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Fitness Standards

by Matthew Palfrey

“Just Do It.”

It’s a popular statement and, in case you aren’t aware, a mindset that most of the fitness industry purports to be of the utmost importance. We’re rewarded for attendance, getting through the distance and simply turning up week after week. But does this actually work? Does going through the motions really get you where you want to be?

For those of you who have an interest in more. In being more. And being better than they were yesterday, we’ve put together some useful standards that we think it’s pretty cool to work towards. Are these the very best that you can attain? Definitely not. But being able to achieve everything set out here will give you a great strength and conditioning foundation to build on. 

The Standards

We think that sandbag training is a part of the bigger picture of strength and conditioning, which is why our standards contain other elements too. Sure you can be a specialist, but a broad spectrum of competency tends to be the best strategy for multi-sport athletes and anyone who wants a well rounded level of fitness.

1. Run 1.5 miles in under 10 minutes. 

2. Perform 10 consecutive dead-hang Pull-Ups/Chin-Ups.

3. Ground-to-Overhead sandbag lift with your bodyweight. 

4. Deadlift 2 x your bodyweight. 

5. Perform 30 Burpees in 1 minute. 

6. Squat 1.5 x your bodyweight.

How To Complete The Tests

1. Run 1.5 miles in under 10 minutes. 

Find a flat surface or use a treadmill and try to complete a distance of 1.5 miles in under 10 minutes.

2. Perform 10 consecutive dead-hang Chin-Ups.

Hang from a high bar or other stable structure with an overhand grip and full arm extension. Pull yourself upwards so that your chin clears the height of your hands. Slowly lower yourself to full arm extension and repeat. The test ends when you let go with your hands. You are not allowed contact with any other body parts and there should be no other movement from your body. Repeat for a total of 10 repetitions. 

3. Ground-to-Overhead sandbag lift with your bodyweight. 

Load a sandbag with sand equivalent to your bodyweight. Lift the sandbag from the ground to overhead, ending with straight arms and legs and the sandbag locked out in an overhead press. A Clean and Press is standard technique for this lift and you may utilise leg strength to assist in the overhead lift. 

4. Deadlift 2 x your bodyweight. 

Load 2 x your bodyweight on a barbell or other suitable implement. Lift the weight from the ground to waist height using standard Deadlift technique. 

5. Perform 30 Burpees in 1 minute. 

Start in the ready position with body fully upright and feet approximately hip width apart. Drop down into a Press Up position, so that your chest touches the ground, before exploding back up to standing. Perform a jump upwards with arms fully extended overhead. Repeat 30 times in under 1 minute. 

6. Squat 1.5 x your bodyweight.

Load 1.5 x your bodyweight on a barbell or other suitable implement. Perform a Back Squat to at least parallel depth at the hip and knee using standard Squat technique. Return to a fully upright standing position. 

Test, Test And Test Some More

Besides a commitment to working towards a set standard, one of the key factors that makes this such an effective strategy is that it contains an inherent element of testing - after all, if you don’t test then you don’t know how close you are to attaining your goals. This sounds like such a simple thing that many people don’t pay much attention to it, but this is a huge mistake. If you want to continue making progress (in anything) then you need to focus on it.

Put simply, having a standard to attain makes you think about it and this will stop you spinning your wheels in the gym. 

As always, we’d love to hear how you get on with the challenges presented here in the comments below. We’d also love to hear about any standards that you are working towards that we haven’t included. 

This article was originally published on  Brute Force Sandbags

Matthew Palfrey
Matthew Palfrey


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