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Health and Fitness Testing

a young man and an older man training with weights

Health and Fitness Testing

Testing is an important part of the screening process as it gives one an accurate picture of fitness, an indication of appropriate starting intensities, a baseline for goal setting and assistance in group fitness recommendations. As the instructor, you need to be able to identify and select the appropriate health and fitness tests for your client.

Testing: General

  • Valid – test should measure what it claims to measure
  • Reliable – obtain the same result on two or more separate trials/occasions (quality control).

When choosing which tests to perform, the main priority is the safety of the client, you will need to consider:

  • Injuries or medical conditions e.g. is it safe to ask the client to do an overhead exercise?.
  • The goal of the client eg if the goal is muscular endurance you will need to select a muscular endurance test
  • The current health state of the client eg mobility. – is it appropriate for the client to get onto the floor to complete a Sit-up test?
  • Current cardiovascular fitness level e.g. will the beep test be too hard? Will the Step test be too easy?
  • Experience, coordination, and balance e.g. are the tests too complicated for the client?
  • Self-esteem e.g. Is it necessary to tell the client their Body Mass Index (BMI) result?

General Guidelines for Clients – Prior to Testing

  • Refrain from ingesting food, alcohol, caffeine or tobacco within 4 hrs of testing
  • Ideally, the tests should be carried out at the same time or day under similar circumstances e.g. similar activity and food eaten prior to testing
  • Clients should be rested for the assessment
  • Appropriate clothing & footwear
  • Clients made aware that the test may be fatiguing
  • Note that temperature and humidity on the day can also affect results
  • Clients should continue with any medications
  • Bring a list of medications and detail – the dosage, frequency of dose & last dose taken 24hrs prior to testing, drink ample fluids to ensure hydration.

What tests? – Health

  • Blood Pressure
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Girths
  • Body Fat %

What Tests? – Fitness

Components of Fitness and examples of tests

  • Cardiorespiratory endurance – Beep test, submaximal treadmill or cycle tests, YMCA Step test
  • Muscular strength – 1 RM (Repetition max) which is only suited to advanced clients, estimated 1 RM test
  • Muscular endurance – Push-up test, plank hold, chin-up hold
  • Flexibility – Sit and reach (hamstring), Arm over/Arm under (shoulder)
  • Body composition – Weight, Body fat %, BMI.

Choosing Fitness Tests

  • Available equipment to the instructor
  • Client health & medical clearance
  • Time available
  • Client comfort
  • Client goals
  • Client experience
  • Contraindication – where the risk of exercise testing outweighs the benefits to the client.

Why Test?

You must explain to your client

  • What is the test called?
  • Why are you doing the test?
  • What does the test tell us?
  • How will you do the test?
  • Explain the process
  • What is the result?
© CQUniversity 2021
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Personal Trainer's Toolkit: Client Onboarding and Fitness Testing

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