If you have set yourself some goals it is just as important to assess your progress. This is imperative to ensure you are training correctly and allows you to maintain motivation to keep putting in that work.
Improvements in strength and aerobic fitness can occur after as little as 6-weeks. Therefore, it is ideal to do your testing every 6-8 weeks depending on the type of training.
As Exercise Physiologist’s we aim to implement specific, and reliable tests to help monitor progress and inform exercise selection.
Specific ensures that we are conducting a test relevant to what we are trying to achieve with our exercises. For example, if you have been completing predominantly aerobic exercise it would be unlikely to see much change if you were to perform a strength test.
Reliable means that the tests we conduct must be accurate and repeatable. For example, a timed 1km run over undulating ground is not comparable to a 1km run on a flat surface. If you do not make these tests reliable, it will be hard to determine when you are seeing real changes.
Testing with and without equipment
If you have access to a heart rate monitor, you can conduct a submaximal test. An example of this would be examining your heart rate at a given running pace to see if it is lower than when previously tested.
For those without equipment, testing can be as simple as timing yourself. A common test that we use is a 1-min sit to stand test. This test involves counting the amount times you can stand up and sit down from a chair in 1-min. In this particular test, we would be looking to see an increase in repetitions completed over the 1-min to show an improvement.
By following these principles, you will ensure your testing is accurate and this will allow you to nail your goals. If your post-test results do not show the desired outcome, it will provide you with feedback on what to improve for your next training block.