How baseline testing can optimize your training planFebruary 24, 2017
You’ve set your S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely) training or lifestyle goals and you’re motivated to get started—so what's next? How do you design your training plan so you can reach your goal in the safest and most efficient way?
The answer: Baseline testing
Every athlete has different abilities and needs that contribute to their performance. An efficient and appropriate baseline test (or performance assessment) will not only show you where your weaknesses are, but set a baseline that will provide meaningful benchmarks for you to track your progress, and ultimately your success. Contrary to popular believe, baseline testing isn’t just for elite and competitive athletes, it’s should be an important component of every training, recreational and lifestyle goal.
THE COMPONENTS OF A BASELINE TEST
A baseline test provides detailed information about your movement capabilities.
Testing may include:
- Muscular endurance
- Body composition
- Energy system utilization
The Fortius baseline assessment is designed by our Strength & Conditioning Coaches and Sport Scientists can include a variety of tests depending on the population of interest. This list includes tests for our Adult Combine for Lifelong Wellness athletes:
- Mobility, balance & movement quality
– Functional Movement Screen
- Body Composition
– Height & weight
– Girth measurements
- Strength & Muscle endurance
– Inverted rows
– Single leg squats
– Three-way plank
– Modified Cooper treadmill test
DOING THE “RIGHT” TESTS
As discussed above, there are many benefits to testing, but how do you know if you’re testing what you want to measure? For example, you wouldn’t test how strong someone’s upper body strength is by seeing how far they can run. There are two components that are important to look for: validity and reliability.
Validity—ensure the test is designed to measure what it’s intended to measure. Validity is imperative to ensure the testing matches the goals and objectives you are working toward. Using the example above, you may use push-ups as one of your measures of upper body strength.
Reliability—The other important component to any assessment is reliability. This is the degree to which a test produces stable results. In other words, if you performed the test multiple times, you should get fairly close to the same results. This is important for when you re-test, as the deviation from the first score should show a change (positive or negative) for you toward your goal.
OPTIMIZING YOUR RESULTS
Results from your baseline testing provide evidence as to where your strengths are, what needs to be improved, and help to create an effective plan for targeting your goals and improving your performance.
They also help you ensure your plan is working.
Regular and consistent follow up assessments are the best way to ensure your plan is having the desirable effects. For example, if you’re trying to improve your body composition, regular analysis will let you know if you’re making the necessary changes to achieve the desired outcome. If the follow up assessments show you that you’re not improving at the rate you wish to see changes, you have the ability to change course and adjust your plan.
TAKE HOME MESSAGES
- Complete a baseline assessment to help build an effective and safe training program.
- Complete regular performance assessments to learn if you’re achieving the desired rate of progress towards your goal.
- Make adjustments to your plan (if necessary) to optimize your performance and achieve success