Chapter 10 – Fitness Assessment Selection and Administration

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    Chapter Objectives:

    • Discuss the purposes for the performance of physical assessments on a client.
    • Determine the validity and reliability of a test.
    • Give risk stratification criteria to clients in order to determine suitability for specific tests.
    • Choose appropriate tests for clients.

    Purposes of Assessments

    Assessments are used to get baseline data and give a basis to develop goals and effective programs.

    Gathering Baseline Data

    This data gives baselines for future comparisons and shows the improvements and rate of progress for the clients.

    The data shows the current strengths and weaknesses that affect the emphasis the program will have.

    The data assists in establishing the right volumes and intensities of exercise.

    The data identifies areas of possible injury or the contraindications before starting programs. 

    The data is a record that shows prudent judgment and the appropriate scope of practice in program design if a client gets an injury.

    Goals and Program Development

    Physical assessments can be used by the trainer along with the personal information gathered in order to plan a specific and time-efficient program to help the client achieve their goals.

    Knowing personal characteristics and the lifestyle factors someone has can help to plan the sessions that are reasonable in length, frequency, complexity, and intensity so the client is more likely to adhere to the program.

    Choosing tests that are relevant to the client’s goals and preferred exercise mode may motivate the client more and give a clear picture of progress.

    Choosing Appropriate Assessments

    Trainers primarily need to facilitate improvements in the well-being of clients without causing any kind of harm to them.

    There are no standardized assortment of tests that one should give before they actually design the program that the client will be doing.

    Formative and Summative Evaluation

    Formative evaluations have formal assessments with specified test protocols and subjective observations made by the trainer during interactions with the clients.

    Formative assessments offer the trainer the ability to formulate or plan the client’s program, give feedback, and design modifications to the program while the client is in it.

    Summative evaluations are final evaluations that are made when clients complete specified training periods, classes, or seasons. These evaluations are the sum total of what has been accomplished in a certain period.

    Generally, we use the same tests at the beginning and at the end of a period.

    Assessment Terminology

    Questions you should answer to improve the accuracy of a test:

    • How reliable and objective was the assessment?
    • Was the test valid?
    • Was the equipment all calibrated and did it give accurate results?
    • Was the subject physically or emotionally influenced by anything before or during the test that may have affected the results?
    • Was the test protocol followed carefully and was the data collected accurately?

    Reliability and Objectivity

    Reliability is the measure of repeatability or the consistency of tests or observations. In order to determine if a test is reliable, you must measure the same trait in the same conditions without intervening before subsequent measurements are done.

    A common reliability test is a test-retest method. This is when you repeat a test with the same person or group in 1 – 3 days, or one week depending on how strenuous the test is.

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    Intrarater reliability is when the test is conducted consistently by one person.


    This indicates that tests measure what that test is supposed to measure. The test is giving a truthful score.

    When testing something like aerobic capacity, someone needs a test long enough and intense enough to require the provision of energy from the aerobic system. So, a 100m dash is not a test that would be for aerobic capacity.

    Face Validity means that a test looks like it will test what it is supposed to. 

    Content Validity shows that an expert determined that a test covers all the topics or abilities that it should.

    Construct validity is a theoretical concept that means a test differentiates between performance abilities.

    Criterion-referenced validity allows trainers to use tests in the fitness center or the field, instead of a test that can only be in a lab setting with very expensive equipment.

    An indirect measure example is hydrostatic weighing, as it is an estimate of body fatness based on an assumption that the body is made of fat mass and fat-free mass.

    A direct measure example is an autopsy due to the fact that it cannot be done on living individuals, so it is not a useful measure.

    A valid test is a test that will measure what it says, and a reliable test is one that can be repeated with accuracy by the same test or another similar one. A good assessment instrument is both reliable and valid.

    Factors That Affect Reliability and Validity

    All tests have a standard error of measurement, which is the difference between someone’s score that was observed, the result that occurred, and the true score. This results in a theoretically effortless score. 

    All tests’ results have a true value of the factor being measured and the errors that associate with the test itself.

    Client Factors to consider in selecting tests

    • Health status and functional capacity
    • Age
    • Sex
    • Pretraining status

    Personal Trainer Factors

    • Level of experience
    • Maintaining objectivity 

    Equipment Factors

    • Correct calibration of equipment
    • Level of experience with certain equipment  
    • Age of the equipment

    Environmental Factors

    • Temperature and Humidity
    • Altitude
    • Air Pollution (Air quality index (AQI) is a measure of the quality of air in relation to the pollutants.)
    • Test Setting

    Administration and Organization of Fitness Assessments

    Test Preparation

    Prep for the evaluation of a person’s fitness level requires trainers to do pre-assessment screening procedures, review safety considerations, select the right assessments, select facilities, and verify the equipment accuracy, and perform the responsible record-keeping for equipment.

    Conduct preassessment screening procedures and review safety considerations.

    The implementation of procedures needs to happen after a pre-activity screening which includes an interview, health appraisal tool execution, and recommendations for seeing a physician. 

    Verify Appropriateness of selected assessments

    Selecting valid, reliable, and safe assessments that provide meaningful results requires you to understand the goals, health status, level of experience, and the specific characteristics for the test.

    Select facilities and verify the accuracy of the equipment

    Ease of equipment, cost-effectiveness, equipment availability, and the setting for the facility all influence the selection and implementation of the assessment process.

    The typical equipment to have are these: 

    Bicycle ergometer/treadmill, body comp equipment, flexibility measuring equipment, equipment to measure muscle contraction force, perceived exertion chart, stopwatch, metronome, sphygmomanometer, stethoscope, tape measure, bodyweight scale, first aid, and an AED.

    Field tests are practical assessments that are inexpensive, use very little equipment, easy to administer, less time consuming, can be done at many different venues, and are more efficient for large groups to do together.

    Instruct client on preassessment protocols

    Pretest instruction to prepare for assessments

    Get enough rest (this is 6 -8 hours at night and no vigorous exercise within 24 hours)

    Intake a moderate level of food (this is a light meal or snack 2 – 4 hours prior to testing)

    Take in enough water to be hydrated (6 – 8 water glasses the day before the test and two cups 2 hours before the test)

    Abstain from taking in chemicals that increase the heart rate.

    Wear proper attire for training.

    Know the specific test procedures and expectations for before, during, and after the test.

    Know the conditions for terminating tests.

    Prepare record-keeping system

    Organization for keeping records allows you to reduce errors and is important for evaluating and interpreting test results. 

    There should be a systematic approach of some kind to taking down the test results.

    Test Implementation

    Determining sequences of the assessments

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    Logical sequences depending on athlete level

    General Fitness – 

    Resting tests (e.g., resting heart rate, blood pressure, height, weight, body composition) 

    Nonfatiguing tests (e.g., flexibility, balance) 

    Muscular strength tests 

    Local muscular endurance tests (e.g., YMCA bench press test, partial curl-up test) 

    Submaximal aerobic capacity tests (e.g., step test, Rockport walking test, Åstrand-Rhyming cycle ergometer test, 1.5-mile [2.4 km] run, 12-minute run/walk) 

    Athletic Performance – 

    Resting tests (e.g., resting heart rate, blood pressure, height, weight, body composition) 

    Non-fatiguing tests (e.g., flexibility, vertical jump) 

    Agility tests (e.g., T-test) 

    Maximum power and strength tests(e.g.,3RM power clean, 1RM bench press) 

    Sprint tests (e.g., 40-yard [37 m] sprint) 

    Local muscular endurance tests(e.g.,1-minute sit-up test, push-up test) 

    Anaerobic capacity tests (e.g., 300-yard [275 m] shuttle run) 

    Maximal or submaximal aerobic capacity tests (e.g., maximum treadmill test, 1.5-mile [2.4 km] run, YMCA cycle ergometer test) 

    Define and Follow Test Protocols

    Administering assessments should be in a standardized procedure and include mental and physical preparation of the client, verification of the accuracy of the equipment, application of the specific test protocol, ensuring safety in the process, and performance of record-keeping responsibilities.

    Interpretation and Review of Results

    Data collected will give baseline data for the client. Interpretation of the data is dependent on the specific purpose of the assessment and goals of the client.

    Norm-Referenced Standards

    These standards are used for comparison of the performance of an individual against the performance of other people in a similar category.

    Percentile ranks are used a lot here. This puts an individual in a certain percentage of the population, with the rest of the people described as below or above them. 

    Many clients like to know their raw score and if they get stronger or faster from training.

    Criterion-Referenced Standards

    These standards fix what is missing from the norm-referenced standard, which is the client knowing if their stats met a health standard. This could be the lowest performance that would allow someone to be in good health and lessen chronic disease risk. 

    These standards give people a certain goal to hit in order to improve their health. It is more of a simple stat to reach and be better than instead of trying to be the top of all stats.

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