and off and doing 1″ squats that didn’t count.


Steve Kenyon believes in testing things you can test on day 1 safely. He tests the 40, 20 shuttle, vertical leap, standing broad jump, and a kneeling Med Ball pass (6lbs for males, 3kg for females). Everyone can do those tests, there’s limited teaching, and almost no safety risk.

If our goals are safety, teachability and technique this is perfect. And of course those are our goals!

My testing in the weight room:

Bench at a safe weight for reps, racked hang clean at a safe weight for reps, and back squats at a safe weight for reps… why?

My field testing:

40, 10, 20 shuttle and vert



I’m considering testing the 40 just because, but then testing some actual drills that transfer to football that I saw here, that really work with Dale Baskett’s stuff:

Below are faults in a “testing” combine:

Slack in the rope will yank his back putting excessive pressure on his spine. Why wouldn’t you just drive the sled instead of pulling it? Do we ever pull weight in football? No, but we do drive it when we’re blocking.

Below, the hex bar dead lift/squat whatever you want to call it… why? Are we training bellboys picking up luggage or football players?

There’s no spot technique, and why is that random kid standing so close? The “coach” actually calls him over to stand there, maybe to block the sun? Why isn’t this under a tent? Why bench at all? Again, our transferability is LOW.

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