Summary of Tests
Height (Stretch Stature)- Used to determine body mass index (BMI). A high BMI is a marker of overweight/obesity and is a risk factor for a range of chronic diseases.
Body Mass- When combined with height, body mass can be used to calculate BMI (Body Mass (kg)/Height (m)2).
Waist Girth- Waist girth provides an assessment of abdominal adiposity. High abdominal adiposity (i.e. accumulation of fat around the abdomen) is associated with an increased risk of a range of chronic diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers.
Gluteal (Hip) Girth- When combined with the measurement of waist girth, the measurement of hip girth can be used to calculate the waist:hip ratio (WHR). In WHR of > 0.9 for males and > 0.8 for females were used by the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ 1995 National Nutrition Survey as defining increased risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality.
Hydrodensitometry- Body density is determined by hydrodensitometry (underwater weighing) at residual volume (RV), with this lung volume estimated from Forced Vital Capacity (FVC) using a Vitalograph Spirometer prior to the underwater mass trials.
Sit & Reach- The sit & reach test provides a measure of overall flexibility. Poor flexibility may predispose one to an increased risk of musculoskeletal injury.
Grip Strength- Grip strength is correlated with overall body strength but is readily assessed with lower risk than assessing overall body strength using maximal contraction of multiple muscle groups. Low strength is associated with an increased risk of falls in older adults.
Abdominal Strength- Abdominal strength is important because strong abdominal muscles assist with stabilising the core. This can protect against injury to the lower back and against the development of non-specific low back pain. The latter is the most common cause of disability in adults under the age of 45 years.
Forced Vital Capacity (FVC) and Forced Expiratory Volume (FEV1)- Forced vital capacity (FVC) is a measure of the total volume of air that you can exhale from your lungs from the end of a maximal inspiration to the end of a maximal expiration. Forced Expiratory Volume (FEV1) is a measure of the volume of air that you can exhale in the first second during a maximal effort following a maximal inspiration. Both values decline with age due primarily to stiffening of the lung tissue and thoracic wall, as well as loss of strength of the expiratory muscles. They can also be reduced in disease states, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and can be regularly checked to monitor disease progression. Ventilation (movement of air in and out of the lungs) to exchange gases across the alveolar walls is not rate limiting for exercise performance in healthy lungs as enough air can be moved to ensure haemoglobin remains fully saturated with oxygen even during maximal exercise, but in a diseased lung, this may not occur and exercise performance can be compromised.
Blood Pressure- High blood pressure, or hypertension, is defined as a systolic blood pressure > 140 mmHg and/or diastolic blood pressure > 90 mmHg and is associated with an increased risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Heart Rate Telemetry- Heart rate (HR) data can be used for numerous purposes. One use is to determine an individual’s level of fitness or their level of fatigue. The following instructions will show you how to operate a Polar HR monitor, and use it to record and download HR data onto a computer
Determination of VO2 max- The open circuit method of indirect calorimetry is used to measure oxygen consumption (VO2). In this method the subject is connected to a mouthpiece and respiratory valve. The subject inhales ambient (room) air and the expired gas passes via the tubing into a mixing chamber. A small sample of gas from the mixing chamber is analysed by the gas analysers so that a mixed-expired O2 and CO2 concentrations can be determined. Based on the differences between the amount of O2 and CO2 inspired and expired, the amount of O2consumed over a time period can be calculated. However, in the system used, only expired ventilation is measured. The Haldane transformation is used to calculate the inspired volume of air from the expired volume of gas to ultimately determine VO2. This assumes that air is made up of 3 gases (O2, CO2 and N2) and that nitrogen concentration is constant.
VO2 Submax Predicted
Lactate Threshold - Your lactate threshold is the point at which your body produces lactic acid faster than it can remove it. As a result, people are unable to maintain this intensity for long periods and the body is forced to slow down. Training at, or slightly above, your lactate threshold will cause your body to adapt to this intensity, meaning that you will be able to perform better at this intensity and therefore increase your “threshold”. This will directly translate to improving your performance in any endurance type events.
Vertical Jump- Power is defined as the rate of doing work. How high a person can jump depends on how rapidly they can accelerate their body, with a faster acceleration, and therefore more power, resulting in a higher jump. Vertical jump height is commonly assessed in athletes across a range of sports where jump height or power are important for performance (e.g. AFL, basketball, volleyball, sprint cycling etc).
6 or 10 s Cycle Ergometer Test- Sprint cycling such as the flying 200 m and matched sprint races are track cycling events lasting approximately 10–15 s. The anaerobic alactacid energy system is the dominant metabolic energy pathway. This energy system is also relevant to other track and road cycling events, for example, the start of the 1000 m time-trial, individual and team pursuit and the sprint to the finish line at the end of a road race. The relationship between cycling performance and cycle ergometer performance has been well established. For example, international level cyclists produce more work in a short-term ergometer test than national level racing cyclists and higher maximum and average power outputs are produced by sprint cyclists than by pursuit cyclists in the 10 s test.
Speed and Agility
Speed and agility are essential elements required for most team sports. Sprint tests are used to determine an individual’s ability to accelerate and run at speed. The basic movement patterns of many sports also require the players to perform sudden changes in body direction. The purpose of most tests of agility is to measure the ability to rapidly change body direction and position in the horizontal plane. With all field testings it is important to record the test environment (climate and surface). Changes in fitness should be the only variable that produces a change in performance.
Sprints- Acceleration and speed are assessed using timing gates placed at the desired distances specific to the sport. Typically, these have been set at 5, 10 and 20 m (team sport players rarely run more than 20 m in a straight line during a game).
Agility- Timing gates placed at the desired locations specific to the test/sport are also used to assess agility. The most popular and simplest test is the 5-0-5 agility test. This test measures the time for a single “up and back” 5 m course from a running start (pictured below).