Tip: The Best Power and Conditioning Test

You need both anaerobic power and aerobic capacity to be a great lifter and athlete. Test them both with this simple challenge.

The Test

Hop on a stationary bicycle, like an Assault or Airdyne bike, and go hard for 1.5 miles. To pass the test, you need to finish in 3:30 or less.

The Reasoning

If your anaerobic power is lacking, you're going to have a tough time pushing through multiple hard sets of a lift, let alone an entire training session.

If your aerobic capacity is non-existent, you're going to have a hard time recovering in both the short-term (between sets/exercises) and the long-term (between training days).

Since the test is short, yet long enough to tap into the aerobic system, you're simultaneously testing both qualities.

As a refresher, anaerobic power is the ability to exert maximal power in the presence of fatigue while sustaining high levels of metabolic stress. Aerobic capacity is the ability to be maximally efficient with the entire body while feeling like you have a flamethrower going off inside your lungs.

If you lack either quality, the 1.5-mile bike test will humble you in a matter of minutes. The positive is, you'll find out which area you need to focus on:

  • If you were able to maintain a solid pace but still didn't beat 3 minutes and 30 seconds, your anaerobic power needs work.
  • If you shot out of the gates but burned out within the first minute, you need to build up your aerobic capacity.
Charley Gould, CSCS, is a former professional baseball player and strength-and-conditioning coach. He specializes in helping individuals look, feel, and perform like elite athletes. Charley is the head of sports performance at Universal Athletic Club in Lancaster, PA. Follow Charley Gould on Instagram