I understand generalizations can be risky, but I've wondered if there was one... would tremendous squat strength and the ability to perform a high number of chin-ups (let's just say for squat 2 x bodyweight for males, and 1.5 x bodyweight for females; for chin-ups 15+ for males and 10+ for females) be one generalization that is a fairly honest assessment of athletic potential in a high number of other demanding endeavours?
This is not a question about garbage squats of half depth and bowed spines, or flailing chin-ups where a person grows their neck to the length of a giraffe and barely clears their chin. I am talking about true deep squats and chin-ups of which the person's chest touches the bar and the bottom position is indicated by full extension of the elbow. It's also not really about just two exercises - it's more about using those two exercises to display the two qualities: tremendous leg strength, and upper body strength and control. It also just so happens that using those two exercises help leg strength, and upper body strength and control.
Do you see athletes that have a high level of physical ability in squatting strength and chin-up ability that really lack ability in other qualities? Or do those two measures indicate some serious ability as far as athletic potential?
Another way to think about it is take an athlete who can squat a tremendous amount of weight, which indicates great lower body strength. Ok, nice. That same athlete can also bench press or even overhead press damn near as much. Cool. However, this particular athlete can not do 1 chin-up without going into convulsions. Not cool.
Again, take that same athlete and only change one thing from above; replace the bench (or overhead) press strength and replace it with the ability to crank out chin-up after chin-up, chest touching the bar every rep... now, at least in my mind, this is a freakishly different athlete.
In my experience, the ability to do those two things well says a lot about what an athlete's other abilities might be... I know, I know... this is sounding like I am trying to narrow things down to 2 movements and to say just use the "corrective strategies" to fix the squat, or fix the chin-up and you're going to be great. No, I am not saying it's just squats and chin-ups, but I think in the world of performance training, too much is made of having a bunch of "tools in the toolbox". The weight room was first a place to enhance athletic ability, but now it has become a second sport for many athletes (at least we as coaches have made it that).
Squats and chin-ups... just a thought. Someone could maybe market a new manual "Squats and Chin-ups; all you'll ever need".
Of course it's not quite that simple; just squats and chin-ups. But those two say a lot.