Maximum Bicep Curl Test

In a 'set weight' maximum bicep curl test, the subject performs as many bicep curl exercises as they can at a certain weight. This test is part of the Fit Test for the P90X Home Fitness Workout. See also the description of a similar arm curl test.

purpose: to measure maximum strength endurance of the arm muscle groups.

equipment required: dumbbells can be used, or a standard weightlifting bar with various free weights up to 50 lbs.

pre-test: Explain the test procedures to the subject. Perform screening of health risks and obtain informed consent. Prepare forms and record basic information such as age, height, body weight, gender, test conditions. Perform an appropriate warm-up. See more details of pre-test procedures.

weight: You can choose any appropriate weight - aim for a weight at which you will max-out in 10–15 reps (for men this will be at least 20 lbs., women at least 8 lbs.)

procedure: An appropriate warm up procedure should be followed, using light weights. For the test, extend the arms straight down in front of body, palms facing forward. Using both arms at the same time, perform as many curls as you can until failure. Be sure that arms are fully extended between each curl, and no rocking or breaks longer than 1 second between reps. The test ends as soon as you are unable to complete a repetition.

scoring: the maximum number of full repetitions successfully completed is recorded. P90X suggest that you should be able to do at least 10 curls with 20 lbs. if male and at least 10 curls with 8 lbs. if female.

advantages: the required equipment is readily available in most gymnasiums, and the test is simple to perform.Bench Press Test

disadvantages: Familiarization with the bicep curl technique will result in a better score. If the weight is too light or too heavy, the results may not be a good indication of the subject's upper body strength, as the number of repetitions changes the involvement of the muscle energy systems.

comments: When choosing a weight to use, a somewhat heavier weight will be more effective in helping you determine your improvements, say on day 90 of the P90X program. If any variation in technique was allowed, this should be recorded on the results sheet for referral when the test is repeated.

variations / modifications: the weight for this test can be varied depending on the fitness level and experience of the subjects to be tested. A fairer test may be to use a set percentage of the subject's body weight, as is done in the relative bench press test.


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