Interpretation of Fitness Test Results

(this is an extract from the Fitness Testing Guide)

Relative Importance

The first step in the interpretation of test results requires you to determine how important each of the components that were tested are to the overall performance in the sport. For example, while a poor result in a body fat test for a basketballer may be of concern, it is not as vital as a poor result in an endurance test. The relative importance of each fitness component normally requires a good understanding of the physiology involved, and so is best done by a qualified exercise physiologist.

Comparison to Norms

If the results are being compared to normative values (norms), you must consider if the norms used the same protocol, and the subject population and age group are similar. Also, published norms and rating charts may give the averages for a certain population, but this does not always indicate what is the desirable level for that particular parameter. (see more about using fitness testing norms)

Significance

Are the changes seen from test to test significant? There is normal variation in results from test to test due to factors such as biological variation, tester error, equipment calibrations, conditions, etc., so you must decide if the differences recorded are significant to affect performance, and are greater than can be expected from general sources of error.

Presentation

Following correct and thorough testing, the presentation of results to the athlete or coach can be the most important step if any recommendations are implemented. A good way of illustrating the results is with a chart or plot, where initial and subsequent tests can be overlaid or compared side-to-side so that changes over time can be easily determined.

 


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We have over 400 fitness tests listed, so it's not easy to choose the best one to use. You should consider the validity, reliability, costs and ease of use for each test. Use our testing guide to conducting, recording, and interpreting fitness tests. Any questions, please ask or search for your answer. To keep up with the latest in sport science and this website, subscribe to our newsletter. We are also on facebook and twitter.

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