Sunday, 21 Jul 2024

The Bench Pull Test: Assessing Upper Body Muscular Endurance

Bench Pull Test

The bench pull test is a valuable assessment of upper body muscular endurance. In this article, we will delve into the details of this test and explore its purpose, equipment requirements, procedures, scoring, and more. Whether you are a fitness enthusiast, an athlete, or a coach, understanding the bench pull test can help you gauge an individual’s upper body strength effectively.

Purpose of the Bench Pull Test

The primary aim of the bench pull test is to measure upper body muscular endurance. By evaluating an individual’s ability to perform multiple bench pulls, we can gain insights into the endurance of their upper body muscles. This information is particularly valuable for sports that require significant upper body strength, such as canoeing and rowing.

Equipment Required

To conduct the bench pull test, you will need the following equipment:

  • A bench with adjustable height capacity, allowing full extension of the arms.
  • A 20kg Olympic bar with collars.
  • 5kg and 10kg free weights.
  • For females, the total weight should be set at 25kg (including the 20kg Olympic barbell and collars). For males, it should be set at 40kg.

Test Procedures

Before initiating the test, it is crucial to explain the procedures to the participants. Additionally, perform health risk screening, obtain informed consent, and record basic information such as age, height, body weight, and gender.

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Next, set the bench height so that the participant can firmly grip the bar while it hangs in the starting position. Ensure that the bench is horizontal to the ground.

During the test, the participant lies face down on the bench with arms extended below. They should take a shoulder-wide, overhand grip on the bar and pull it up until it makes contact with the bottom of the bench. Throughout the movement, the elbows must be kept out, and the chest should remain on the bench. To maintain stability, the participant must not move their head, trunk, or legs. An assistant can hold the legs down if necessary.

The subject should extend their arms, lowering the weight in a controlled manner back to the starting position without touching the ground. The movement should be continuous, with approximately one full repetition every two seconds. Participants should perform as many full bench pulls as possible.


In the bench pull test, the total number of correctly completed bench pulls is recorded. It is important to note any technical violations that may invalidate a repetition, such as movement of the head, legs, or trunk away from the specified start position, failure to make contact with the bar on the underside of the bench, or deviations from the normal bar position observed during warm-up.

Advantages and Disadvantages

The bench pull test offers several advantages. It requires readily available equipment found in most gymnasiums, and the test itself is relatively simple and quick to perform.

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However, there are some disadvantages to consider. Due to variations in technique and bar position, scoring the test can be subjective, making standardization difficult. Additionally, individuals with poor upper body strength may struggle to perform even a single bench pull. In such cases, lighter weights or alternative tests may be more appropriate.


Q: Should participants warm up before the bench pull test?

A: Yes, it is recommended that participants perform warm-up repetitions using a reduced weight prior to the actual test.

Q: How should the collars be chosen?

A: Lightweight collars (approximately 100gms) are preferred. Alternatively, collars weighing 2.5kg can be used. The weight of the collars must be added to the bar’s weight.

Q: Is there a recommended time for the bar to hang during the test?

A: Participants should spend as little time as possible with the bar hanging, as it may cause fatigue and reduce the number of bench pulls performed.


The bench pull test is a valuable tool for assessing upper body muscular endurance, particularly in sports requiring significant upper body strength. By incorporating this test into training programs or talent identification processes, coaches and athletes can gain valuable insights and make informed decisions. Remember to consider the advantages and disadvantages of the bench pull test when interpreting the results and tailor it appropriately for individuals with different levels of upper body strength. To learn more about fitness testing and explore a wide range of resources related to sports performance, visit Auralpressure.

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