Assessment of individual fitness should be performed on a regular basis and convention suggests at the beginning and end of training so that meaningful comparisons can be made and improvements quantified. If training is over a longer period then testing in the middle of the training programme will also be useful (ASPT, 2001).
This information is important in determining the effectiveness of the training programme and can be used to revise the training objectives and the physical training programme. Assessments conducted too frequently are unlikely to be true indicators of programme effectiveness and may be counter-productive by alienating individuals. The publication of test results, via email or social networking sites, can also be a powerful motivational tool.
Purpose of Fitness Assessments: Outdoor Fitness Perspective
For training providers in the outdoor fitness, fitness boot camp and military fitness market, the purpose of the fitness assessment is to provide new and current members, plus the fitness instructor, with an indication of the individual member’s current level of fitness.
As fitness is a relative term and has no absolute value, the fitness assessment provides a snapshot of an individual’s fitness for that particular moment only. However, several snapshots over a period over time can be useful to gauge progression.
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ASPT (Army School of Physical Training) (2001) Fight to Fight, Pamphlet Two: Test Protocols and Administrative Instructions for Individual Training Directive (Army) 2 Fitness Tests. Aldershot: ASPT.
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