May 18, 2016 | John Paul Catanzaro
Each year you should test your strength levels not only for structural balance, but also to determine the optimal frequency of training.
Choose one major lift to test per month like the squat, deadlift, bench press, pull-up, or parallel-bar dip. Perform the test using low reps the 1st week, moderate reps the 2nd week, and high reps the 3rd week (take the 4th week off from testing). You can repeat the process with a different lift the following month.
Here’s how it works:
Low-Rep Recovery Test
After a few warm-up sets, perform one all-out set with a 5 repetition maximum (RM) load.
The following day, do as many reps as possible with that 5RM load. Record the number of reps.
The day after that, do as many reps as possible with the original 5RM load. Record the number of reps.
Continue that process for up to 7 days.
The session that produces the greatest number of reps will give you an idea of the optimal number of recovery days for that lift during a maximum strength phase.
Moderate-Rep Recovery Test
Now repeat the process again using a 10RM load. This will give you an idea of the optimal number of recovery days for that lift during a hypertrophy phase.
High-Rep Recovery Test
Finally, repeat the process one more time using a 20RM load. You may need to use an assisted chin/dip machine for pull-ups and dips. This will give you an idea of the optimal number of recovery days for that lift during a muscular endurance phase.
It’s by no means a perfect system, but it should give you a pretty good idea of how many recovery days you need for a lift at different intensities.