All Thing You Need to Know About Fitness Test

Thursday, January 4, 2018

All Thing You Need to Know About Fitness Test

All Thing You Need to Know About Fitness Test. For decades we have read about, took part in and wondered why fitness tests are important or necessary, but do we actually understand them, the basics, the make up, the results, probably not. The word conjures up dread and fear in many an athlete or member of the public, no one wants to look a fool or fail at the test, some are physically sick before, during, after or all three, some need toilet breaks at every natural pause in the test. Trainers attempt to misguide you by calling it an assessment or a base test, but at the end of the day, it boils down to a test.

What does the test cover? 

Well that depends on your trainer, gym, fitness advisor, health professional, Some tests cover strength, aerobic output, lactic tolerance, speed, endurance others cover flexibility, VO2 max, explosive power, some are general in approach others sports and generic specific. Generally speaking, fitness tests cover strength, speed, suppleness, stamina, the outcome is the same it gives a trainer or a coach something to work from and gives the athlete or client a base line from which they can see an improvement the next time the test is conducted.
All Thing You Need to Know About Fitness Test
Why do we test?, this question can become complicated however a test is conducted in order that a measurement or evaluation process can begin, however anyone conducting the test as a trainer or coach should ensure they are familiar with the test and understand that the test must be specific to the end result and that it can be standardized and specific to the skills required for the client or athlete and may be performed under pressure. Tests should be able to measure the required factors that are to be tested, in other words the test should be objective rather than subjective. A test should be able to measure specific requirements in a sterile environment where possible, or be as close to the initial test as possible.

Factors to consider prior to fitness testing

o Area to be measured (e.g. recovery time)
o Method of measurement (e.g. monitor)
o Accuracy of the device (data input/output)
o Data Collection
o Data analysis
o Data to be disseminated
o Decisions to be considered in relation to collated information
o Implementation of such decisions regarding technique (if applicable) and training regimes

The above factors and considerations should be done in consultation with the person being tested and be completed at each stage.

Everyone should be aware that other factors can influence a test and need to be considered,
o Accuracy of the test
o Test conditions
o Specificity of the test
o Commitment of the client/athlete
o Caffeine intake
o Medication
o Warm Up
o Time of the test
o Fueling in respect of last meal and what time
o Clients knowledge of the test
o Effort during the test by the client or athlete
o Knowledge and skill of the tester
o Athlete/clients rest periods prior to the test
o Time elapsed since last fitness test

The test itself should be simplistic in that it will test one factor unless a sport specific technique is required to be tested. Trainers, Coaches, athletes and clients alike should be aware, No be prepared for fluctuations in the tests each time, resulting in increases and decreases in some areas.

After everything has been calculated, debated, analysed and considered, what happens to the information that is recorded. Well the information collated is only viable if all parties concerned are aware that training diaries on both sides must be maintained. The trainer or Coach requires training records in order that a programme can be monitored, corrected and implemented to increase or decrease the volume of training and specificity of it so that injuries, overtraining and de-motivation is not allowed to creep in. The client or athlete is required to keep a diary in order that they can see progression, monitor injuries, monitor fueling, moods the list can be as detailed or as sparse as is required for the standard of the records and test.

Coaches and Trainers need to understand the test they are conducting in order that the correct data will be collated from the test, failure to get the basics right will have dramatic effects on future training regimes and tests.

Information required to be collated from any test will vary dependent on various factors, a few things can help minimise some of the effecting factors, such as the test should be specific and measurable, data from training sessions both Coach/trainer led and individual training need to be collated and compared ensuring all are kept up to date this shouldn't be a problem for any of the parties involved in the test.

Factors affecting the fitness test

o Athlete well being (moods, composure, health)
o Training Load
o Intensity of Training
o Specificity of training
o Last race/test
o Body statistics (body fat, bmi, resting heart rate etc)
o Training Conditions (eg outside, inside, hilly, windy, hot)
o Injuries
o Responsiveness (to training load, moods, etc)

Other information that should be considered are status measurements, this can be a test, which in turn becomes part of the training regime and is used frequently to measure and observe progress within the regime. Things such as
o Event Specific
o Muscle endurance
o Plyometric strength
o Flexibility
o Mobility

After considering all of the above and the need for various types of testing how best can they be described.

Maximal Tests. Basically record the client or athlete's effort at race pace, which in turn means until exhaustion, tests such as
o MSFT (multi stage fitness test)
o BFT (Military basic Fitness Test)

These tests do have disadvantages such as athlete commitment to the test, injury or overload.

Sub maximal tests are designed to test an athlete below their maximal effort in turn a coach or trainer can make a generalization about the results beyond those areas tested. As with maximal testing there are disadvantages such as small measurement recorded inaccurately can result in large discrepancies owing to the generalisation of the result, also generalisation in comparison to the test.

What kind of tests are there and how do we know which ones are right for us as individuals or as trainers/coaches. Basically some of it will and is trial and error although the test should be specific to the outcome, and tests criteria should remain constant at each testing face. No matter what part of your body, or Cardio system you wont to test their is a test out their.

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