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By studying this chapter, you should be able to do the following:


  1. Discuss the factors that determine the effectiveness of a physiological test of athletic performance.

  2. Define “specificity of V˙O2 max.”

  3. Explain the difference between V˙O2 max and V˙O2 peak.

  4. Discuss the physiological rationale for the assessment of the lactate threshold in the endurance athlete.

  5. Describe methods for the assessment of anaerobic power.

  6. Discuss the techniques used to evaluate muscular strength.




  • Laboratory Assessment of Physical Performance: Theory and Ethics 460

  • What the Athlete Gains by Physiological Testing 460

  • What Physiological Testing Will Not Do 461

  • Components of Effective Physiological Testing 461

  • Direct Testing of Maximal Aerobic Power 462

    • Specificity of Testing 462

    • Exercise Test Protocol 462

    • Determination of Peak V˙O2 in Paraplegic Athletes 464

  • Laboratory Tests to Predict Endurance Performance 464

    • Use of the Lactate Threshold to Evaluate Performance 464

    • Measurement of Critical Power 466

  • Tests to Determine Exercise Economy 467

  • Estimating Success in Distance Running Using the Lactate Threshold and Running Economy 468

  • Determination of Anaerobic Power 469

    • Tests of Ultra Short-Term Maximal Anaerobic Power 469

    • Tests of Short-Term Anaerobic Power 471

  • Evaluation of Muscular Strength 473

    • Criteria for Selection of a Strength-Testing Method 473

    • Isometric Measurement of Strength 473

    • Free-Weight Testing of Strength 474

    • Isokinetic Assessment of Strength 474

    • Variable-Resistance Measurement of Strength 475




critical power








power test


Quebec 10-second test


Wingate test




In general, there have been two principal approaches to the assessment of physical performance: (1) field tests of physical fitness and performance, which include a variety of measurements requiring basic performance demands, and (2) laboratory assessments of physiological capacities such as maximal aerobic power (V˙O2 max), anaerobic power, and exercise economy. It can be argued that physical fitness testing is important for an overall assessment of general conditioning, particularly in terms of evaluating student progress in a conditioning class (1, 68). However, the use of these test batteries does not provide the detailed physiological information needed to assess an athlete’s level of conditioning or potential weaknesses. Therefore, more specific laboratory tests are required to provide detailed physiological information about performance in specific athletic events. This chapter will discuss tests designed to measure physical work capacity and performance in athletes. Specifically, much of this chapter will focus on both laboratory and field tests to evaluate the maximum energy transfer capacities discussed in Chaps. 3 and 4. The performance tests described in this chapter differ from the exercise tests described in Chap. 15 in several ways. Recall that the exercise tests described in Chap. 15 were targeted toward assessing cardiorespiratory ...

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