NASM CPT 7th Edition Chapter 12: Posture, Movement, and Performance Assessments
NASM CPT 7th Edition Chapter 12: Posture, Movement, and Performance Assessments 5

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Chapter Goals:

  • Find the rationale for posture, movement, and performance assessments.
  • Find the steps for doing assessments on posture, movement, and performance. 
  • Be able to understand the results of assessments on posture, movement, and performance.
  • Give a summary for the use of fitness assessments as tools for building rapport and credibility with your clients.

Introduction to Postural, Movement, and Performance Assessments

These types of assessments are a vital part of the intake process for all clients and assists the trainer in making an individualized program for exercise for the client’s well-being.

Static posture is the position of the musculoskeletal system when the body is simply standing.

Dynamic posture is the alignment of the body during motion.

Fitness professionals need to be good at recognizing correct optimal movement based on the foundations of anatomy and physiology.

Importance of Posture

Optimal posture allows for your body to be aligned in a way that will lower stress on joints and tissues, whether it is seated, standing, or lying. 

Poor posture often results from work environments that require excessive amounts of sitting.

Muscle Imbalances

These are alterations in the lengths of muscles around a joint where some are overactive, and some are underactive. There is simply a lack of balance in the muscles around a joint.

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Static Postural Assessment

This allows the professional to look at deviations from the optimal bodily alignment in a standing position.

Static posture assessments include anterior, lateral, and posterior views to see all the deviations from the optimal position that exists.

This also utilizes the kinetic chain checkpoints. These are:

  • Feet and ankles
  • Knees
  • Lumbo-pelvic-hip-complex
  • Shoulders
  • Head and neck

Common Distortion Patterns

There are three common distortion patterns that are seen.

Pes planus distortion syndrome: Characterized by flat feet, knee valgus, and adducted and internally rotated hips 

Lower crossed syndrome: Characterized by an anterior pelvic tilt and excessive lordosis (extension) of the lumbar spine 

Upper crossed syndrome: Characterized by a forward head and protracted (rounded) shoulders 

It is important to know how to recognize these various patterns.

Observing Dynamic Posture

Overhead Squat Assessment

This is one of the first movement assessments used for the majority of clients. It is possibly one of the best ones for showing so many problems.

This assessment is designed for assessing dynamic posture, stability of the core, and control of the neuromuscular system for the entire body in a squatting motion.

This advanced movement has a lot of moving parts and things to look for, so it is important to thoroughly study this part of the book.

Many impairment types can be found during certain parts of the move and in all kinetic chain checkpoints.

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Single-leg Squat Assessment

This looks at the dynamic posture, strength in the lower extremity, balance, and coordination in the body overall.

This test is normally done for the clients that do well when performing the overhead squat assessment. 

Pushing Assessment

This assessment is done to challenge the upper body and the trunk during pushing moves. It can be done before a workout session or put into the actual programming to accomplish.

Pulling Assessment

This is an assessment that challenges the upper body and trunk when pulling. This can also be done before or during an exercise training session.

Performance Assessments

Push Up Test

This measures the muscular endurance of the upper body during pushing moves. The goal will be to complete as many reps as possible, while using good form, in a certain length of time. 

The test can be done many ways, and this depends on the population being tests, but most often the standard 60 second standard push up test is done.

Bench Press Strength Assessment

This is used to look at max strength and find a one rep max for the exercise of the bench press. It may not be good for all clients, but it is a solid test for those with strength-specific goals.

Squat Strength Assessment

This is designed to find max strength and the one rep max for the squat exercise that looks at lower body strength. It is like the bench press test where it is for the clients with strength-specific goals. 

Vertical Jump Assessment

This test the max jump height and lower body power of the client. It is an advanced assessment for power of the body and may be suitable for even less clients.

Long Jump Assessment

This is also called the broad jump, and it test the max jump distance and lower body power in the horizontal. It is an advanced assessment for power of the body and may be suitable for few clients.

Lower Extremity Functional Test

This tests the client’s lateral speed and agility. It is very advanced and only for clients that want to work on speed and performance goals. 

40 Yard Dash Assessment

This is an advanced assessment of speed and performance that is used to test the ability to react, accelerate, and sprint at max speed.

Pro Shuttle Assessment

This is used for assessing acceleration, deceleration, agility, and control. It is very advanced and only for clients that want to work on speed and performance goals. 

Implementing Fitness Assessments

The benefits of conducting and making normal use of fitness assessments are:

  • Assessing a client’s static posture allows for a quick understanding of how they position their body during the day.
  • Movement and performance assessments demonstrate a baseline of the client’s functional status in a wide range of tasks.
  • Movement assessments are helpful to identify and correct movement impairments and potential muscle imbalances.
  • Strength-based assessments allow the fitness professional to accurately assess a client’s maximal strength capabilities.
  • Performance assessments allow for careful tracking of athletic performance (like power, speed, agility, muscular endurance).

Sequencing Assessments

The assessments work best when following this order: preparticipation health screening, physiological assessments, body composition assessments, postural and movement assessments, cardio assessments, and then performance assessments. 

Reassessment

This is an important part of the process with clients over time. This should be done on a somewhat regular basis.

NASM CPT 7th Edition Chapter 12: Posture, Movement, and Performance Assessments 6
NASM CPT 7th Edition Chapter 12: Posture, Movement, and Performance Assessments 7
NASM CPT 7th Edition Chapter 12: Posture, Movement, and Performance Assessments 8

Tyler Read

Tyler Read, BSc, CPT. Tyler holds a B.S. in Kinesiology from Sonoma State University and is a certified personal trainer (CPT) with NASM (National Academy of sports medicine), and has over 15 years of experience working as a personal trainer. He is a published author of running start, and a frequent contributing author on Healthline and Eat this, not that.

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