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Guide to Conducting Fitness Tests

(this is an extract from the Fitness Testing Guide)

Test Preparation

To ensure that each subject is primed physically to perform up to their potential, they should follow set nutritional and physical guidelines. If all participants follow the same procedures and are in the same physical state, then comparisons are more valid, and if the same procedures are followed for each testing session, then the results will be more reliable. (see specific test preparation guidelines)

Test Sequence

The order in which the fitness tests are performed can affect performance in subsequent tests. Here are some guidelines when deciding on what order to conduct the test. These are guidelines that can be used to determine the best order in your situation. There are other factors to consider such as logistics of getting from one test location to another, group sizes, number of assessor, and time constraints. Whatever order is used should be recorded and made consistent for future testing sessions.


Testing should be done performed at particular times that correspond to the aims of the tests. For example, you may wish to test at the beginning of certain phases of training, and then at regular intervals to monitor progress. For school groups it may be appropriate to schedule testing at the beginning and ends of school semesters.


Safety checks should be done prior to any testing session, such as checking for the proper working of equipment, and adequate supply of safety equipment such as mats, water bottles and first aid kits. During the sessions, give adequate warm-up when necessary (see more about warming up for fitness testing). For maximal endurance testing on elderly and special populations (after medical clearance has been given), medical assistance should be close at hand, and adequate resuscitation equipment should be available nearby.

Any person older than 35 years of age, particularly anyone overweight or with a history of high blood pressure and heart disease, should consult a physician before undertaking any vigorous testing. Fitness testing should not be avoided, as for this population it can be useful as a screening device and to help devise a program to suit special needs. For all participants that are not accustomed to exercise, it would be wise to conduct a PARQ - Physical Readiness Questionnaire.

Recording Sheets

Well-designed scoring sheets make recording scores more efficient and avoids errors. They should include space for all relevant information. In addition to the test results, the following should also be recorded with every testing session:

Test Assistants

All test assistants should be adequately trained prior to testing, to ensure correct administration of the tests, and reduce error between testers.

Session Organization

Good organization will ensure the testing session runs smoothly. If testing a large group, you may want to set up testing stations with a different tester at each station, or with one tester following the same group around the stations.


fitness testing guideFitness Testing Guide

Download your free copy of the Topend Sports' Fitness Testing Guide — a guide for you to plan, conduct, analyze and interpret fitness testing of athletes.

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