The Attia Rule – Some Tests of Strength for Longevity

Awhile back longevity expert Peter Attia, and my personal go-to for all things health and wellness, was on the Huberman podcast and he said something along the lines of “I wish it was a rule that you could not talk about the nuances of your diet and supplementation routine until you can do these exercises”, and then he named a number of basic tests of physical fitness. In the back and forth with Huberman, he refined the tests a bit, but remember, this isn’t a prescription of an exercise modality, it’s just a couple of tests to see how you measure up against a person fit for longevity. 

Still, for my own reference, here they are*:

Dead hang for at least two minutes

What you’re testing for here is, first, grip strength, and then shoulder health and mobility, then, perhaps the upper back. A great test, and also absolutely excellent for back pain. I’m doing these 3 x week right now. 

Wall sit for two minutes

A test of quad and, secondarily, ab strength. Also doing this 3 x week, also shaking like a leaf almost immediately

Farmer carry bodyweight for two minutes

Attia begins by saying deadlift you bodyweight ten times, but then he refines it to this test. Farmer carries are underrated. Add these to your workouts. 

Aerobically, he also wants to have his patients in at least the 75th percentile VO2 max for their age, working their way, ideally, to an elite level of 90th percentile. Here’s a calculator that can help you roughly estimate you V02 max.

Does passing these test guarantee a long life? No. Do they encompass all one needs to be fit? Of course not. Are they interesting and helpful tests to try to see if you’re on the right track. I’d say yes. Your mileage may vary. 

* note that Attia is speaking off the cuff here, and says that these are age graded for a forty year old male. I’m using these as a benchmark for myself, your experience may be different. 

As Attia says in the video, his office uses far more tests to really ascertain someone’s level of fitness, but these are a good start. 

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