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Svenssen Method

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The Svenssen Method (also called the Svenssen Assessment) is a unique method for assessing muscular endurance. The four events in the Svenssen Assessment are pushups, pullups, squats, and the isometric plank (all bodyweight). The desire for a new method of testing muscular endurance arose from the relative ineffectiveness of current tests, such as the military pushups, situps/crunch, and pullup tests. While these tests do, in fact, test muscular endurance, the parameters of the tests were thought to be inadequate. In addition to this, because each test is traditionally adminstered separately, it is possible for one to train specifically for one test (pushups) and neglect everything else, and thus skew the results.

Conventional Testing Methods

The current trend in m.endurance testing involves performing as many repetitions in an exercise within a certain time period. Rest is permitted under certain circumstances (rest positions). These tests are most commonly administered in military and law enforcement settings. Examples include the 2-minute pushup & situps tests (US Army), 1-minute pushup & crunches tests (US Air Force), and pullups to failure/the 2-minutes crunches test (US Marine Corps).

The Svenssen Method

The Svenssen Method is different from traditional methods in several ways.

  • It combines scores of four exercises to get a total-body assessment (this is similar to Olympic Lifting, which combines totals for both lifts, and some other strength assessments that combine totals of several exercises).
  • There are no rest periods allowed, which increases the difficulty of the test.
  • There is no time limit; individuals can continue as long as they can execute techniques with proper form.
  • The four events in the Svenssen Assessment are pushups, pullups, squats, and the isometric plank.

Proper Technique

Proper technique for each even consists of the following.

  • Pushups - Exercise begins from the neutral position (front-leaning rest), the trunk and lower extremities move as one, the feet no more than 12 inches apart, arms breaking 90 degrees and extending fully. Individuals may pause (this is different than a rest position) and reposition the hands or feet as long as they remain in contact with the ground/floor, but they must remain in a strict neutral position (no sagging, no butt-in-the-air). Exercise continues until an individual reaches muscular failure, breaks form, pauses longer than 2 seconds in the neutral position, or executes more than 3 incorrect repetitions in a row.
  • Pullups - Pullups begin from a dead-hang position, and must be executed with a pronated grip (any width). Feet can hang freely or be crossed. The subject's chin must pass above the plane of the bar, and they must lower themselves to the "near lockout" position. The assessment continues until an individual reaches muscular failure, breaks form, pauses longer than 2 seconds, or executes more than 3 incorrect repetitions in a row.
  • Squats - Squats begin from a standing position, feet can be any width, hands can either be placed on the hips, clasped behind the head, or free-swinging. Hands may not be placed upon the thighs for support. Individuals must break 90 degrees for a repetition to be considered good. The assessment continues until an individual reaches muscular failure, breaks form, pauses longer than 2 seconds, or executes more than 3 incorrect repetitions in a row.
  • Plank - The points of contact are the forearms and the toes of the feet. Both feet must be in contact with the ground/floor (no crossing the feet). The trunk, head, and lower extemities must remain in a straight line. Exercise continues until the individual deviates from form.

So for each event, proper repetitions are counted until the test ends based on the criteria outlined above. All reps are added together with the number of plank seconds to form the final score.

Example Scoring Techniques

There are several ways of annotating the score.

  • long method - 54/14/62/134 : 264 (pushups/pullups/squats/plank : total)
  • middle method - 130/134 : 264 (PPS total/plank : total)
  • short method - 264 (total)

Because a person could score significantly high in one area and poorly in the others, the long method should be used to give the bigger picture, however, all methods are generally accepted as sufficient.

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