Litmus Test – Upper Body Pulling

A litmus test is a gauge of progress in program design. If your prescription has been targeting a specific quality in fitness, a litmus test communicates honesty in the development of that quality.

Litmus tests are in principle:
1) Repeatable, data driven
2) Complimentary to training

Following the conclusion of 15.2, I decided to take a closer look at an OPEX litmus test, which appeared in last December’s annual online competition:

For time
UB CTB chinups
Must break btwn each set

This litmus shows capacity in upper body pulling, specifically proficiency and pacing with chest-to-bar chinups.

I compared all eligible male and female scores from the 2014 OPEX Winter Classic to their results in 15.2. I then created five groups of scores based on the highest achieved round in 15.2. The results are as follows and show average time to complete 1-to-10 UB CTB chinups with standard deviation:

                                                                        Males                                        Females
2:12 +/- 0:32                         20s: NA
2:30 +/- 1:02                          18s: 2:57 +/- 0:55
4:05 +/- 1:53                          16s: 6:41 +/- 2:54
7:05 +/- 2:40                          14s: 7:58 +/- 2:30
9:25 +/- 1:29                          12s: NA

What immediately strikes me is the clear distribution of scores in this litmus relative to the round achieved in 15.2. Individuals who performed well on one generally performed well on the other. This makes complete sense. Not to be matter-of-fact, but that’s why it is such a good litmus – it tests the necessary qualities of the sport.

The benefit to performing 1-to-10 UB CTB chinups, as opposed to simply repeating something like 15.2, is that the volume is not impeding on training or recovery in subsequent days.

And as a general rule, Regional-level males and females ought to shoot for times faster than 1:34 and 1:47, respectively. This indicates a 98th percentile score, which is generally the minimal threshold for qualification to Regionals from the Open. Top scores for both genders can fall between 1:10-1:20.

Coach Matt Springer

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