In times of achievements, reaching higher, chasing ones goals, tests and evaluations are part of daily routines. Being tested may add to the stress, if the expectations are raising and the methods are failing, or it can help to stay on the right track.
In sport performance and fitness, tests are regular and even necessary elements of the process.
In the field of fitness filled with myths, bro science and pseudo experts, objective tests keep things sane and realistic.
Assessments may take various forms. Starting from very subjective personal opinion, answering a question: How do you feel after this session? To very precise physiological laboratory tests.
If we look for the results of the training, like: the waist line circumference, body fat percentage, range of motion, postural imbalances, speed, power of cardiovascular capacity we need to find the way to measure it and base to compare over time.
Even very subjective tests, like:
Rated Perceived Exertion (RPE) Scale, if statistically valid can give measurable and comparable value.
The RPE scale is used to measure the intensity of your exercises. The RPE scale runs from 1 – 10 or 6-20 dependent on the scale used. The numbers relate to phrases used to rate how easy or difficult you find an activity.
0 – Nothing at all
0.5 – Just noticeable
1 – Very light
2 – Light
3 – Moderate
4 – Somewhat heavy
5 – Heavy
7 – Very heavy
10 – Very, very heavy
You can think of it as:
RPE Levels of Perceived Exertion
- Level 1: I’m watching TV and eating bonbons
- Level 2: I’m comfortable and could maintain this pace all day long
- Level 3: I’m still comfortable, but am breathing a bit harder
- Level 4: I’m sweating a little, but feel good and can carry on a conversation effortlessly
- Level 5: I’m just above comfortable, am sweating more and can still talk easily
- Level 6: I can still talk, but am slightly breathless
- Level 7: I can still talk, but I don’t really want to. I’m sweating like a pig
- Level 8: I can grunt in response to your questions and can only keep this pace for a short time period
- Level 9: I am probably going to die
- Level 10: I am dead
There are, however plenty of tests, available to athletes as well as to general population trainees precisely quantifying current status and progress over time.
In Body Shape we have available variety of tests, to be performed if required or requested.
Working with the Personal Trainer usually begins with an assessment based on the goals and needs of the client.
Some clients come with very clear need and straight away ask for certain assessment protocols while others are not aware of the tools existing.
It is sometimes difficult for clients to know that there are tests which can help in assessing many conditions and help in producing strategy to improve desired elements.
Out of hundreds of tests existing in sports and fitness, we use several which give information precisely and reliable enough to propose step-by-step program, reassess and compare results, taking the guessing element out of equation.
Some of the most common tests we use in Body Shape, for both general population and athletes include:
- Body Composition Assessment
- Fat %
- Macro-Nutrition Assessment and Recommendation
- Postural Assessment
- Functional Movement Screen (FMS)
- Range of Motion (Flexibility) Test
- Fundamental Movement Assessment
- VT1/VT2 Aerobic/Anaerobic Threshold Test
- Vertical Jump Test
- Dynamometer Handgrip Test
- 1RM Test
- Sport Specific Performance Tests
- Muscle Fiber Test
Body Composition Assessment comprises of the Biometric Scale Analysis and the manual circumference measurement giving number of the values referring to the body composition. Clients and Trainer get information about the total body weight, visceral and subcutaneous fat percentage, BMI (Body Mass Index), BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate).
Further analysis allows for the macro-nutrient (protein, fats and carbohydrates) calculation which is necessary for clients if they desire to reach their goal regarding the fat loss, weight loss, muscles gain, etc.
Postural and Movement Assessment is a combination of various tests and evaluations providing range on information on the clients’ postural symmetries and joints range of motion status. This assessment will depend on client’s goals, training preferences and medical conditions. It helps with preparing client for the resistance training routines where the health and safety of the client dictates the exercise selection. In cases of clients with chronic pain, like lower back pain, shoulders pain, knees pain… it is necessary to find the potential initial area of cause of the pain or discomfort in order to prepare training program to define pain free zone and strategy to improve the optimal functionality of the body.
For clients after serious injuries, body assessment is necessary to assist with the post rehab training plan and full step-by-step recovery.
Members pursuing or considering more advanced weight training commitment, postural assessment is needed to identify and minimize potential risk if the movements cannot be perform with the correct form.
Optimal movement within healthy range of motion and executed under control is necessary to reduce injury risk when progressing in the loaded movement plans.
Fitness Tests are useful in case of clients interested in cardiovascular or athletic performance type of training. These test will give good image of the current status of the body for the starting point, as well as allow for evaluating the training progress and body response to the continuous physical exercises over time.
Through tests we perform, we can measure client’s: VT1, VT2 (Ventilation Threshold 1 and 2), this is the test presenting when the body switches from aerobic to anaerobic energy system. MHR (Maximum Heart Rate) test allows for more accurate cardiovascular training programming, and setting the desired energy systems zones client wants to improve.
For athletes tests assessing the power output are very useful. The power generation training and its comparison is, in most of sports, the most important elements of strength and conditioning preparation and sport performance. Vertical Jump Test and One Repetition Maximum (1RM) are among the most often used.
Vertical Jump measure the height of the jump an athlete executes, while 1RM tests the maximum strength a person can produce for the tested movement.
In specific cases where athletic performance is the paramount, we perform a muscle fiber test, estimating the type of the muscle fibers build, especially important for power based athletes.
Dynamometer Hand Grip Test is very helpful in assessing general upper body strength. It is statistically confirmed that the grip strength will reflect the upper body general strength. It is also very useful when training for combat sports or other sports where the grip strength plays very important role.
Testing the methods and reassessing the status of the trainee is the only way to stay focused on the goal and assuring the most beneficial path of this journey. As we progress through the training it becomes also more and more difficult to yield the progress, therefore periodical tests are necessary to avoid plateau.