Fitness assessment tests
There are many ways in which fitness and strength can be assessed - performance in an on-snow or roller ski race being the ultimate. However, gym-based tests can also be used to gauge fitness very early in the summer in an atmosphere which is relatively 'controlled', without the variability which goes with roller or snow skiing. The same tests can be done again in, say, December, to see by how much fitness and strength has (in)(de)creased. The four tests are as follows. Whether all of these tests should be attempted in one session, or over a period of several days, is up to each individual to decide; the only thing is that however the tests are done early in the training season should be the same as when repeating them.
The 12 Minute Run
Tests: General cardio-vascular endurance (stamina).
Exercise: On a running machine, run and/or walk for 12 minutes, with no incline. Record the distance covered in the 12 minutes. Set the programme to "Manual" (to allow the speed to be changed), set the time to 12 minutes and the incline to "Zero".
Tip: It is best to start fairly slowly (10 – 12 km/h) and increase by 1 km/h every 2 minutes or so at first, maybe more frequently at the end.
Performance: Excellent 2800 m or more
Above average 2500 – 2799 m
Average 2300 – 2499 m
Fair 2200 – 2299 m
Poor Below 2200 m
The 10 minute classic ski
Tests: Classic ski-specific cardio-vascular endurance (stamina).
Exercise: On a ski machine (cross-trainer), ski for 10 minutes using as high a level (1 – 20) as possible. Record the number of calories used in the 10 minutes. Set the programme to "Manual" to allow the level to be changed, set the level to a comfortable starting value (can be found beforehand) of 12 – 15 and, to 'normalise' the results, set the 'weight' value to 75 kg.
Tip: The rate of calorie use on the ski machine depends both on the 'level' setting and on the speed. However, it is very hard to keep a high level for 10 minutes at a very low speed, so it is best to find a comfortable speed between 65 and 75 rpm. Unlike the running test, this test is best performed by finding a level at which a rate of between 65 and 75 rpm can be kept, and then sticking more or less to this, maybe increasing the level by one every minute or so then reducing for a minute, and so on.
Performance: Excellent 220 calories or above
Above average 205 – 219 calories
Average 190 – 204 calories
Fair 165 – 189 calories
Poor Below 165 calories
Upper body and flexibility test
Tests: Upper body strength and endurance, and flexibility.
Exercise: In two minutes, perform as many press-ups as possible. These have to be proper press-ups, with the chest coming down to near the floor and then the arms being straightened. This is followed (a rest may be taken) by doing as many sit-ups as possible in two minutes. The feet need to be held down by someone, and the starting position is with knees comfortably bent above the ground. Hands should be placed lightly on the side of the head, and should not be used to pull up. Add the total press-ups to the total sit-ups. Finally, sit on the ground with legs straight and flat, and with feet up against a box (or bench). Reach forward as far as possible and measure how far the fingers reach past the soles of the feet.
Tip: It is difficult, if not impossible, to do press-ups and sit-ups continuously for two minutes. It may therefore be better doing them in four sets of 20-25 seconds each, with a 5-10 second break.
Performance: Excellent 160 press/sit-up or above 8 cm or above
Above average 130 – 159 3 to 8 cm
Average 100 – 129 3 to -2 cm
Fair 60 – 99 -2 to -5 cm
Poor Below 60 Below -5 cm
The Harvard Step Test
Tests: Leg strength, heart and lung function.
Exercise: Step onto and off of a 20" bench at the rate of one step up and one down in two seconds (i.e. one movement per second), continuing without stopping for 5 minutes. Step up without using the arms, stand up straight on top of the bench with the knees unbent (but they do not need to be locked), then step down again to end by standing with straight legs in the starting position. The leading leg may be changed from time to time, as long as this does not break the 2 second step rate. At the end of the 5 minutes, sit down.
Measurement: Take the pulse rate, recording the number of beats during:
1 to 1,5 minutes after the exercise,
2 to 2,5 minutes after the exercise,
4 to 4,5 minutes after the exercise.
Add all the beats together and divide 15000 by the total number of beats.
Performance: Excellent Above 130
Very good 110 – 129
Good 95 – 109
Fair 88 – 94
Average 81 – 87