How to Start Bending Steel Like Superman

There are several traits that Superman has that, sadly, you’ll never be able to acquire like x-ray vision, flying, or changing the course of mighty rivers, but there is one you can learn: bending steel with your bare hands. This old-time strongman feat is not only an impressive way to display strength and power, but is also a great way to take your strength from average to imposing. Last week I posted a video on Instagram of myself bending a nail which generated a lot of questions and emails. I asked my friend Robby Sparango, a coach at P360 Performance in Mission Beach, CA and avid bender to outline how to get started bending steel.

Bending metal with your bare hand seems kind of stupid why would you want to do this?

Asks the guy who routinely jumps out of airplanes! Two reasons stand out more so amongst dozens that come to mind. First and most imperative, it strengthens your lower arms. The hands, wrists and forearms are undoubtedly the weakest link in most people. Even those who train consistently are likely neglecting these areas, inhibiting their potential. Our hands have a monumental work capacity that has been reduced to dormancy in the age of pencil pushing and button tapping. The requirements to wake those monsters up are daunting. This is why high caliber benders are so impressive and are typically very, very strong in many arenas. The second reason is associated to the first, they carry over to your lifts. Hand strength is correlated to nerve force. If your brain thinks your hands can’t handle something it pulls the emergency-brake on your entire system. Bending is an excellent tool to find your force boundaries, then train accordingly to increase that nerve force progressively. As your hands/wrists get stronger, your lifts will feel easier.

What kind of base level of strength do you need to get started bending?

I’d say a double-bodyweight deadlift is a minimum prerequisite. Seems arbitrary but my rationale is this, bending requires an elementary understanding of creating tension, muscular recruitment and mental fortitude to grind through lifts. There is  easier steel to start with but it will not teach you much, if anything. You must have awareness of what true resistance feels like, a lockout where seconds seem like minutes is a great precursor. Presumably those interested in bending are already somewhat versed in strength training, so this shouldn’t be much of an obstacle.

What is a typical progression in terms of difficulty starting from something a beginner could do towards a bend that would earn you a bro fist bump?

Most beginners will get their hands on some light stock ranging between 5-7 inches at 3/16 thick. Pretty much anyone is gonna blast through that, so up next would be a 6-7 inch, 1/4 grade 2 bolt. These make for good technical instruction and positional awareness without taxing your joints. This would be a beginners first pride inducing bend.  A spectrum of stock thus ensues ranging from 40d nails, “yellow”, “blue” nails and spiral 60d’s. A beginners first “bro fist-bump worthy” bend I’d say, would be a 6 inch long, 1/4 grade 5 bolt. Many would say a 60D nail but I’ve seen plenty of dudes hit a 60D on their first try, only to get their ass handed to them by the grade 5. As a beginner you’ll be thrilled to get a 60d no doubt, but once you get a grade 5 under your belt you’ll know it’s another level entirely, and confidently smash every 60d without hesitation. Once you become a bit more experienced a 1/4 grade 8 bolt is highly respectable and well deserving of a fist bump.

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If someone wants to get started right away what should they pick up?

Without a doubt, Jedd Johnson’s (DieselCrew) Nail Bending eBook and/or Nail Bending DVD are indispensable. He has done all the homework for you. Progressions, technique, safety, training, you name it. The bending stock however will depend on your access to steelyards or the legitimacy of your local hardware store. IronMinds “bag of nails” will likely be a beginners first purchase as well. I don’t know if Fat Bastard Barbell Co [editor's note: sadly, it does not appear that they are.] is still up and running, but I would routinely purchase bolts from them as my local hardware stores don’t carry the specific stock I require. You will also need wraps. Naturally, IronMind has their own IMP’s (IronMind Pads) which you will need if you plan on certifying on the red nail. Suede wraps are also great for volume training as they will help you develop your strength without chewing your hands up. I get my suede wraps from David Horne. [Editor's note: you can usually find various leather scraps at a fabric store that work well.]

Let’s say you were coaching a beginner through their first cycle of bending what would you have them do?

Test the movements! Bending is an entirely different animal than most are accustomed to, even strong folks. I think testing in this discipline is the best way to maintain proficiency and prevent injury. I never bend on a day it doesn’t test well.  There are also an array of bending  “styles” that work better for people, so we’d want to determine which style will be the most effective for the individual. My bending style is double overhand, I have very long, mobile arms and can generate a lot of force this way. However, I am also much, much smaller (5’7, buck fifty soaking wet) than most who take to bending, they tend to be larger men with whom mobility may be limited due to muscle mass, so another style may be better suited, such as double underhand or reverse style. Most important, videotape yourself! this is the best way to gain awareness of your technique, as your eyes will likely slam shut during most bends.

Anything new benders should watch out for that you’ve learned the hard way?

Be patient and keep the volume low to start. Benders will tell you that they age in dog years, so be sure prior to your sessions you are fully warmed up. Expect a bit of tendonitis around the elbows early on, but there are great preventative measures to keep serious injuries at bay. Also, treat the bends as you would any other lift.  Don’t think because you got one bend once that you can scratch it of your list. If your goal is a 6 inch grade 8 bolt, be sure you’re hitting grade 5′s for triples. Once you know your optimal bending style, practice the other ones with lighter stock as well to compliment your strength. For example I pull conventional for deadlifts, so I consistently pull behind the back and sumo as well. As such, I practice reverse and double underhand bends whenever it feels appropriate. And of course listen to your body, if it doesn’t feel right then let it go. Hit it next time.

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What are good resources if someone wants to dig deeper and learn more?

DieselCrew’s Nail Bending eBook by Jedd Johnson for certain. [Editor's note: Robby mentioned this book twice because it's that good, pick it up if you want to bend.] It’s the one and only comprehensive “how to” for bending out there. You’ll also find that nearly every grip guy has delved into bending at some point, so another resource would be the gripboard.com. It is a forum where any and every detail is covered regarding grip and bending by fellas who’ve been there and done that.  Just as beneficial would be Youtube. Nearly everyone who bends has a channel with instructional tutorials, technical advice and of course PR / Certification attempts. I could drop a dozen names here, but Daniel Reinard is a cyborg with the training cleverness and strength to match. As we’re both in Cali I try to hit any grip competition he’s at to get some face-time with him. Which brings me to the best resource, training partner(s). As in any strength training regimen, find yourself some pragmatic grunts who’ll not only push you, but who also understand that bending isn’t merely brute force. There is skill, technique, and an unyielding willpower required that may easily send big guys egos packing if they can’t get a bend the first time. Surround yourself with like minded folks and accelerate your progress exponentially.

Robby SparangoRobby Sparango is level 1 Performance 360 coach, gripsport competitor, practitioner of oldetime strongman feats and recent arm wrestling noob living in Mission Beach, CA. He’s a strength enthusiast obsessed with lifting heavy who actively seeks out the most experienced folks for competitions and workshop they hold, wherever in the country they may be. Y’all can see the stuff he bends or lifts or plays with when he’s not doing those things on Instagram or Facebook of course.

How Long Will it Take?

The answer is a lot longer than you might hope for, but you won’t notice how long it takes.

The other day a newer member at The Movement Minneapolis approached me with a question. Now the following isn’t meant to pick on him, as he’s the latest in a long line of people who have asked me the same question, or some form of it. The question was basically:

“How long will it take me to get to x% body fat at y weight?”

In this case the numbers happened to be numbers that would reflect a sort of ideal or dream physique for a male of average height. Sometimes the numbers reflect a huge amount of fat loss. Notably, no one ever asks me how long it will take to lose 3 pounds of fat, or gain one pound of muscle. They’re always life-changing amounts. And before you think I am exaggerating I will tell you, make no mistake, losing 50+ pounds of fat or gaining 10+ pounds of muscle are life-altering events.

Physiologically the answer is really pretty simple and easy to calculate. Fat loss happens safely and sustainably at a rate of around 1 pound per week (men and women), give or take a quarter pound. Muscle gain occurs at about 1-2 pounds per year for an experienced natural lifter (in women it may be a fraction of that.) A new lifter could see a large increase quickly, but that rate doesn’t last.

If it were as simple as doing the math you could lose 50 pounds per year, or put on 10 pounds of muscle mass in 5, let’s call it 4 years.

Except that it’s not.

The number of people who can move linearly and optimally towards body comp changes is so small that it’s not even worth considering. These people are the outliers, the exceptions. If you are one of those people all you need to do is pick a plan and follow it. You could use Off The Floor if you wanted to get freaky strong, Get Stronger Faster to build a solid foundation of athletic strength, LGN365 from my buddy JC Deen if you want to build muscle while losing fat, or jump into Weight Loss Made Simple if your primarily goal is fat loss.

For the other 99% you need to acknowledge a reality. It’s going to take at least that long and probably longer. You may not have the skills or information you need to progress consistently. If you do have the skills, you may not always have the will to do what is needed.

Having a timeline of how long it is “supposed” to take imposes the belief in a false reality upon you. Now when you’re not one-quarter to your target in the allotted time you feel the impending failure and you become discouraged. The timeline itself becomes the thing that negates your progress.

This is depressing.  What can you actually do?

Move towards better one step, one decision, and one day at a time.

Keep showing up to train. Consistently.

Learn new skills that make pursuing your goals easier.

These are the actions that, over time, give rise to mold-breaking and life-changing body composition changes. Show up to the gym three times per week, add a little protein to most of your meals, and skip a snack you don’t really need once in a while and in a year people will be asking you what you’ve been doing after they finally recognize you.

It will take a while, but when you get there you won’t even care how long it took.

Pregression Is The New Regression

“I don’t like that word, regression. I think we should call it a pregression.”

At that moment the roof of the gym parted, angels started playing trumpets, champagne rained from the heavens and a radiant light shone down upon us.

My friend and client, Jane, had solved a problem that had been plaguing me for years.

I hate the word regression. I hate it because it fundamentally contradicts one of my core beliefs that the only thing that matter is starting where you are and moving where you can. Regression implies that you should be “here” but you’re not so you need to do something that isn’t as good. The word literally means a return to a former state. If you’ve never been there then it’s not a regression at all.

pregression_regression

However, something that you do before you can do something else is exactly what we’re talking about. A push-up with your hands elevated is a pregression to a push-up with your hands on the floor. You do that now so you can do a full push-up later. You do a full push-up now so that you can do a feet-elevated push-up later.

I’m not interested in making people feel small or belittled, but I know for a fact that using the word regression makes some people feel exactly that. If I can change the experience my clients are going to have for the better simply by changing one word that is a no-brainer decision for me.

Words matter. Words alter the way we view and perceive the world. Second only to action, changing your words is the quickest path to changing your thoughts and changing your mind.

What if we were to change the entire perspective of how our clients and we look at and describe pregressions and progressions of exercise by making this simple language change?

 

Success is Greater Than Failure is Greater Than Inaction

I knew as soon as the words left my mouth I regretted it. They weren’t my words, and I was just parroting back something I had heard way too often.

“Just keep failing. Just keep failing until you figure it out.”

Ugh. I wince just hearing myself repeat it in my head. It has been bothering me since that day. I was doing an interview with Tyler Bramlett and at the very end he hit me with one final question, “what’s your secret to success?” And that’s how I responded.

Here’s the thing: failure is absolutely an option. No matter what you do at some point you are going to fail. You may fail in a big or spectacular way, or you might fail in some tiny insignificant way. Either way you’re going to fail at some point.

Success however doesn’t come from failure. Success comes from… wait for it… wait for it… success. success_500To be sure you will learn some things from failures along the way to success, and some people will fail more often than they succeed. That doesn’t change the fact that ultimately to succeed, you have to succeed! Success moves you closer and closer to your goal, whatever it may be.

I would argue that even the tiniest successful step forward has a greater net effect of moving you towards your goal than a failure, even if that failure moves you infinitesimally closer to your goal.

Failures teach you what not to do, success teaches you what to do.

You can’t guarantee success which is why it’s so important to just take action even if you ultimately fail. Doing is always, always, always more powerful than not doing. Don’t believe me? Tell someone you’re trying to teach a skill or a task to what not to do and watch them find new and creative ways to screw it up. Tell them what to do and while it may not be perfect on the first or third rep, it will get better and better each time.

Even further, success is not an end state, a mindset, or an outcome. No one is ever “successful.” Rather, success is how we describe a series of successful action steps. Want to be a success or be successful? Rack up the wins.

The takeaway is this: if you can figure out how to make your steps small enough and correct enough that you succeed you will win over, and over again. So if I could revise my statement, I’d say: “Just keep succeeding. Just keep succeeding until your successes get bigger and bigger.”

This Is a Weird Bank Account

Imagine a bank account whose balance grows every day. The amount varies based on various factors like your balance and some of your financial decisions, but no matter what it always gets money deposited into it every day.bank-accounts

This bank account has a couple more interesting features. You can spend as much as you want out of it, and it will still be continuously replenished. There is only one “catch” so to speak. If you spend into the negative, your balance will still grow but you will be required to pay 50% interest on what you spend past your available balance. What’s more you won’t know when the bank is going to ask for the repayment.

Would you sign up for this new type of account the financial wizards of Wall St. have come up with?

Believe it or not, this is a fitting analogy for the body and how it handles stress. Your body is very much like a bank account that is constantly being replenished. Provided you go to sleep at night, you wake each morning restored, renewed, and on some level better than before depending on what you “spent” on stresses the day before.

Here’s the other important similarity. Your body, like your bank account, doesn’t differentiate what you spend money, or stress, on. Necessary expenses diminish your bank account just as frivolities do, and your body doesn’t distinguish stress either. Your boss yelling at you carries roughly the same amount of cost as a workout. It’s all stress.

It’s not good, or bad, it’s just stress.

But not when you go into a negative balance – whether it be by necessity or carelessness – you will pay for it.

Undesirable body composition, unexplained illnesses, lethargy, poor output or performance are the costs, the high interest repayments that you must make for spending past your limit.

On the other hand, if you take your available balance into account and only spend (apply stress) within your limits your balance grows and grows. You get better and better all the time without paying the high cost for overdoing it.

The better you account for the myriad stressors in your life and training the better your training progress will be. This is not one of those “try this, it might work for you” statements. This is an absolute fact. How exactly you do that is up to you, and there are various solutions.

I set out to write Lift Weights Faster and Smarter because I see too many people spending willy-nilly with their conditioning workouts. Well-designed workouts can only take you so far when they are not programmed specifically for YOU and what is going on with YOU at this very moment.

lwf_3d_cover_250Biofeedback, of course, plays an important role. I go into the details of the protocol I’ve come up with in Lift Weights Faster and Smarter which is available as a FREE bonus to anyone who picks up Lift Weights Faster at the launch sale price this week. I’ve also made it available by itself since a ton of people emailed and asked about it earlier this week. Click here to grab it on it’s own.

The big thing I want you to take away is that you’ve already got this amazing bank account that replenishes itself every day. All you have to do is be careful with your spending.

How to Lift Weights Faster and Smarter

The weeks since the Lift Weights Faster launch have been a blast with all the tweets, Facebooks, and emails about people doing the workouts. Twitter especially is full of the #liftweightsfaster hashtag.lwf_3d_cover_250

Ever since the book launched I have had an idea in the back of my mind, and I started working on it soon after all of the hard work of the launch died down. Today I sent this out as a gift to anyone who already bought Lift Weights Faster through me and I want to offer it to you today as well.

See, I have a bit of a dark secret when it comes to conditioning work. And it’s not just that I hate doing it.

My problem with it stems from how it’s applied. In short it’s prescriptive – not adaptive. In teaching strength training I always teach people to move towards making things easy and doing just the right amount to be a stimulus for change. But in conditioning work the rigid formats and the intention to do it in the least amount of time possible often conflicts with the minimal effective amount ideal.

With strength training the application of this seems to more intuitive. We choose our movements, and make modifications to them, by testing them with biofeedback. We stop sets before it gets hard and use biofeedback to determine when we reach the minimal effective amount. It’s all very simple, intuitive, and straightforward.

But for whatever reason, it all goes off the rails when it comes to conditioning. There is a better way.

So I sat down to create a structure that reconciled these ideas and allowed you to customize your conditioning work just as much as you do your strength training. This became Lift Weights Faster and Smarter.

The protocol allows you to tweak and personalize your conditioning work just as much as you would your strength work. What’s more, it provides a model for taking into account many of the other stressors in your life that will affect your capacity to recover from difficult conditioning workouts and making adjuments accordingly.

Of course, you wouldn’t need to do this if you don’t have outside life stressors, never feel tired or get poor sleep, and are always fully recovered for every training session. In that case, you’re probably just fine to hammer away with conditioning workouts as prescribed.

But if not, my experience tells me that this will get you better results, faster.

I created Lift Weights Faster and Smarter as a guide that accompanies Lift Weights Faster itself. It builds upon several of the Lift Weights Faster workouts to create an additional 48 distinct workouts. You could certainly use it alone, but combining the Smarter protocol with Lift Weights Faster would give you 1040 discrete workouts. No, I’m not kidding. One thousand and forty workouts, all across the spectrum of stress.

Let me say that again so I’m clear. Combining this protocol with Lift Weights Faster gives you 1,040 conditioning workouts.

Pretty sweet.

Even without the Lift Weights Faster package, you’ve got 48 workouts and a protocol that allows you to instantly customize any workout you might find online, in a magazine, or from a peer. It’s kind of like having a trainer on call to ask how to maximize the benefit you get from a workout that wasn’t designed specifically with you in mind from the ground up.

2014 Fitness Summit Presentation Resources & Links

Links and resources from my presentation at the 2014 Fitness Summit.

How To Test Movement Using Biofeedback

Free 12-Week Gym Movement eCourse

Gym Movement Resources

A Case Study in Asymmetrical Training

How to Use Biofeedback With Any Program

“The death of training programming.” That’s how I initially viewed things when I first learned about biofeedback training. Why would you plan things out that you couldn’t possibly predict weeks in advance when you could make better decisions in real time?

Since then, with experience, I have learned that programming still has tons of value, just not exactly in the same way. I’d like to show you how you can integrate biofeedback testing into any program — even if it wasn’t written with biofeedback in mind — to create the perfect program for you.

In case you’re wondering, I’ve learned that there are two primary problems with not approaching training with any kind of plan at all:

First, I’ve noticed a tendency, especially by busy people including myself, to do what amount to half-workouts without a plan. Of course, when you hit the gym you’re not going to forget to do deadlifts, or squats, or pull-ups. But, you might very well forget or decide to do any accessory or assistance work. Even if you just think you’re skipping it “just for today” you might be surprised when you look back at three weeks of training and realize you’ve never done a single core-specific exercise. The end result is like the opposite of the Pareto principle. You’re already doing 80% of the work by showing up to the gym and doing most of a workout, but without completing the circle you’re missing out on results that would require only marginally more effort to get.

Second, it’s very hard to make adjustments to something that isn’t working when you’re not sure what you’re even doing. Having a template or plan gives you something to work from.

Nowadays when I write a program, I write it completely with biofeedback testing in mind. I usually write three different variations for each exercise so that the client can test them and find the best one. I have little rules for this, such as always including at least one “rotational” exercise to be tested, as well as usually giving the option of unilateral & bilateral work to be tested. It’s a lot more work to write a program this way, but it must be done.

To convert any program into a biofeedback-based program, the first thing I do is go through the movements that make up the program. I immediately substitute movements I know don’t work or test well for me, and then I write in alternatives to test. For example, as of this week I’ve started using Bret Contreras’s 2x4strength program as my base testing template. So far I love it, and I think it’s a really solid strength program – especially when you combine it with biofeedback. The first week of movements looks like this:

 2 x 4 Maximum Strength.pdf (page 14 of 65)-1

So this is what I came up with:

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As you can see, I’ve kept the lower-body work exactly the same while giving myself some other options to test. The upper-body stuff is a bit more tricky for me as one of my shoulders gets perpetually cranky with certain types of pressing, so I vary that more, including some strongman-specific work, and opt for more a bit more pulling than pushing. If none of these tested well, I’d change something on the fly.

A quick aside: People can get carried away with changing a program that an expert put together. There is a fine line here. By all means, make the program work for you, but don’t change things just because you think you’re smarter. Bret has a hilarious FAQ in 2x4strength “Q: Can I do this routine and another routine at the same time? A: Absolutely not.”

People often seem to think that if you combine three programs you will get all the benefits of all three at once. In reality it’s combining different types of soda into a “Graveyard.” It just tastes like shit.

When it comes to sets and reps, I let the testing guide me. I will use the programmed rep range as a guideline for how much weight to use (and I do the same when I write a biofeedback program) but testing always supersedes it. If the program calls for 5 reps, but my 5-rep weight is not testing well, I will find something that tests better either higher or lower weight. In this way, I have a starting point when I walk in the gym, but I am autoregulating via my biofeedback. Interestingly, I’ve seen a lot of people fail miserably on the famous 5-3-1 program. Not because it’s a bad program, but because they adhere rigidly to it even in the face of obvious signs that it’s NOT in sync with their body. Most often I see people not hitting their PRs when it feels good and they feel strong, and then missing their PR lifts when the program says they should be. All it takes is acknowledging that your body does know better to fix this problem.

Suffice to say, I think an intelligent plan training plan is crucial to making solid progress in the gym. To be honest, when I picked up Bret’s 2x4strength program I just wanted to learn something, and see how he was doing things. I took one look at it and immediately saw how I could use this (in concert with some event-specific training) to prepare for an upcoming strongman competition. It’s a solid strength program, and I think anyone who uses it would see impressive gains in overall strength. Check it out if you’re into that kind of thing.

Finally if you have any questions about how to integrate biofeedback into your programming, feel free to hit me up and I’ll do my best to help.

Biofeedback Testing for Rowing

I looked across the gym and instantly recognized the strange lift. There was a guy doing a Jefferson deadlift. I wasn’t in my own gym, so how could this be? I legit had a moment of glory thinking that my quest to make the Jefferson deadlift universally known and adopted was reaching a critical mass before I remembered that the guy doing the Jefferson was my friend Greg Kowal, a physical therapist who is currently working in northern Minnesota, whom I had brought with me to this gym. Oh well, maybe next time.

Asymmetrical training, using lifts like the Jefferson deadlift, is one of the things I have become known for being a big proponent of. The interesting thing is not that I necessarily think that asymmetrical training is ideologically or automatically better, it’s simply that once you start following your biofeedback you find that asymmetrical is often better.

Towards the end of my lift, Greg was finishing up a session on the ergometer. He waved me over and started telling me about what he had been doing lately in his rowing sessions. Immediately I knew this was too useful not to share, so I had him back up and shot a video. I’ll let Greg take it from here:

Big ups to the moron doing half-rep barbell glute bridges and grunting for the sound effects toward the end.

Off camera, Greg and I went on to discuss some of his other thoughts on rowing training. I will be the first to tell you that I know nothing about competitive rowing – but I do know some things about movement and despite what indoctrinated sport coaches like to think, sports are not special — they are just movements.

In addition to testing the slight asymmetry on the actual erg, smart rowers would be wise to test their gym training. When it comes to sport training, the gym is an opportunity to hit contra-specific or opposition patterns. For example, Greg enlightened me, in sweep rowing the athlete is getting hundreds of repetitions per session of a very uni-lateral movement in one direction. This is a prime candidate for testing opposition rotation and extension patterns in the opposite direction to the rowing position.

Greg’s application of biofeedback testing to rowing is a perfect example of asking better questions. Rowing may test well, but Greg wondered if he could make it test even better for him. Better questions lead to, as you heard him say, better results. What if you were to apply biofeedback testing to your sport or activity?

 

5 Fixes For A Common Biofeedback Testing Question

By now I’d estimate I’ve personally taught about a thousand people how to use range of motion as a biofeedback test. I find it incredibly effective, and I think it’s a proximal association to why my clients get better results than when doing whatever they did before (or sometimes after) training with me.

With that many reps, I’ve seen a few patterns or issues that people run into. In Jen’s new coaching group for Get Stronger Faster a question came up that I think can be instructive for a wider audience, since I see it in about 10% of the people I teach testing to. Basically the question goes:

I never see a difference in the testing. My range of motion always stays the same. What am I doing wrong?

Here are five things you should be aware of that will probably help:

1) If you’re not already, make sure to touch on your body (shins, ankles, feet) so that you can get a good measurement of the actual range of motion. It can be hard to tell if you just have your hands hanging out in front of you._D3C2481 Testing 4

2) People’s sensitivity varies. Some people have a very wide range from bad to great, and some people will never see more than an inch total variation. It’s highly individual. If you’re one of the people for whom the range is much smaller you’ll have to pay much closer attention.

3) Some people treat the test as a stretch and push too hard. It’s critical to stop at the FIRST sign of tension anywhere in your body. What this means is that if you’re stretching to the very end of your range of motion, you might be blowing past that first sign of tension. For me personally I note tension with my fingertips right at my ankles, but even then I can push my knuckles all the way to the floor if I force it. Notably, I can ONLY put my palms flat on the floor when I have done something that tests very well.

4) When you very first start testing, it can be good to compare two different tests to make sure that they agree. We call this “testing the test”. You can use the toe touch as well as a side or front arm raise to compare. They should both agree on the increase or decrease, which verifies that it’s a valid test for you. The side arm raise is exactly what it sounds like, just raising your arm out to the side and noting the angle. Very few people can put their arm straight out above their head with no tension. Same with the front raise.

5) Finally, it’s worth nothing that some people WILL test well for nearly everything. This is a good thing! My only clients who test well for a very narrow range of movements, and test out of it quickly are the ones dealing with severe chronic pain, and or rehab situations. You don’t want to be there! That being said, every single client I have ever worked with, even those from whom everything seems to test well, eventually has their watershed moment where something tests badly and they can clearly see the correlation of why that movement wasn’t good that day.

I hope these things to check are helpful. Drop a comment if this is useful or if I can clarify any more on this specific topic.