Modern Life and The Slow Decline

Nick Crocker
Jan 11, 2015 · 5 min read

The Athletic Combine

There isn’t a single, defined standard for athletic excellence in adults. So I decided to try and create one:

  • Second, I recorded every type of exercise used in each of the benchmarking tests to try and identify what they were actually testing.
  • I sent a draft of the test to everyone I know who had an educated opinion on this kind of thing. These people included strength & conditioning coaches for professional sports teams, former professional athletes (golf & rugby), former military personel, crazy friends who row from California to Hawaii, Crossfitters and ultra-marathoners.
  • Finally, using all the feedback I received, I narrowed the list down to a final, single benchmarking test.

The Test V1.0

  1. Agility
  • Broad Jump — For distance.
  • 20lb Overhead Medicine Ball Throw — For distance.
  • Bench Press — AMRAP, Fixed Weight
  • Pull-Ups — AMRAP
  • Farmer’s Walk — Fixed weight, for distance.

Leaving Out

One of the hardest things about this test is what to leave out. For the sake of debate, here are some tests that were considered, but not included:

  • Power Cleans
  • 10m Sprint
  • Push-Ups
  • Overhead Press
  • Explosive Smith Machine
  • Illinois Agility Test
  • 2k Row
  • 100m run
  • 100m swim
  • 400m run
  • 100 calories on an Airdyne (a Gym Jones special).

Naming It: SYNAPSES

It’s easier to talk about things when they have a name. I’ve called this the SYNAPSES test.

  • Power
  • Strength
  • Endurance
  • Speed

Addendum: Common Athletic Benchmarking Tests

  1. Crossfit (Cardiovascular and Respiratory endurance, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Coordination, Agility, Balance, and Accuracy).
  • Barbara: (5x, 3 minutes between sets) 20 Pull-Ups, 30 Push-Ups, 40 Sit-Ups, 50 Squats
  • Chelsea: (Each minute, on the minute, for 30 minutes) 5 Pull-Ups, 10 Push-Ups, 15 Squats
  • Diane: (21–15–9 reps, 3 rounds for time) Deadlift 225 lbs, Handstand push-ups
  • Elizabeth: (21–15–9 reps, 3 rounds for time) Clean 135 lbs, Ring dips
  • Fran: (21–15–9 reps, 3 rounds for time) Thruster 95 lbs, Pull-ups
  • Bench press (225 lb repetitions)
  • Vertical jump
  • Broad jump
  • 20 yard shuttle
  • 3 cone drill
  • 60-yard shuttle
  • Cybex Test (for agility)
  • 20 yard shuttle
  • Kneeling power ball toss
  • Vertical jump
  • Agility
  • Kneeling power ball toss
  • Vertical jump
  • Jump 60 Yard Shuttle
  • Max Bench Press
  • Max Pull Ups
  • 400 Meter Run
  • Wall Sit
  • Burpee
  • 5K Run
  • Medicine Ball Overhead Toss
  • Plank Hold
  • Max Push Ups
  • Max Squat Press
  • Sit-Ups
  • Chin-Ups
  • 5 Mile Run
  • 42 push-ups in two minutes
  • 50 sit-ups in two minutes
  • 6 consecutive dead hang pull-ups
  • 1.5 mile run in “boots and trousers” in under 11:30
  • 50 deadlifts at 135 pounds
  • 50 push-ups
  • 50 box jumps on to a 24-inch box
  • 50 floor wipers at 135 pounds
  • 50 clean and presses at 36 pounds
  • 25 pull-ups
  • Power: Vertical jump test.
  • Speed: 20 meter sprint.
  • Agility: AFL agility test.
  • Anaerobic Capacity: anaerobic sprint-recovery test.
  • Endurance: Beep test, 3 kilometer time-trial.
  • Flexibility: Sit and reach test.
  • Deadlifting
  • Clean & Press
  • Loading
  • Carrying
  • Flipping/Pulling

Bonus: Metabolic Benchmarking?

Something interesting to do in parallel with athletic benchmarking would be tracking your metabolic markers. For example:

  • A basic Wellness FX panel “measures 25+ biomarkers including a basic lipid panel, complete blood count, glucose, and thyroid”. You may want to measure more, including testosterone and Vitamin D. Lots of options here.
  • And a range of other ‘optionals’: CBC, Electrolytes, Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, Magnesium, Liver Function and Thyroid.

Nick Crocker

Things I’ve Written

    Nick Crocker

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    General Partner @BlackbirdVC. Supporting Australian startups @Startmate. Sequencing the journey to build strength along the way.

    Nick Crocker

    Things I’ve Written