You guys are good. These are exactly the kinds of questions I was hoping for.
Broad Jumping: I haven't grown taller since the last time you saw me. And my friend and dojo mate Rob Parsons (all 6 foot plus) certainly hasn't shrunk any either. Any type of weighing system for us from Lilliput, in comparison to our Gulliver brethren?
Good question, Gene. This is one of those "walk a mile in my shoes" issues.
I've had quite a few big men in my classes through the years. I once had two six-foot-seven guys in my class at the same time - one of whom played small center for a college team. I once had a former judoka and white crane practitioner who admitted to 325. His ukemi were so good, that it reminded me of a scene from Fantasia. Right now I have a couple of 220 pounders working their way through the ranks. All these guys were or are going to be fantastic fighters.
Now consider these guys looking at that chip-up bar. They've got to lug all that weight up and down a few times. If they can do that, Gene, they can probably pick you up and launch you across a room. Meanwhile, you and the little scramblers are probably going to burn through push-ups, chin-ups, and squats. You might even have a decent one-mile time. You don't have that much weight to move around. And at the end of the day, your good numbers mean you are very good at moving a smaller weight around.
The broad jump does several things. First... It gives fast-twitch-muscle assessment of the legs, as well as your ability to call on the dynamic stretch reflex. If you are a good broad jumper and you know how to do a proper Sanchin, you'll likely reflect this ability as explosiveness in your thrusts. It pays homage to the adage "Power comes from the ground up." And yes, you CAN work on this. By putting this in a fitness assessment, I and the folks who put together a similar test are putting everyone on the hook for doing plyometrics and other such drills in their training. Some Uechi folks are, by the way.
When I saw that exercise in Rich's experimental test, it made me smile. Gotta have it!
The mile run on the other hand is more of an endurance and cardiorespiratory assessment. You can get better at this as well with work.
What you will find though (and I will assess the data to prove it) is that there will be a mild, negative correlation between ability on the broad jump and ability on the mile. All training aspects being equal (people having reached their potential), the folks with a higher proportion of fast-twitch muscle fibers will be better broad jumpers, and the folks with a higher proportion of slow-twitch muscle fibers will be better milers. It's a fact of nature. You'll see genetic pockets of people that reflect extremes of these abilities (great milers in high-altitude East Africa, and great sprinter/jumpers in West Africa).
The broad jump also is a bit of an equalizer for size. Big guys - and we NEED big guys - will be better broad jumpers, but might find it more challenging to move those big bodies around in the other events. The smaller types will excel at other events. At the end of the day, your handicaps/advantages are a combination of the weight you carry (which you must push, pull, flex, or drag through all events), and your height/size.
Eyeballing it, I think giving every event equal weight gives us what we want - a test that rewards folks who reach their potential, and who have balanced fitness skills.
What I can and will do, Gene, is to take height and weight data, and maybe a "bone size" assessment. (Doing skin caliper assessments would be good too, but you need a trained person to do that.) I can then look at how variables such as height, weight and BMI affect your abilities to do well on the various events, and combination of events. That then can help me consider how to adjust and score the raw data.
But remember - your raw data are your raw data are your raw data. I can reconfigure the final score 10 different ways to Sunday, but the raw numbers never change. Pay attention to them, and use them as YOUR OWN PERSONAL fitness benchmarks. Tests such as these work best in such a manner.
And are sit-ups like you described safe long term? Just wondering....
Nothing you do in the gym is without risk. What we want to do here is to find the best, easiest, simplest, and safest way to assess
your fitness level.
I don't have the picture of the sit-up right here. I believe it's in a PDF document, so I can't post it. But it's the vanilla way to do them these days. Any fool can stick their feet under something as I did as a kid, bend the knees, and do these sit-ups. It's pretty much a recognized standard.
How you TRAIN for the event is something different. Personally I wouldn't spend too much time doing just the test event. I'd get better personal results by varying how I train my trunk. I would (and do) use a variety of methods to get at upper and lower abdominals, obliques, lumbar muscles, hip flexors, etc. This makes me a better athlete and better able to do my Uechi as hard as I want to. And it will just happen also to make me do the standard sit-up better. If I knew I was going to do this test, I'd throw the exercise in once every few weeks or so, but I personally wouldn't obsess over it. I've got SO many exercises I do that use abdominals in combination with other muscle groups that give me the value I want.
I know one of my associate students over in Nebraska is going to be eager to take this test. He's one of David Lamb's students, and was on the Nebraska football team a few years ago. I know Kevin would see this as something he could do, and wouldn't think to change his training routine too terribly much just to do well only on this. He's a good athlete, worked to be that good athlete, and will do fine because of it.
That's the way it should work - in a perfect world.
Interesting choice having a lat exercise such as the pull up.
My least favorite exercise in the bunch.
I do lat pulldowns in the gym because I can't do enough of those pull-ups to feel I get anything out of them. One thing I do sometimes is have a helper lift the bottom of the feet to help out a little.
I think you train your lats fine, Fred. As I stated above, how you train and how you assess are probably going to be two different things.
I see lots of folks doing chin-ups/pull-ups in the gym. I don't do them, because I've got 3 or 4 other much better ways to train mine at various angles and with various levels of emphasis through the range. I've got all these machines that have variable, adjustable cams, and can dial in exactly the weight I want. I can isolate, and I can use the lats more naturally in conjunction with other muscles in ways that help me with my overall coordination.
And I can also do Sanchin, which helps me work on lats and other muscles via static tension, dynamic movement, etc.
The chin-up is the easy-to-do, wherever-you-are assessment
tool. The weight you pull is your own. Bigger people have more weight to pull up, and ideally have muscle development to match.
Will the pushups be straight through without any breaks?
You've got one minute to do your max. That's not long... I will check in more detail how The Marines and The Army do this, and probably follow a similar methodology. However I insist that we do the elbow-rub-against-body style. There are many very good reasons why we want to do this, not the least of which is that it goes through the line of a Sanchin thrust. It also happens to be the way this experimental test did it, which further validates my approach. I think they did it this way partly because it produces a more-predictable result (lacking an ability to cheat) and because it also assesses deltoid (shoulder) function.
I am in favor of a regular palm pushup.
I'm struggling with this, Fred. My gut agrees with you. But here are some issues to consider.
* In spite of bad-mouthing, a punch is still an Okinawan Karate standard. It's a useful body blow technique.
* Doing a karate knuckle push-up is a really good way also to assess hand and wrist strength. Even if I never
planned to use my fist, I still like how this exercise reflects my weak links. Ideally I'd like the two upper-body exercises to represent a balanced view of the upper body ability, and dig in at the weak links we may have. Thus those who are doing their extra work with jars, dojo toys, etc. might get a few extra knuckle push-ups over the fellow/lassie who avoid work they really should be doing.
* The problem with a karate knuckle push-up is cheating. In my view if you aren't on the front two knuckles, then none of your push-ups count - period. That might be a difficult standard to enforce. And the Wing Chun people might actually disagree with me here, as their punches are very different.
Comments folks? I really want to get this right the first time. Your opinions would be appreciated here.