5 Pre Season Fitness Tests For Baseline Fitness And Conditioning


– Starting back training
after your end of season break can be tough and a
little bit demoralizing, but on the plus side you will
see significant improvements happen pretty quickly, while
being able to measure those and check for any imbalances is important. So today we’re going to
be covering five different fitness and conditioning
tests that you can do now at the start of your preseason
and then repeat again in a couple of months’ time
to see how you’re progressing. (intense, mechanical music) We’re going to be covering the three commonly used fitness tests
for the swim, bike, and run, then some basic body measurements, which you can perform yourself, and finish it up with a selection of body conditioning tests. Now I have to put it out there, the fitness tests are tough. They’re designed to
get the best out of you to give a true representation
of where exactly you are with your fitness right now
at this point in the season. So you’ll need to spread those out and come feeling fresh
and in the right mindset. (upbeat music) First up, the swim, and we’re gonna do the critical speed test, or CSS, which will give you your predicted pace you should be able to hold
for 1500 meters right now. Now for this you need a
standard size swimming pool, hopefully with enough space so you’re not gonna get
interrupted and a stopwatch. And before you start you
need to do a thorough warmup, making sure you include some pace efforts so you’re ready to go. And then it’s gonna be a 400
meters all-out best effort with a complete recovery afterwards. So making sure your include
a little bit of swimming to loosen off before repeating
it over a 200 meters all-out. And then you’re gonna take those times and input them into an
online CSS calculator, which will give you your predicted 1500 meter
threshold pace, so to speak. It’ll basically tell you
the pace that you should be able to hold per 100 meters
if you were to swim a 1500. And this is then also really useful not only as a fitness marker right now, but you can use it in your training as you start your preseason. (upbeat music) This is the one you’re
probably most familiar with. It is the dreaded FTP test, or the functional threshold power test, and it’s quite similar to the swim. If you are a glutton
for punishment, though, you could do a full one hour
all out as a sustained effort. But the slightly more pleasant
option is the 20-minute test. Now for this you’re
going to need a walk bike or your bike on a turbo trainer. And you need to be able
to measure your heart rate and your average power. Again, this is going to
require a thorough warmup and plenty of motivation
because it is 20 minutes all out but at a sustained effort level. So you need to make sure you can maintain pretty average watts throughout. And then you’re gonna
take that average power and either submit it
into an online calculator or simple times it by 0.95 to give you your functional threshold power, which is basically, in theory, what you could hold if you
rode all out for an hour. And this is really useful as a benchmark for your fitness now that
you can easily test again in a couple of months’ time. But it’s also a great way to actually set your training plans right now. You’re probably getting
used to the theme by now. Yes, this is another sustained
effort that is going to hurt. You’ve got a couple of options, though. So there’s the 5K run whether
you’ve got a local 5K park run that’s fairly flat or a 5K loop that you know that you can
repeat time and time again. Or the other option is the 30-minute test. Whichever one you choose you’re still gonna need a thorough warmup and be able to run hard
from the very start. If you’re going for the 5K
option you obviously need to record your time and ideally
your heart rate as well. If, however, you’re
doing the 30-minute test then you’ll need to record the distance. So for that you’re gonna need a GPS watch or run it on a track so you know exactly how far you’ve gone. And then from that you can actually work out your running
speed at lactate threshold. So you’ll need to divide
the distance in meters that you’ve run by the time
you’ve been running for. So that would be 1800 seconds and that can give you your RSLT. But you don’t need to worry
about that calculation, simply having the distance that you’ve run and your heart rate gives you a markup that you can compare to
later down in the season. (upbeat music) You’ll be pleased to hear that
these don’t involve any pain or even any physical exertion. It is as it sounds on the tin, some simply measurements that’ll give you a baseline marker now that you can compare back to later on in the season. And a great one to get started with, the obvious one, is your weight. So pull out the scales, stand on them, and record your weight. But don’t get bogged down by that number because we all know that
muscle does weigh more than fat and during your off season you might well have lost a little bit of
muscle and put on some fat. And you could end up
even weighing the same. So now is a great time, if
you do have the opportunity, to get hold of some skin fold calipers and get someone to measure
your actual body fat percentage for a more accurate measurement. A couple of other options,
grab a tape measure and take the circumference of your waist, your hips, and your thighs. Just make sure you always
measure in the widest part so you can replicate it
later on in the season. And it isn’t scientific, but I can normally tell
whether I put on weight or not by how tight my jeans
are, although obviously they can stretch as the
season goes on as well, so don’t necessarily rely on that one. And then finally, if you
are feeling really brave you could maybe just
get a photo of yourself in your sports kit or in your underwear and then you can see how
your physique has changed. There are so many other
tests and measurements that you can do to give you an idea of where your body is at
various points in the season. For these I’ve picked out some more simple and objective tests that will give you a guideline for your core strength, where your flexibility is, and also flag up any
potential muscle imbalances. This first one does involve
some effort, I afraid. It is the dreaded plank. It is pretty simple and straightforward. You need to get into the plank position, on your elbows, with a straight
line going from your heels through your hips to your shoulders. And if you do have a friend
or you’ve got a mirror nearby you can use that to check
that you’ve got good form. And then you need to hold
that for as long as you can. So time it and as soon as
your form stops to drop that’s when the clock needs to end. Then you need to repeat
this on either side. So get into your side plank position with one elbow down, one
foot on top of the other or one in front of the other. Just make sure you repeat
the exact same position on the other side, time
them both, and then compare. Sticking with strength but now looking more specifically at power,
it’s the standing jump. Again, you’re gonna need to make sure you’re thoroughly warmed up for this one. You need a tape measure
laid out along the ground, and you’re gonna start at zero and you’re gonna jump
with both feet together, landing with both feet
together as far as you can. Make sure you repeat it three times and you’re gonna take
your best score from this. Might be useful to have
someone to help mark out and note exactly where you do land. And now a progression from
this, or a variation as well, a great way to see if you’ve
got any imbalances here is the single leg, or
otherwise known as the hop. So you’re gonna repeat the same, first on one leg for three hops, then onto the other leg for three hops. Now it’s not unusual
to have a discrepancy, partly because you’re
probably find it easier and more comfortable taking off and landing on one foot than the other. But when you come back
to measure it later on in the season you’ve got a good benchmark. And as long as you’re
not having any niggles or any injuries, there’s
nothing to worry about. The final couple of tests
involve less effort, you’ll be pleased to hear. It’s time to look at your flexibility. But before we go any further
it’s worth pointing out that it is hard to measure accurately, partly because you can
compensate and cheat slightly. So just make sure that you do a stretch that you can replicate
exactly when you do it again to measure back and always make sure you’re thoroughly warmed up
before testing your flexibility. The hamstring stretch is a common one. You can do this either
sitting or standing. You should feel the stretch down the back of your hamstrings. Now to measure this you just wanna see how close your hands or fingertips can get to your heels or down your shins, or in some cases how far past, but just make sure you don’t
bounce on this exercise please. And remember that it isn’t
purely gonna be your hamstrings because your lower back and your hips will be involved in this test as well. But if you want a really accurate measure of how tight your hamstrings
on purely on their own then see if you can get a
physiotherapist to measure it in a passive movement and
give you a number that way. The knee-to-wall test is a great way to measure the flexibility
or tightness of your ankles, and more specifically it’s
actually measuring the length of your soleus muscle at
the back of your lower calf. So you need to stand facing the wall with your toes just away from it, and then bend your knee
until it touches the wall. Move your foot back until your knee’s only just touching the
wall or just able to, and then measure that distance
from the tips of your toe to the wall and then repeat that on the other side and compare. And if you do want to make
this even more specific you can actually test the big toe flexor by putting a little
wedge under your big toe and then repeating the test and make sure you measure on
the left and on the right. If you do have the opportunity to go and see a physiotherapist at
the beginning of the season, it’s a great idea to
get an overall body MOT. So you’ve to baseline marker
that if you do get niggles later on in the season
you know what’s normal and where it was tight anyway. And if you don’t have a
physiotherapist to hand, even a personal trainer can help you get these more accurate measurements so you’ve got something to
compare to as you go on. All of us are different
so these these tests aren’t so you can compare
yourself to your friends, but more importantly so you’ve
got a good starting point that you can refer back to and
you know what is your normal. It also helps flag up any
weaknesses are imbalances that you can address now
early on in the season before they end up materializing
as injuries later on. And doing these tests
regularly will just give you a good idea of how you’re
progressing throughout the season. Well, hit the thumb up button
if you’d liked this video. Hit the globe to subscribe to make sure you get all of our videos here at GTN. And if you are wanting to know
a little bit more about CSS, or critical swim speed,
Mark’s actually made a video in triathlon training explained
going into detail on this, and you can find that just here. And if you want to know how
to activate those glutes early on in the season I made
a video on that just here.

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