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Out there in the real world, one athletic trainer experienced the following:

As a former high school student, I can remember looking forward to school being out and enjoying my summer. However, as an athlete I learned that I was still going to have to work hard to maintain my muscle strength and endurance. In high school, I participated in two sports and was extremely dedicated to them. Our athletic trainer (AT) took time during his summer break to work with athletes for 6 weeks to improve our speed, strength, flexibility, and endurance. Those early morning training sessions were nothing to look forward to, but I could see the success that came from them in a matter of days. Looking back, it gave me an advantage over athletes who were not involved in any fitness testing. After the 6-week program, the results were incredible; I had numbers to show for it, too. After doing the fitness testing, I had much more confidence in myself and was able to show it on the field.

Currently as an AT, I have firsthand experience and knowledge with fitness testing, and I always stress to coaches that it is important for them to incorporate it in their offseason training. When athletes participate in these types of programs, it lowers their chances of having the minor sprains and strains that ATs typically see. More and more athletes are participating in fitness training programs, and they are the ones who tend to succeed and be more competitive.

Beth Danklefsen, AT, ATC

Sidney High School

Wilson Memorial Sports Medicine

Sidney, Ohio


learning outcomes

After working through this chapter, you will be able to:

  1. Describe the standard fitness tests and test equipment used to measure fitness, body composition, flexibility, muscular strength, power, speed, agility, and endurance.

  2. Describe testing protocols used to measure fitness, body composition, flexibility, muscular strength, power, speed, agility, and endurance.

  3. Interpret results from administering fitness tests to assess an athlete's physical status and fitness level.


Candyes Cleary is a soccer player who is currently in preseason training. Her high school has hired a new athletic trainer (AT) who is implementing preseason fitness testing. With the testing being new and unfamiliar, Ms. Cleary is concerned about her performance. The area of testing today will be static flexibility. The AT explains how important flexibility is for preventing injuries and how it can help to assist the team in soccer. The team will be tested with two types of methods: direct and indirect. The AT gives a description of a direct method using a goniometer and an indirect method using a sit-and-reach test (Fig. 23-1).

Figure 23-1:

Candyes Cleary's sit-and-reach test.

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