9 Essential Strength Benchmarks for Men

We have been wanting to add more Strength Training content for our male followers, and came across this excellent article from livestrong.com. Go to the link to check out the full article, but we share the highlights below. As we have mentioned in past posts, having goals is crucial to the success of every workout routine. Without a goal, you don’t have a measurable mark to measure success and accomplishments against. This article details some strength benchmarks so you can see how you measure up and where you need to strive for some improvement. The article notes that you should also keep in mind if you are over 45, or have less than two years of consistent training, aim for 80 percent of all the goals listed.

Benchmark Goal No. 1: 2 Minute Plank – Planks are a simple exercise in regards to complexity, but are challenging to the core. A strong core will enhance your ability withstand heavy weight while squatting, pressing and deadlifting. HOW TO DO IT: Simply set up in a push-up position, but instead of having your weight on your hands, place it on your elbows. Maintain a neutral spine from head to toe. You should be in a perfectly straight line. While performing, do not allow the back to sag. Flexing your rear end and quadriceps will create more stability while performing this exercise.

plank exercise

Benchmark Goal No. 2: The Barbell Bench Press for 1 Rep at 1.5 Times Your Body Weight – This is a good goal for bench pressing, or you can substitute this for 5 repitions at 85% of your body weight. HOW TO DO IT: Lie on your back, grasp a barbell at shoulder width or slightly wider, lower the bar to the mid-chest and drive the bar back up to full extension. Pull your shoulder blades together to ensure you have a good base of support and that you protect your shoulders. The elbows should tuck in slightly toward your torso at about a 45-degree angle. Grip the bar hard and try to “rip it apart” throughout the movement.

male doing a bench press

Benchmark Goal No. 3: The Standing Barbell Press for 1 Rep at Your Body Weight – A good goal is to press your body weight for 1 rep, or 85 percent of that number for 5 reps. This move focuses on the front shoulders, triceps and core muscles. HOW TO DO IT: Grasp a bar about shoulder width, starting with the bar on the upper chest. Tense your whole body, and, without using your lower back, drive the bar over your head and slightly back. Make sure to squeeze your glutes and brace your abs while pressing.

male overhead press

Benchmark Goal No. 4: The Push-Up for 50 Full-Range Repititions – The tried and true push-up is a fantastic indicator of your upper-body strength and endurance. It is also a good guage of your relative strength and body composition. A good goal for most men to shoot for is 50 full range repetitions. 50 can be a lot, so be realistic in what you think you can do, and then create a plan to build from there.  HOW TO DO IT: Assume a standard push-up position, with your hands outside your chest. Lower yourself down to the floor, keeping the elbows tucked to about 45 degrees, the core tight, and the neck in a neutral position (don’t look up). Drive back through the floor without letting your back sag. To ensure adequate depth, place a toilet paper roll on the floor beneath your belly and touch your forehead to the floor on each rep.

push-up

Benchmark Goal No. 5: The Chin-Up for 15 Full-Range Repititions –  A fantastic goal to shoot for is 15 full-range repetitions. Trainer Matt Kasee emphasizes a high-training volume and improving your grip strength when trying to achieve this goal. “Back muscles can handle a lot of work. In order to knock out 15 body weight chin-ups, practice your chin-ups using various rep ranges at least 3 times a week with a heavy day, moderate- and high-rep day.”  HOW TO DO IT: To perform, start from a dead hang from an overhead bar. Aggressively drive your elbows down — focusing on pulling your shoulder blades into your back pockets — and pull yourself up over the bar until it hits your upper chest. Lower back down under control and repeat. Be sure to minimize any body squirming or flailing, and keep the repetitions strict and smooth.

chin up

Benchmark Goal No. 6: The Deadlift for 1 Rep at 2.5 Times Your Body Weight – Perhaps no other exercise indicates your full-body strength better than the deadlift. Period. Shoot for pulling 2.5 times your body weight for a single rep, or 85 percent of that number for 5 reps. HOW TO DO IT: Walk up to a loaded barbell and align the bar with the middle of your feet (feet inside shoulder width). Bend over and grasp the bar. Pull your hips down, flex your lats, brace your core and grip the bar hard. Break the bar from the floor and pull — making sure not to round the back! — up until standing. Take caution not to hyperextend your spine in the top position.

deadlift

Benchmark Goal No. 7: The Barbell Squat for 1 Rep at 2 Times Your Body Weight – The barbell squat has long been heralded by gym rats as the “king of all exercises.” If you have a big squat, you’ll have slabs of muscle not only on your legs, but all over your body as well. A strong goal is 2 times body weight for a single rep or 85 percent of that number for 5 reps. HOW TO DO IT: Place a barbell across your upper back, keeping the shoulder blades pulled together to create a strong base. Un-rack the bar, step back, set your feet slightly wider than shoulder and then push the hips back and descend to point just below parallel. Make sure to keep the weight on your heels and your spine in a neutral alignment. To finish the rep, stand up aggressively to full extension.

barbell squat

Benchmark Goal No. 8: The Barbell Hip Thrust for 10 Reps at 1.5 Times Your Body Weight – The hip thrust, which has quickly become a staple in the programs of serious strength trainees and athletes around the globe, is a fantastic indicator of your strength in the important “posterior chain” muscles: the glutes, hamstrings and lower back. A good goal to shoot for is 10 reps with 1.5 times your body weight. HOW TO DO IT: Roll a loaded barbell over your legs so it’s sitting across the front of your hips. With the knees bent and your back elevated on a standard bench, hold the bar just outside the hips and then thrust up until you are parallel to the floor, making sure to squeeze the glutes and not hyperextend the lower back.

hip thrust

Benchmark Goal No. 9: The Hang Clean for 1 Rep at 1.25 Times Your Body Weight – hile strength — the ability to produce force — is very important, power (or how quickly and explosively you can express your strength) is equally important. A good goal is to hang clean 1.25 times your body weight for 1 rep or 85 percent of that number for 5 reps. HOW TO DO IT: Grasp a barbell at arm’s length and shoulder width apart. Keeping the chest up, push the hips back until the bar barely clears the knees. Explode and extend at the hip, knee and ankle, shrugging and pulling the weight up towards the chin. Allow your elbows to rotate underneath of the bar and catch it in a racked position.

hang clean exercise

Sooo… How do you measure up? Be sure to record your results, and continue to test yourself periodically to monitor your progress. As was mentioned at the beginning of this post, be sure to check out the full article at livestrong.com for further details and tips on how to best execute each exercise as well as video demonstrations.

 

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Tabata Tuesday: Cardio Tabata Superset Workout from Pumps & Iron

This workout is brought to our ScullyFit residents by Nicole of Pumps & Iron.

A tabata is four minutes long: 8 rounds of 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest. For each superset, you’ll do a 4-minute tabata: 8 rounds of 20 second of work and 10 seconds of rest, alternating between the two exercises each work round. Once you’ve gone through all four supersets, start back at the top, completing a total of two rounds (= eight 4-minute tabatas total).

cardio tabata superset workout

 

SUPERSET 1 | Hot Feet + Snowboarders

  • Hot Feet: You probably know these best as a basketball or football drill. You essentially run in place as fast as you can while in a wide-leg squat position. With your feet a bit wider than hip-width apart, squat down. Staying low, you’ll quickly run your feet up and down, staying on the balls of your feet and barely picking them off the floor (an inch or two) so that you can maintain the speed.
  • Snowboarders: This is essentially a rotating squat jump. Squat down, hips and butt back and down, weight in your heels. Bring your left fingertips towards the ground in front of you and look over your right shoulder (think of the stance of a snowboarder or skateboarder looking ahead). From here, you’re going to jump up and turn towards your right shoulder, rotating 180 degrees in air and landing back in a squat facing the other direction, this time bringing your right fingertips towards the ground and looking over your left shoulder. Repeat, rotating towards your left shoulder this time. A good way to think about it is you’re always looking ahead in the same direction, just changing which foot is in front.

SUPERSET 2 | Frog Stamp Push Ups + Mountain Climbers

  • Frog Stamp Push Ups: Start in a plank position, hands aligned under shoulders, core tight. Do a push up (you can always modify by dropping to your knees for this). Next, jump your feet up towards the outside of your hands, landing in a wide-stance crouching position, and then jump the feet quickly back to plank. Try to keep these quick! Push up, jump up, jump back, push up, jump up, jump back—no pause, keep moving.
  • Mountain Climbers: These are like doing high knees in a plank position. Start in a plank, hands stacked underneath shoulders, core squeezing in tight (don’t let your low back sag or your butt stick up in the air). From this position, drive one knee at a time up towards your chest, like running horizontally. The pace on these should be quick.

SUPERSET 3 | High Knees + Jump Lunges

  • High Knees: Maintaining good posture (don’t hunch forward!), run in place, using your core to drive your knees up high as you do. I like to hold my hands at about belly button height as a guide and drive my knees up to hit them. Keep these quick! If you have knee issues or need to modify, march in place instead of run (but still get those knees up high!).
  • Jump Lunges: Start in a split-stance lunge: right foot in front, ball of left foot planted on the floor behind you. Both knees should be bent to 90 degrees, front knee aligned over ankle, back knee hovering just a couple inches off the floor. From here, push off your feet to jump up in the air, switching feet in mid-air and landing back in a lunge with left foot forward and right foot planted behind. Continue, alternating feet with each jump.

SUPERSET 4 | Bicycle Crunches + Full-Body Crunches

  • Bicycle Crunches: Start laying on your back, hands behind your head (but not pulling on your head) and legs extended straight out, hovering off the floor a couple inches. From here, bend your left knee in, keeping the right leg extended out straight, and crunch your upper back up off the floor, twisting the right elbow across your body to meet the left knee. Repeat to the other side, fluidly moving from one side to the next, legs alternating in a pedaling motion. Don’t move so quickly through these that you aren’t extending your leg out completely straight with each rep.
  • Full-Body Crunches: Start in a seated position balancing on your tailbone, hands lightly on the ground by your side for support, feet lifted off the ground and torso leaning back, core engaged. Extend your legs out straight in front of you as you lean back further (feet should be hovering), and then crunch everything inward, bringing your knees into your chest and sitting up a little straighter, abs in tight.

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Ask the Expert: Resistance Training

pistol squat, resistance training

Expert fitness and performance nutrition specialist Anthony Moscardelli answers all of your questions in his “Ask the Expert” segment on the ScullyFit site. Submit your questions for Anthony by emailing scullyfit@scullycompany.com.

Question: What are the benefits of resistance training?

Physiological Benefits

1. Beginning a structured resistance training program has the proven ability to build muscular strength and development.

2. Resistance training aids in building a stronger bones. As we age, absent some form of resistance training, we each, at some playing in our lives, will begin to experience a loss in bone density which unfortunately could lead to certain debilitative conditions such as hip fractures and osteoporosis.

3. Research has shown that between the ages of 32 and 50 our body naturally loses upward of 10% of its muscle mass. By the age of 60, that number is likely to double. Resistance training will reverse that probability.

4. A strength training program can allow us to regain certain useful levels of flexibility.

5. Resistance training leads to a stronger healthier heart. A strong, healthy heart is associated with lower levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, high blood pressure, stroke and heart attacks are also diminished greatly.

6. Strength training increases the bodies ability to keep insulin levels in check. It has also been proven to prevent or reverse certain life-threatening diseases like diabetes.

7. The use of weights for resistance training enhances the bodies ability to reduce oxidative stress and cellular damage, it has also been proven to lower the risk of developing certain types of cancer.

Psychological Benefits

1. Strength or resistance training has a profound effect on boost in confidence and self-esteem.

2. Strength training allows us to better cope with life stressors.

3. Strength training provides for a better quality of sleep.

4. Resistance training is a natural mood elevator, which has been proven to boost overall cognitive function in the brain.

Content courtesy of Anthony Moscardelli.

anthony moscardelli personal trainer

Anthony Moscardelli is a seasoned fitness and performance nutrition specialist.  He offers mobile personal training services and group fitness for all ages, abilities, and goals.  His mission is to help set people on their way to living a fit, healthy, and happy lifestyle.  His unique training methods will not only keep you engaged and energized, but will keep you guessing what he might come up with next!

To discuss taking the next step in reaching your health and fitness goals, contact Anthony at (215) 970-6799 or phillystrength@gmail.com 

 

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Fitness Expert: Anthony Moscardelli

anthony moscardelli personal trainerAnthony Moscardelli is a seasoned fitness and performance nutrition specialist.  As a fitness expert, he offers mobile personal training services and group fitness for all ages, abilities, and goals.  His mission is to help set people on their way to living a fit, healthy, and happy lifestyle.  His unique training methods will not only keep you engaged and energized, but will keep you guessing what he might come up with next!  Whether you are looking to shed a few pounds, tone a few muscles or train for your next Spartan Race, Anthony can customize a plan that’s right for you.

In addition to training services, Anthony can also help create healthy meal plans designed to suit your body type and weight loss or weight gain goals.  Anthony doesn’t believe in fad diets as there is no one size fits all.  Getting in shape requires physical activity but it also requires changing bad eating habits and nutritional education.  Anthony can help with both.

Credentials:

  • All certifications awarded through the International Sports Science Association (ISSA)
  • Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) since 2004
  • Certified Sports Nutritionist (CSPN) since 2005

Training background:

  • Former Power-lifting Champion with over ten years of competitive training experience
  • Cross-fit Competitor with three years of instructional cross-training
  • Former College and Semi-Professional Football player with years of sports specific training
  • Ten years Bodybuilding Specific training

Contact Tony directly at:

215-970-6799

phillystrength@gmail.com

 

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Personal Trainer: Hope Nagy

hope nagy, personal trainer, conshohocken pa, scully fit

Lose Weight ~ Tone ~ Get ScullyFit ~ Sculpt ~ Burn Fat ~ Get Stronger ~ Get Leaner ~  Build Mass

Hope Nagy can help you do it all, and now is a local resource for our resident’s of Riverwalk at Millennium and all ScullyFit Community Residents.  Voted Philly’s #1 Top Trainer on the Philly Hot List in 2011 and 2012, and voted Top Trainer in 2013 and 2014. Hope was also voted the 2015 Montgomery County PA Happenings #1 Personal Trainer.

Hope is a personal trainer who is passionate about what she does. Weight loss & strength training. Men & women. Hope is excited to welcome new Riverwalk and ScullyFit clients.

Hope’s goal is to get her clients to move away from the unhealthy habits they’ve become accustomed to, and to start incorporating healthier eating and exercise habits at a pace that works with their lifestyles. . . she makes it work for each individual. From relatively meager to extremely lofty goals.

Hope’s holds the following certifications:

  • Certified Personal Trainer IFPA
  • Certified Johnny G Spinning Instructor
  • Certified Kick Box Instructor
  • Certified Kettle Bell Instructor
  • Certified in Youth Strength Training
  • Owner of Hip Hop Fitness for Kids
  • ZUMBA Certified

Contact Hope today to schedule your next training session.

For more information visit Hope’s website at www.motivatehopestrength.com.

 

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