I test my clients and athletes periodically to gauge progress and to ensure we are moving in the right direction. I feel the results from these tests provide us with critical information that will allow me to update and progress, or regress, our training programs appropriately.

I vary the testing drills on occasion, however, I do keep some staple movements in there, including the 5 you see listed below. Of course, these are strictly dealing with explosiveness, strength, and endurance. This quick piece does not cover any other testing protocols like actual weight, % body fat, HRV, VO2 max, etc. I simply wanted to show you some of the movement-based drills we perform on a regular basis.

1. Broad Jump
A great test for full body explosiveness. Vertical jump is another great option for this.

broad jump

2. Pushup Test
A test for upper body muscle endurance. We currently perform this test for 60 seconds. While the pushup is one of my favorite bodyweight exercises, form tends to break down a bit and the numbers can be a bit subjective. Do your best to reinforce quality over quantity when performing subjective testing drills.


3. TRX Rows
Like the pushup test, this is another 60 second muscular endurance test. I like to pair these two tests up so we have one pushing and one pulling movement.


4. 3-RM Deadlift
A great full body strength test. The accompanying clip does not include this test as we did it on a separate day…I’ll get video footage soon.


5. 300 Yard Shuttle
This is the ~60 second “sprint” at the end of our testing day. With my MMA athletes, we perform this test when they start their 8-week camp and again about 1 week out from their fight. The numbers always improve which is a good sign. Sub 60 seconds is the goal…the current record at Alliance Training Center with the guys I’ve tested is 56 seconds.

hapa sprint

Like I said, I do add one or two additional drills in from time to time. These 5 give me a good overall look at the athletes I’m working with from a strength and endurance standpoint.

Below is a clip of some testing we did while some of these guys were preparing for upcoming fights not too long ago.

Follow the guys in this video on Twitter:
Ross Pearson
Mike Chandler
Phil DeFries
AJ Matthews
Myles Jury
Popo Bezerra


About Doug
Doug Balzarini, CSCS, MMA-CC, is the owner of DB Strength, which provides fitness training, education, and resources. He is also the strength and conditioning coach for Alliance MMA where he works with UFC Champion Dominick Cruz, Bellator Champion Michael Chandler, Phil Davis, Brandon Vera, Travis Browne, Ross Pearson, Alexander Gustafsson, and more. Prior to starting his own business, Doug worked at Fitness Quest 10 as a personal trainer, strength coach, and Operations Director for Todd Durkin Enterprises (TDE).

He has completed some graduate work in Biomechanics at SDSU and has obtained multiple certifications including ACE, NSCA-CSCS, MMA-CC, TFW Level 1, TRX instructor training, RIP training, EFI Gravity instructor training, LIFT Sandbag Certification, and FMS training. He has produced his 2 DVD projects on strength training for combat athletes, appeared in many fitness videos and articles, and was a coach on “The Ultimate Fighter” FOX TV show in 2012.

For more information please visit www.dbstrength.com.