Fitness and Performance Testing in Sport - Test Administration and Test Batteries

Original Editor - Wanda van Niekerk based on the course by James Laskin

Top Contributors - Wanda van Niekerk  

Test Administration[edit | edit source]

For accurate test results the following are necessary[1]:

  • safe administration of tests
  • correct administration of tests
  • organised administration of tests

The health and safety of athletes are paramount, testers should be trained and responsible, tests should be organised and efficiently administered, and athletes should be well prepared and properly instructed.[1]

Increasing Test Reliability and Validity[edit | edit source]

The following should be considered and applied to fitness and performance test administration:

Health and Safety Considerations[edit | edit source]

  • Medical clearance is necessary for all athletes before being allowed to train and compete
    • Certain testing conditions may be detrimental to athletes' health and healthcare professionals should be aware of these as well as the signs and symptoms that athletes may present with.
  • Monitor athletes during, before and after maximal exertions
    • Maximal exertions such as maximal runs or 1-repetition maximum (1RM) tests can identify or worsen existing heart problems in athletes (for example irregular heartbeats (arrhythmia) or restricted blood flow to the heart muscle).
  • Medical referral is necessary for athletes with any of the following persistent symptoms[1]: chest, pressure, pain, discomfort, dizziness, lightheadedness, confusion, headache, cold clammy skin, irregular pulse, rapid pulse, bone or joint pain, blurred vision, nausea, shortness of breath, unresponsiveness to rest, loss of consciousness. Be aware that these symptoms can happen long after the athlete has stopped with the exercise.
  • Monitor athletes in hot and humid conditions
Temperature limits at ranges of relative humidity for strenuous exercise testing [3]
Relative humidity (%) Temperature limit
0 35° C (95° F)
1 - 20 32 ° C (90° F)
21 - 50 29° C (85° F)
51 - 90 27° C (80° F)
91 - 100 24° C (75° F)

Fitness and Performance Testing in the Heat[edit | edit source]

  • Athletes should have a baseline of fitness in the activity tested and be given time to acclimatise to the heat and humidity ( optimal duration of heat training/exposure for heat acclimation for athletes are 60 - 90 minutes per day for at least 2 weeks before, but shorter duration (1 week) can also lead to adaptation and change[4])
  • Avoid testing in under extreme conditions of heat and humidity - if available use indoor facilities, or test early morning or early evening
  • Athletes should be well-hydrated in the 24 hour period before testing and maintain hydration status
    • An indication of adequate hydration is plentiful clear urine
    • Encourage athletes to take in fluids during exercise in the heat
    • Avoid salt tablets
    • Amount of fluid and rate of fluid replacement depends on:
      • individual sweat rates
      • exercise duration
      • environment
    • Hyponatremia may occur during long endurance events and when environmental temperature is elevated[5][6]
      • Signs and symptoms of hyponatremia or water intoxication can range from mild to severe. Look out for:
        • extremely dilute urine in combination with bloated skin,[1]
        • altered consciousness or loss of consciousness,[1]
        • with no increase in body temperature[1]
        • weakness[7]
        • nausea[7]
        • headache[7]
        • vomiting[7]
        • seizures[7]
        • cardiorespiratory distress[7]
    • Advise athletes to wear light-coloured, loose fitting clothing from breathable fabric[4]
    • Signs of heat stroke or heat exhaustion[8]:
      • cramps
      • fatigue
      • nausea
      • dizziness
      • chills
      • faintness
      • unsteady walk
      • lack of sweat
      • skin colour varies from pale to flush
      • garbled speech
      • goose bumps
      • tachycardia
      • weak or rapid pulse

Test Administrators and Testers[edit | edit source]

The following should guide the selection and training of fitness and performance testers[1][9]:

  • Make use of competent and trained testers
  • Testers should have knowledge and understanding of testing procedures and protocols
  • All tests should be correctly performed and scored
  • Provide testers with practice and training
  • Ensure testers are consistent
  • Keep checklists of materials and equipment needed for testing
  • Written test protocols are beneficial to refer to or when questions arise during testing

Scoring Forms[edit | edit source]

Documentation is a necessity, consider the following[1][10]:

  • Have scoring forms ready to increase efficiency and reduce recording and documentation inconsistencies
  • Sufficient space for all test results and commentary
  • Document environmental conditions
  • Make a note of any specific test set-up details

Fitness and Performance Testing Format[edit | edit source]

  • Decide on test format - will athletes be tested all at once or in groups
  • The same tester should administer a given test to all athletes, if possible
  • Set athletes up for success - prepare them for testing[1]:
    • Announce the date and time of testing
    • Discuss the purpose of testing with athletes
    • Have a pretest practice session
    • Give simple and clear instructions
    • Demonstrate proper test techniques
    • Have a warm-up before testing
    • Provide athletes with information and test scores after each trial
    • Have a supervised cool-down period after testing

Sequence of Tests[edit | edit source]

Design the order of tests in such a manner that the completion of one test does not negatively affect performance in the subsequent tests.[1]

  • Non-fatiguing tests
    • height, weight, flexibility, skinfold measurements, vertical jump
  • Agility tests
    • T-test, pro-agility test
  • Maximum power and strength tests
    • 1 Repetition Maximum tests
  • Sprint tests
    • 40 m sprint test
  • Local muscular endurance tests
    • push-up test
  • Fatiguing anaerobic capacity tests
    • 275 m (300 yard) shuttle run
  • Aerobic capacity tests
    • 2.4 km (1.5 mile) run or Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test

Physiological Factors Determining Components of Physical Fitness[edit | edit source]

Physiological factors determining components of physical fitness
Strength Endurance Speed Flexibility
Muscle size

Muscle composition

Bodyweight

Intensity of nerve impulses

Hypertrophy of muscle

Aerobic capacity

Lactic acid tolerance

Movement economy

Muscle composition

Mobility of nervous system

Muscle composition

Explosive strength

Flexibility

Bio-chemical reserve and metabolic power

Elasticity and relaxing capacity of muscle

Muscle strength

Anatomical structure of joint

Age and sex

Stretch ability of muscle

Internal environment

Injury


Fitness and Performance Test Batteries[edit | edit source]

Fitness and performance test batteries are commonly used in sports to assess fitness and performance characteristics of athletes. The results are used to evaluate training adaptations and player selection. Various fitness and performance characteristics are assessed as part of the test battery or set of tests.[13]

[14]

Examples of Test Batteries[edit | edit source]

  • Eurofit
    • battery of tests used to assess physical fitness in schools (children and adolescents), health-related fitness in adults and in sporting clubs[15]
    • Tests included:
      • Flamingo test (balance)
      • Plate tapping (upper-body speed)
      • Sit and reach (flexibility)
      • Standing broad jump (lower body power)
      • Handgrip strength (upper body strength)
      • Sit-ups (abdominal muscle endurance)
      • Bent-arm hang (upper body muscle endurance)
      • 10 x 5 m agility shuttle run (agility)
      • 20 m multistage shuttle run (aerobic endurance)
    • Read more on Eurofit
  • Functional Movement Screen
    • Designed to screen a series of movements that help identify compensatory movement patterns and limitations.[16]
    • Tests included:
      • Deep squat
      • Hurdle step
      • In-line lunge
      • Shoulder mobility
      • Active straight leg raise
      • Trunk stability push-up
      • Rotary stability
    • Read more on Functional Movement Screen
  • Sport-Specific Test Battery Examples

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 McGuigan M. Chapter 12 Principles of Test Selection and Administration. In Haff GG, Triplett NT, editors. Essentials of strength training and conditioning 4th edition. Human kinetics; 2015 Sep 23.
  2. Racinais S, Alonso JM, Coutts AJ, Flouris AD, Girard O, González‐Alonso J, Hausswirth C, Jay O, Lee JK, Mitchell N, Nassis GP. Consensus recommendations on training and competing in the heat. Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports. 2015 Jun;25:6-19.
  3. McArdle WD, Katch FI, Katch VL. Essentials of exercise physiology. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2006.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Racinais S, Hosokawa Y, Akama T, Bermon S, Bigard X, Casa DJ, Grundstein A, Jay O, Massey A, Migliorini S, Mountjoy M. IOC consensus statement on recommendations and regulations for sport events in the heat. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2022 Sep 23.
  5. Nowak AS, Kennelley GE, Krabak BJ, Roberts WO, Tenforde KM, Tenforde AS. Endurance Athletes and Climate Change. The Journal of Climate Change and Health. 2022 Feb 1:100118.
  6. Knechtle B, Chlíbková D, Papadopoulou S, Mantzorou M, Rosemann T, Nikolaidis PT. Exercise-associated hyponatremia in endurance and ultra-endurance performance–aspects of sex, race location, ambient temperature, sports discipline, and length of performance: a narrative review. Medicina. 2019 Aug 26;55(9):537.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 Adrogué HJ, Tucker BM, Madias NE. Diagnosis and Management of Hyponatremia: A Review. JAMA. 2022 Jul 19;328(3):280-91.
  8. Roberts WO, Armstrong LE, Sawka MN, Yeargin SW, Heled Y, O’Connor FG. ACSM expert consensus statement on exertional heat illness: recognition, management, and return to activity. Current sports medicine reports. 2021 Sep 1;20(9):470-84.
  9. Burnstein BD, Steele RJ, Shrier I. Reliability of fitness tests using methods and time periods common in sport and occupational management. Journal of athletic training. 2011;46(5):505-13.
  10. Graham J. Guidelines for providing valid testing of athletes' fitness levels. Strength & Conditioning Journal. 1994 Dec 1;16(6):7-14.
  11. Dr. Jacob Goodin. Performance Testing | Safety Factors | CSCS Chapter 12. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBcmCDi6Mno[last accessed 14/12/2022]
  12. DR J Kang DPT. CSCS Study Guide: Chapter 12 SUMMARY [Principles of Test Selection & Administration]. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Joe8-V2uo2c [last accessed 14/12/2022]
  13. Robbins DW, Goodale T. Evaluation of the physical test battery implemented at the National Football League Combine. Strength & Conditioning Journal. 2012 Oct 1;34(5):1-0.
  14. The PE Tutor. What is a fitness test battery? Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYZfXYwevBg [last accessed 22/12/2022]
  15. Grgic J. Test–retest reliability of the EUROFIT test battery: a review. Sport Sciences for Health. 2022 Apr 15:1-8.
  16. Clark SC, Rowe ND, Adnan M, Brown SM, Mulcahey MK. Effective Interventions for Improving Functional Movement Screen Scores Among “High-Risk” Athletes: A Systematic Review. International journal of sports physical therapy. 2022;17(2):131.
  17. Nightingale SC, Miller S, Turner A. The usefulness and reliability of fitness testing protocols for ice hockey players: A literature review. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. 2013 Jun 1;27(6):1742-8.
  18. Turner A, Walker S, Stembridge M, Coneyworth P, Reed G, Birdsey L, Barter P, Moody J. A testing battery for the assessment of fitness in soccer players. Strength & Conditioning Journal. 2011 Oct 1;33(5):29-39.