Physiological monitoring can be useful for:
- establishing base levels of fitness
- identifying strengths and weakness
- monitoring over-training
- predicting performance and potential
- prescribing training
- assessing progress
The more common tests include:
- O2max (direct and predicted)
- Lactate threshold
- Wingate for anaerobic power and capacity
- Lung function
- Body composition
- Blood pressure
- Strength Flexibility
Testing is usually followed up with an elaborate report, which includes an explanation of the test and terms used, interpretation and feedback of results, and individual recommendations for training.
Physiological support provides the athlete with an assessment of their current training status and is sensitive to any training adaptations. Physiological assessment also highlights the strengths and weaknesses of the athlete relative to the demands of their sport. Initially a meeting should be set up with the athlete and their coach. The long term and short-term training and competition goals are determined and a strategic plan for physiological assessment is drawn up. Physiological assessment is performed, on average three times per year however this is subject to change depending upon the sporting year for the said sport. Athletes receive feedback of the results in two ways. A written report is sent to the athlete which outlines the role of the tests performed and provides the athlete with training advice and a data summary sheet of their results. Athletes also receive verbal feedback of their results on the day the assessment is performed. This aspect of feedback works closely with the Strength and Conditioning support (outlined earlier).
Physiological support is multi-faceted and can be performed both in the more controlled environment of the laboratory or in the field which is more sports specific and environmentally suitable but less controllable. Both of the aforementioned tests should be used to augment each other and fit well into the athlete's schedule. The assessment is strictly controlled and monitored.