An assessment is the beginning of a journey for a client. The components included in an assessment will allow for continual monitoring of needs, functional capabilities, physiological and psychological effects of exercise. It will also helps build a rapport, and provide an individualized approach when a fitness professional is designing their program. A systematic plan should be in order so that nothing is overlooked. Incorporating this system will determine the clients or athletes goals, needs, and abilities.
At Linked Fit, we take pride in all of our assessments. It's a priority to develop a program based off the assessment components. Each component is carefully thought about so the correct objectives are planned. This blog will discuss the Linked Fit methodology and how assessments are structured. It will also include other tools that can be included, if available.
First things first, determine the population that will be assessed. In previous or current communication with the prospect, what is their likely classification (list below). This will help a fitness professional think ahead and produce a pre-assessment plan. Of course, as with any assessment, a fitness professionals pre-assessment plan can be modified as the further data is collected. Modifications are acceptable since each individual holds their own personal abilities and limitations. Depending on the population different components will be added and other taken away.
Athletes that are apart of a sport, which can be team-based or solo participation. The athlete can be classified as elite, sub-elite, or amateur. There are a variety of sports that can be considered, such as, basketball, football, olympic weightlifting, snowboarding, tennis, downhill skiing, and more.
General population clients are in it for the lifestyle! These individuals goals tend to include increasing strength, lean muscle mass, quality of life, and other physiological/psychological qualities. Also, decrease body fat percentage, body weight, blood pressure, and stress levels. General population clients typically have goals of increasing fitness capacities and wellness habits.
Special population clients are likely to have movement limitations which can result in pain or discomforts. These individuals may have been discharged from physical therapy or recommended by a physician.
Individuals that use their mind and bodies to serve and protect individuals, communities, states, countries, and themselves from various threats. These individuals may be the first to respond and assist on emergencies, accidents, natural disasters, and terrorist attacks. These individuals include special weapons and tactics (SWAT), special operation forces, military, law enforcement, and firefighters.
This population is currently in the stages of growth and development. Depending on what stage of life they are in, it is ideal to design a different style program that will meet their needs. Therefore, at this age, make training fun and enjoyable!
Secondly, a questionnaire will be integrated to gather data on the individuals fitness and wellness habits. Questions will help build a profile of the client (or athlete) which will be used as a base for the upcoming consultation. The questionnaire includes subjective information that focuses on occupation or sport, training status, training background, movement experience, previous injuries, health and medical history, and goals. Different questionnaires can be utilized depending on the population to better fit the individual potential needs.
How many years of training experience do you have?
If you are experienced in training, please explain what you have experienced in the past?
Have you struggled with any particular movements?
How many hours of sleep do you get?
What would you rate your eating habits?
What is your average stress level throughout the day?
What is your highest stress level in the week?
How do you typically restore the body after a stressful situation?
On the third step, a consultation will be scheduled to assess the client (or athlete) face-to-face (or virtually, if working with an online client). At this point, a fitness professional can really dive into the information collected in the questionnaire. It is important to understand the individuals strength and struggles so they can be considered when designing an optimal program. Reiterating questions to gather more information can be helpful in determining the action plan. Fitness professionals should examine the clients (or athletes) goals to make sure they are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely (SMART).
The consultation can also include physiological assessments such as resting heart rate (not true resting heart rate), blood pressure, body composition, body fat measurements, body circumference, and body mass index (BMI). An additional assessment that can be included during the consultation is a static postural assessment. This is great time to assess the natural positions of the head, cervical spine, scapulas, and more, while sitting or standing. Lastly, it is ideal for fitness professionals to build a rapport with their new client and recognize the clients reasonings on their new goals. This will help guide their journey and motivate them along the way!
After the consultation, a movement screen will be administered to assess how the client moves functionally. A variety of educational companies have developed their own specific movement screens to test standard movement quality. At Linked Fit, we aim to get a baseline reading of the individuals movement quality while under no direct load (external weights). The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) is included in the Linked Fit assessment and was designed by a group of physical therapist and strength coaches. The FMS is responsible for looking at contra indications and risk factors that pertain to exercise, sport, and increased physical activity.
During the movement screen, fitness professionals have the ability to capture transitional and dynamic posture. AKA, posture during movement! Since posture is a dynamic quality, observing postural distortion and dysfunctional movement patterns will help identify concerns within a clients potential stability, mobility, and or extensibility. Very similar to the static postural assessment, transitional or dynamic postural assessments look at the feet, knees, lumbo-pelvic hip complex, shoulders, and head. A variety of movements used during a screen should assess dynamic flexibility, mobility, core strength, balance, and motor control.
Functional Movement Screen:
Active Straight Leg Raise
Trunk Stability Push Up
Following a movement screen, a movement assessment will be administered to gather further objective information from the client. A movement assessment does not need to be administered for each individual. Typically, these assessments have a particular joint focus and are aimed to address a clients individual needs. If a client scored low on the Active Straight Leg Raise, further assessments will be needed to determine the hidden issue. Functional Movement Systems designed the Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA), a unique assessment to isolate pain provoking movement patterns and dysfunctional patterns. Linked Fit uses the SFMA not to assess pain but provide a clearer understanding of extensibility, mobility, and stability dysfunctions.
At this time, range of motion (ROM) might be useful. Joints have an optimal range of motion and this type of assessment will help identify proper and altered motion and muscular lengths. The use of ROM is known to correlate with movement dysfunctions which can help develop an optimal preparation, training program, and restorative strategies. Other sources of assessments can be utilized during the movement assessment such as manual muscle testing. Manual muscle testing can be used to help determine if a muscle or function is weak or strong. These muscular functions allows a fitness professional to address patterns of compensation. Including movement assessments that are specific in nature can help select appropriate exercises to develop muscular imbalances and joint dysfunctions.
Normal Joint End Ranges of Motion:
Flexion = 160 degrees
Extension - 50 degrees
Abduction - 180 degrees
Internal Rotation = 45 degrees
External Rotation = 90 degrees
Flexion = 120 degrees
Extension = 0 to 10 degrees
Abduction = 40 degrees
Adduction = 15 degrees
Internal Rotation = 45 degrees
External Rotation = 45 degrees
Flexion = 140 degrees
Plantarflexion = 45 degrees
Dosriflexion = 20 degrees
Lastly, the performance testing can be administered to examine the clients fitness and athletic abilities. A variety of testing can be utilized from power, strength, endurance, and sports specific movement skills. In the strength and conditioning world, this is where we live! It really is the fun stuff! These tests will help a fitness professional develop a program that aims to improve their goals and needs.
When planning performance tests, be sure to incorporate tests that are relative to the individuals goals or needs. In athletic performance, incorporate tests that relate to the biomechanics and energy demands of their sport. A fitness professional should not administer random tests that do not provide any transition to the client or athlete. Perform tests that will establish a positive foundation and performance.
Bench Press (1RM, 3RM, or 10RM)
Olympic Lifts (snatch, clean, or hang power snatch)
Medicine Ball Throw
VO2 Max Testing
After the assessment and all the components have been completed, developing the action plan is next. Selecting optimal exercises, training frequency, order, intensity, repetitions, volume, and rest periods should be applied to produce a well-designed program. A cookie cutter approach should not be used while designing a program. Each individual will hold a unique set of strengths and struggles which should be addressed in the program. Individuals are investing into your programming to help them increase strength, lose weight, or perform better on the field, so with that being said address each program with care.
It is important to schedule re-assessments in a timely fashion, which can be every 3-months, 6-months, or year. The re-assessment scheduling can depend on your system structure and how you plan to organize your clients. It is plain and simple, clients love to see progress! I mean, who doesn’t like to see the data of getting better and improving numbers! If the re-assessment doesn’t provide prosperity, appropriate actions should be taken by addressing the weak links.
Overall, I hope everyone enjoyed reading this blog. Although it did not provide all components that can be covered in a fitness and wellness assessment, I aimed to include the tools that are feasible.
If you have any questions on this topic, please feel free to email me firstname.lastname@example.org. Love to talk shop!
Dane Bartz, MS
Director of Coaching
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