What Are We Testing?

Assessing athletic development can be done in an assortment of ways. Typically, such assessment is done by testing maximal strength in a movement, dynamic strength in a movement, and possibly some other type of “sport specific” movement. There is nothing wrong with this type of testing, but it can leave the coach asking some questions.

One of the issues with this style of testing is that it may not give enough “insight” to the development of the athlete. Every movement has many variables that influence its performance and it is hard to discern whether or not those variables are influencing the outcomes of the tests. Typically, such variables arise most often in a “dynamic” style of testing.

Why Test

It is important to understand why testing is done. Testing is done to help guide a training program, which means the more accurate the testing is, the better of an idea the coach will have at pinpointing areas of improvement. Granted, any form of barbell/weight room testing is relatively non-specific, it can still provide insights into possible “general” physiological and neurological qualities that influence performance.

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The Other 22 Hours

It is easy to forget that training is not just a two hour process in the weight room. Training is not just about making a post workout shake and training is not just about making sure you hit your sets and reps. Too often we look at training and adaptation as two separate entities. We see our performance in the weight room as a result of the work we have put in the weight room and nothing else. However, training is a stimulus and adaptation is the process of our body responding to the stimulus. Who cares how great a stimulus is if we never adapt from it?

Training –> stimulus –> adaptation –> performance.

We are often great about causing a stimulus, but horrible about facilitating adaptation.

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Total System SRA

Total system SRA (stimulus-recovery-adaptation) is the idea/concept of looking at the body’s stimulus-recovery-adaptation process through the influences of its individual parts (subsystems). The adaptation process, also know as the general adaptation syndrome (GAS), is simple, yet effective model for learning about fatigue and recovery. However, it’s simplicity has led to some bigger misunderstandings. Below graph is referred to as the SRA curve (stimulus-recovery-adaptation)

Image 1

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Reliable versus Valid (Beware When You Compare)


One of the biggest issues we come across in measurement tools/equipment is whether or not the item we are using is reliable, valid or neither.

Reliable means the piece of equipment you are using is consistent in its measurements.

An example of reliable would be if someone uses the jump mat and jumps the same height three times in a row and the jump mat registers three of the same scores.

Valid means the piece of equipment you are using is measuring what you are actually trying to have it measure.

An example of valid would be if someone uses a jump mat and jumps 30 inches three times in a row and the jump mat measures 30 inches all three times.

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Know Your Equipment

There are a lot of great pieces of equipment that we use in training. However, we don’t always know how these pieces of equipment work. If we do not know how the equipment we use work, then we cannot optimize it.

The Jump Mat

The jump mat is a piece of equipment that nearly every single coach has seen in action. People stand on a mat, they jump up in the air, they land and it tells you how high you jumped. The question is, do you know the mat got that number?


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Training Without A Road Map?


Author: Darien Pyka CSCS Pn1

How can you get to your destination without a map? Training without establishing a set plan and not tracking along the way is just like planning a road trip with no direction and checkpoints. In our industry, it is important to set tangible goals to grow towards and track progress in order to know when athletes have hit their mark. In this article I will explain the importance of testing and tracking progress and the steps to take to implement with your athletes.

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Author: Dr. Gregg Mallett

I often hear from those who train I wish I had a GPS device to monitor my workouts and progress. Well, expensive GPS devices may not be needed to do so. Also, I often see people simply write down what they lifted after a particular set. This is good and all, but what does it mean? What do you do with this information? How do you measure progress? Are you weaker if you do not lift the same weight the next time around? Let us take a look at the metrics of volume (V) and rating of perceived exertion (RPE). This commentary will provide methods to use that can assist in the quantification a workout session and provide meaning.

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