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Key Functional Fitness Tests for Performance Athletes

Posted: Oct 15 2015

 

In an earliest post we examined a bit of how gap analysis can help athletes and the personal trainers working with them, help set seasonal training goals to help them get in the shape they need for their respective sports or competitive endeavours.  The key to gap analysis is knowing where you need to be with respect to various fitness indicators that are key to developing the skills and athletic attributes needed for your sport.

Of course, in order to determine where exactly you need to be, it’s important to have an idea of what tests are useful in measuring different performance variables.  Realize of course, that there are a number of different tests to measure agility, flexibility, or speed, or any number of other criterion.  However, there are certain tests that are generally considered the standard in their respective fitness area, depending on what one is looking to measure.

So here without any further delay are some of the more common evaluations that are done, for specific areas of fitness performance.

 

1)   Agility:  It’s a key measure for any sport where changing directions is paramount, and in particular.   Some key tests involved include the Zig Zag and L tests, 

 

2) Flexibility: The most common test for balance is the Standing Stork Test (uncovered or blind).  Essentially, you want to time how long a person can hold one leg underneath their opposite knee.

 

3) Flexibility :  Some of the more common ones include the Sit and Reach test, Hip Flexion and Trunk Flexion tests.  As well, there are a number of static flexibility tests for 

 4) Reaction Time/Reflexes:: The Ruler Drop test is a primary test for evaluating one’s reflexes.  In this, the tester holds the ruler just out of the outstretched fingers of the athlete, who has to catch the ruler between the thumb and index fingers.  The distance from the bottom of the ruler to where it is caught is a measure of an individual’s reflexes. The average of 3 attempts is considered the standard. 

 

5) Speed and Time: Generally for sports, short area sprints are generally indicators of one’s ability to accelerate for sports-specific purposes.    The 10 stride test and the 40 yard dash are the general standards as far as testing for pure speed and acceleration are concerned. 

 

6) Coordination: : As you might expect, the Hand Eye Coordination test is the test of choice in determining athletic coordination.  In this test, an athlete stands 2m away from a wall and proceeds to throw a tennis ball with one hand, and catch it with another.  Afterwards, the process is repeated in the opposite sequence. This is done for 30 seconds, and the total number of catches is recorded. 

 So here you have some standard tests for 6 key measures of fitness.  Of course, depending on the sport that one practices or competes in, there are other tests to consider.  We will look at some sport-specific ones in the future as we cover training for various sports and athletic disciplines.

 

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