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Fitness Testing Newsletter: September 10 2007

Hi and welcome to another fitness testing newsletter. You are receiving this email as you have subscribed through the Topendsports website http://www.topendsports.com/testing/. If you do not want to receive any more newsletters, you can unsubscribe through the Yahoo groups administration panel.

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In this issue

Included in this newsletter is an article on fitness testing the obese, and about using Radar for measuring speed.

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Testing the Obese

Many fitness tests are designed for testing athletes. For those who are overweight or obese, some tests may not be suitable and may need to be modified before implementation. As overweight or obese people are usually not accustomed to doing exercise, they will need more detailed instruction, longer warm ups and cool downs, and closer monitoring. Make sure that a medical clearance has been given — anyone overweight or with a history of high blood pressure and heart disease should consult a physician before undertaking any vigorous testing. When testing, make sure that medical assistance and first aid supplies are close at hand, and adequate resuscitation equipment should be available nearby.

Many common fitness tests may not be suitable for testing obese patients. The running distances, times or weight used can be decreased or equipment may need to be modified. It is most likely that the reason for fitness testing obese or overweight subjects is that they wish to undertake a fitness training program to reduce their excess body fat. Although monitoring the changes in body weight will be adequate in many cases, you may want to record waist girth or even skinfold measures to monitor the body composition changes. A maximal endurance test may not suitable for obese populations due to the health risk of excessive stress on the heart. There are several alternative sub-maximal endurance tests. Rather than a running test, you could use the Rockport Walk test. A cycle test, such as the Astrand Cycle Test or the PWC170 test, will take more stress of the legs if walking is not possible or difficult. Although there are no similar tests, you could even make up an assessment such as the time to water walk across the pool.

Any test which requires jumping (vertical jump), lifting body weight (chin ups, push ups), complex movements (sit ups) or rapid change in direction (agility tests) would not be suitable for obese or very overweight subjects. To measure leg strength you may wish to perform a 1RM seated leg press, and for upper body strength a wall push up test or repetition max bench press may be suitable. Measuring flexibility in obese patients is more difficult as the fat mass can be the limitation in the range of movement, not the muscle or joint flexibility. You may wish to conduct some of the range of health tests available, as it is important to see the improvements in health as that would be the long term goals of most fitness training programs for the obese.

Comparing the test results to normative values is important in the interpretation of results. Firstly, you must ensure that the norms used are for same test protocol, which may not be the case if you have modified the test. Although comparing results to others can help in motivate the subject, in most cases the important thing is to see improvement, which can be seen in the longitudinal test results. In that case, the important thing is to ensure that whatever test procedure is used is consistent each time, and the results reliably collected.

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Radar Speed Testing

You may not have thought of this before, but a Radar device can have multiple applications for measuring speed in fitness testing. The radar can be set to record peak velocity, of either an object such as a ball, or the arm or bat, which is handy for many sports. The radar can be hand-held or one that can be placed on a tripod or on the ground. To get correct speed gun readings most radar guns will need to be placed directly in the line of travel of the object to be clocked, otherwise only a component of the true speed will be measured.

more details about Radar Testing: http://www.topendsports.com/testing/tests/radar.htm

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About this Newsletter

Fitness testing news and latest information, including notification of updates to the ultimate source of all fitness testing information - "Rob's Home of Fitness Testing". Topics covered include methods for measuring body fat, shuttle run beep test issues, strength and power testing and much more.

Thank you for your support of my site.

Rob Wood

Rob's Home of Fitness Testing

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