Are You Strong Enough? 6 Strength & Mobility Standards Every Human Should Pass | NoobStrength
Are You Strong Enough?
I realize that I’ve been talking about strength training and physical activity for some time now. If you’re still here, you’ve probably recognized the importance of it all. Maybe you’ve even started doing a routine of some sort. All of that is great news! But I never actually clarified the question everyone is thinking: Are you strong enough? Or are you not quite there yet?
If you’re wondering what being strong enough means, this article is for you. You also might just be someone who is curious about what is “good enough”. So I’ve put together a list of strength and mobility standards that you should be able to pass in order to consider yourself strong enough.
Keep in mind; I assume that you, the reader, are a regular person who is training primarily for health reasons. You may be considering achieving higher levels of athleticism in the future, but that’s not important right now (although I highly encourage you to chase those goals in the future). You have to start somewhere. I also want to clarify that you will find other sites and resources that speak to different standards and there is nothing wrong with that. These are simply the standards that I find to be a good enough starting point for enjoying life to its fullest.
1) Can you Squat at least parallel with a flat back?
You also want to be able to do this with feet shoulder width apart and toes pointing forward or very very slightly turned out (12 degrees or less).
Squatting has been our preferred method of pooping for most of human history. In fact, there are still many countries today that don’t use traditional Western toilets. The citizens of those countries (such as China) still primarily poop in a squat position. Due to toilets being a thing here in America (and other Western countries), many of us have “forgotten” how to squat. Its one of those, “use it or lose it” scenarios.
Not being able to do this indicates monstrous imbalances and tightness in your lower body that can manifest in a number of ways (including back pain or pulling a groin muscle while making some babies). A lot of the time, losing the ability to squat is a result of sitting too much. For starters, I would get up and move as much as you can during the day.
2) Can you lift your arms directly overhead with no back arch
You’ll want your arms to be parallel to your torso and slightly behind your ears. Your spine should be neutral, which means your rib cage can’t pop out. No shrugging the shoulders either. The shoulder blades should be depressed like you’re trying to squeeze your armpit.
Not being able to do this typically occurs when someone spends too much time sitting with a forward slouch, creating imbalances. Like with the squat, try getting up and moving every now and then.
3) Are you strong enough to Deadlift 1.5x(Men)/1x(Women) Bodyweight for 1 Rep?
The deadlift is one of the key strength standards. Sumo, Conventional, Hex Bar, it really doesn’t matter which version you do. Just make sure you’re deadlifting. The deadlift works almost the entire body. It’s also a great indicator of weak links. Is the bar falling out of your hand? Work on grip strength. Having trouble getting off the ground? Work on your quads with some squats. Can’t lock out? Do some kettlebell swings to strengthen the glutes and hips.
4) Are you strong enough to Bench Press 1x(Men)/0.5x(Women) Bodyweight for 1 Rep?
How much you bench, bro? It’s the classic question many of us may get asked in college and high school. And for good reason too. The bench press is a very good metric of upper body strength and is a phenomenal lift for developing an awesome looking chest that makes people drool. Try to get the bar to touch your chest for a full range of motion
5) Can you sit and stand up from the ground with no hands?
If you fall down, you need to be able to get yourself back up. If you can’t, you have a statistically greater chance of dying of any cause. Dying doesn’t sound fun, does it?
6) Are you strong enough to hold a 2-Minute Plank?
The plank yet another quick test of strength. If you are not able to hold a two-minute plank (doesn’t matter if its elbows or push up position), you are not strong enough in your core. Fortunately, all of the large compound lifts (such as deadlifts) require a lot of core activation so you will improve your plank simply by doing those lifts.
So there you have it. Test yourself on these standards. Are you strong enough to pass them all? If not, do not worry. Now you have a goal that you can shoot for. If you’ve smashed these strength standards with flying colors, more power to you! You are on your way to becoming a beastly stud or studette! These mobility & strength standards will protect you from injury and allow you to kick life in the ass and look great doing it.
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I’m a National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) certified personal trainer and StrongFirst Bodyweight Instructor based in West Los Angeles and Santa Monica. I offer 1-on-1 personal training, group/couples training, and online fitness coaching!
If you’re interested in working with me or have any questions, feel free to reach out!