Fitness Assessment and Testing

:Our Core Belief
  ​Your Wellness Worx personal trainer is most concerned with total wellness and individual needs, which includes prescreening, providing rehab work, and implementing programs that start slowly and safely at a beginner's level.   



Determining testing guidlines has many considerations, including testing alternatives. 

At Wellness Worx the extent of testing may range from a simple three phase fitness assessment to a battery of health and skill related tests.
Testing everyone new to physical training is not required as long as pre-screening prior to training is performed.   

Separating those populations who must be tested from those who do not is a must for all responsible personal trainers. 

Only then can an alternative be considered.   
  • Should new trainees be tested?
  • Is testing absolutely necessary?
  • Is there an alternative?
  • Who must be tested?
  • What is best?
  • What tests will be performed?
  • Who will administer testing?


Should new trainees be tested?​

From the pedagogical point of view, testing is necessary to measure successful learning.  Pre-instruction testing can suggest a starting point for new instruction.  Post instruction testing measures progress and total knowledge.  Before and after results can be compared to measure new knowledge, or progress made in learning.

Similar reasoning applies to teaching physical training.  Pre-training testing suggests a starting point, while post-training testing measures progress.  Both can show a trainee's weak points where additional remedial work is required.  Thus, testing in physical training can be beneficial.

That said, are there other considerations?  Yes, there are.

Is testing absolutely necessary?  

Determining the necessity of testing in physical training is subjective with respect to three considerations: the program, the trainer and the trainee.  

The first consideration is the method or style of program instruction

In years past, the one-repetition-max was a test most often used to measure current level strength before any training was performed.   A training program was designed based on this testing.  (The 1RM may still be used with sport specific training.)

In this method, the trainee was asked to lift a series of progressively heavier weights using good form to find the heaviest weight he could lift just one time.  When he was maxed-out, he could not lift that weight a second time with good form.  This maxed weight was called the one-repetition-max.  His training would start with a weight range representing a certain percentage of the 1-rep-max (1RM).

The specific percentage range was dictated by the purpose of the current training cycle {training phase}.  Periodization is a whole separate subject, which requires its' own discussion.
This method was inconvenient and cumbersome, as it required tedious initial testing and frequent repeated testing to re-evaluate current levels of training.
Perhaps the major design fault was the considerable tendency to not pay enough attention to body break-in and rehabilitative work before beginning major training.   Usually, there was no pre-testing for the new guy.  The idea was to save time by basically ignoring pre-training work that addresses weak muscles, muscle imbalances, weak and poorly developed joint capsules, poor posture and the like. 

As very little prequalification work was done, it was assumed all beginners were healthy, hefty jocks who could just jump right in.  Their motto was "no pain, no gain"; their goal was to bench press more than the next guy.  This represented an unrealistic assumption, an absurd motto, and a total lack of sophistication. 

The disadvantages here are simple to see.  Injuries were frequent.  Trainees were often confused, disappointed and disillusioned.  False starts were common; many trainees dropped out.  Instruction was static, and if a trainee did not fit the format, he was shown the door.

Today, other program styles exist that do not place heavy emphasis, if any at all, on the 1RM.  Your Wellness Worx trainer is most concerned with total wellness and individual needs, which includes prescreening, providing rehab work, and implementing programs that start slowly and safely at a beginner's level. 
Not only should every trainee be welcomed, every trainee's needs should be meet.   By not assuming every new guy is a jock, at Wellness Worx, the door is opened to safer, more responsive and responsible physical developmentEveryone, including the skinny and frail, the obese, the elderly and the injured, should be able to train; everyone can train when the right program is implemented by the right trainer.  Needs must be judged on an individual basis.

The second subjective criterion used to measure the appropriateness of testing is consideration of the trainer's tools--his ability to teach, what he teaches, his skill levels, his ability to design fantastic "start from the beginning" programs, his consideration of individual needs by providing required rehabilitation through physical therapy modes, his ability to make on the spot evaluations and corrections, the time he takes to insure solid injury free progress, his level of interest in the trainee and most importantly, the results he gets.

Lastly, the individual trainee should have a voice.  He should be able to choose.  The person who likes to keep scrap books or put gold stars on his calendar may enjoy posting his test scores and charting his progress.  He may gain motivation, stimulate his progress and gain satisfaction.

Others will feel safer if pretested.

Still others, those that are already somewhat fit and trust their trainer, will only need to see results.

Is there an alternative?

At Wellness Worx, new trainees are prescreened, no static assumptions are made, and everyone is looked at with fresh eyes.   This screening can reduce the need for testing the new guy.

Pre-training testing may be necessary for certain populations and not necessary for others.  The reasons for not testing are (one), many are reasonably fit already,  (two), Wellness Worx programs are designed with testing built in, and all trainees start at the very beginning which includes rehab work.

So yes, testing may be required.  However, there are alternatives to testing.  Much depends on the program, the trainer and the trainee.
Who must be tested?
Are there people for whom testing is more appropriate than others? 

Absolutely!  This is why at Wellness Worx we prescreen. 

Anyone with pre-existing impairments (including eating disorders), those who live sedentary life styles, the obese and the elderly must be pretested before training.  

For certain people, Wellness Worx will require a medical release and or a prescription for training from a medical professional.
What is best?
Except for those who must be tested, the decision is really up to the trainee. 

Wellness Worx training has built in testing that begins when the trainee walks through the front door. 

Each and every trainee will do shoulder and core build up and rehab. 

Each starts with beginner's whole body workouts. 

Each is monitored carefully, and progression occurs only when the trainee is ready for advancement. 

Even so, testing is available.  To help you decide what is best for you, it is wise to discuss with your personal trainer.
What tests will be performed?
Testing at Wellness Worx has considerable latitude, and begins with a three phase fitness assessment, continuing with a battery of health and skill related tests.

Fitness Assessment:  The basic fitness assessment measures body composition, girth and balance.   It may stand alone or be combined with further tests.

Body composition analysis entails obtaining the scale weight and the body fat to lean mass percentage.  From these a desired weight range is established.  An ideal weight at a desired body fat percentage can also be calculated. 

Girth measurements provide a base line from which changes in body contour can be tracked, providing empirical evidence for visual improvement.

Balance testing illustrates control of movement and coordination.  Balance can be learned and is thus a skill related test, but also is an indicator of overall health.

Flexibility Testing:   The ability to train through a full Range Of Motion (ROM) is necessary for optimal development and decreased risk of injury.  

Each muscle at a given joint has an opposite muscle to move the bones in the opposing direction, and to help provide stability.  When one of these muscles is weak (lengthens), the stronger opposite muscle will become tight (shortens). 

If the muscular imbalance at a joint continues for a significant length of time, or if forced to withstand high levels of exertion, it may lead to injury and a greater difficulty reversing or healing the imbalance. 

Wellness Worx rehab work will help correct any imbalances.

The standard flexibility tests include the shoulder, hip, back and trunk.  An optional range of motion assessment is available.  (See Range of Motion Assessment, below.)

Strength Testing:   Results from strength testing will vary widely from one person to the next.  Variables include gender, age, genetic background, body type, level of fitness and motivation.  The trainee can only influence the last two. 

Comparison between individuals is much less important than comparison of a trainee's individual progress before and after training.  There is not a person alive that can't show substantial progress, and he should only compete against himself.  Progress and results from safe training are the key issues here.
By starting at the very beginning, and doing rehab work from the start, the importance of initial strength is a small issue.

Poor initial strength is not an indication of any future failure.  To the guy who starts at the end of the line, we offer this advice:  Do not be daunted.  Pick your trainer carefully, trust him and do what he asks.  A caring trainer will want you to succeed as much as you do.  He knows if you work with him, you will accomplish your goals. 

Remember this take-off on "The Little Engine that Could".  "I think I can be strong, I know I can be strong, I am getting strong, now I am strong."

Cardiovascular Testing:   Testing on the stationary bike is only for those without a known risk for cardio exercise. At Wellness Worx everyone is regarded as a beginner, regardless of previous cardio exercise.

Calculations are derived from the heart rate maximum reserve method (Karvonen Formula).  Heart beat is monitored by a digital device. 

Testing begins at about 35% of Maximum Heart Rate Reserve (VO2R), continuing for about 5 minutes at that rate while we do the “Talk Test”.  The trainee may be breathing deeply but not out of breath and is able to talk comfortably.

Then intensity is increased to reach the 45% level, which is still below the trainee's Target Heart Rate Zone.  (The THRZ is usually between 60 to 90 percent of the VO2R.)  Breathing will be deeper, but he will still not be out of breath. 

Testing will not enter a level where breathing is difficult.   Should this occur, the trainee fails the test and needs remedial work. 

Finally, the intensity or pace is slowed down for cool down.

This testing is not a stress test, as intensity is kept below the THRZ.   For a stress test, see your medical professional.

Range of Motion Assessment:    This is an optional test that supplements the standard flexibility testing.  Range of Motion is the normal movement of a joint (measured in degrees) through its’ extent of travel. 

Active ROM is the extent of movement that a person can move himself. 

Passive ROM is achieved with assistance from another person. 

This assessment measures 20 joint motions through their active ROM's, and includes the neck, shoulders, back, hips, knees, ankles, elbows, forearms, wrists and thumbs.
Who will administer testing?  
Testing is administered in our private, air conditioned work-out room by your Wellness Worx personal trainer and licensed massage therapist.

(239) 839-7035

  Needs must be judged on an individual basis.

Everyone, including the skinny and frail, the obese, the elderly and the injured, should be able to train. 

You will find the right program implemented by the right trainer at Wellness Worx of Florida
CALL Anytime!
(239) 839-7035
We'll be happy to answer any questions.
Monday-Friday 6:30 am-6:30pm
Saturday- 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
4980 Royal Gulf Circle
Fort Myers, FL  33966