Exercise Tests/ Performance Testing for sports enhancement
There are many parameters of fitness, including aerobic capacity, anaerobic capacity, flexibility, strength, power, agility, and coordination. With exercise testing, we can identify specifically where our weaknesses lie and then take corrective action to address such weaknesses and improve performance.
Aerobic capacity is a parameter that is relevant to many sports, including endurance sports such as running, cycling and swimming. The direct VO2max measurement is the most accurate means of measuring aerobic capacity. VO2max is the maximum capacity of an individual's body to transport and use oxygen during exercise, which reflects the physical fitness of the individual. The more you are able to absorb and use oxygen, the higher your VO2max and aerobic fitness.
The Singapore Sports Medicine Centre uses the treadmill VO2max test to assess your aerobic capacity. During the test, the exercise intensity is progressively increased until exhaustion while measuring the rate and oxygen concentrations of the inhaled and exhaled air via a gas mask. Knowing your VO2max provides you with a baseline measure of your aerobic fitness level and your predicted aerobic and anaerobic thresholds. This information allows our exercise physiologist to create training zones of varying intensities to optimise your training program.
Lactate Threshold Test
Lactate is a substance produced in our muscles during exercise. As exercise intensity increases, lactate will be produced at a rate faster than the ability of the body to remove it, resulting in the need to either slow down or stop the exercise. This is known as the lactate threshold. Knowing this threshold allows you to plan your training so as to improve the ability of your body to tolerate higher lactate levels. This will allow you to sustain high exercise intensities over a longer period.
During the lactate threshold test, blood samples will be taken from your finger tip while you are running on a treadmill at different intensities. The lactate concentrations in these samples are measured and the results will enable us to identify your lactate threshold. Knowing the exercise intensity during this threshold will allow you to plan your training, both to improve endurance performance as well as to avoid overtraining.
Running Economy Test
An efficient runner uses less oxygen and is hence able to sustain faster speeds over longer periods of time, with less fatigue.
This test is usually used to assess the effectives of training and technique change in distance runners. To assess your baseline running economy, your oxygen consumption is measured via a face mask while you are running at various speeds on a treadmill. This is then graphically plotted against running speed. This enables you to know the amount of oxygen that your muscles require to run at a particular speed. The test is usually repeated several weeks to months later to assess the effectiveness of your training program.
Video Gait Analysis
Here's a typical scenario: You suffer a lower limb or back injury, go through a period of rest and rehabilitation, recover fully, and then return to your sport only to find your injury recurring within a few weeks. The recurrence could be due to poor running technique, which needs to be addressed.
With video gait analysis, your Sports Physician analyses your gait while you are on a treadmill and identifies the faulty biomechanics (often not obvious while standing and only manifest upon running) that contribute to your injury. The necessary corrections can then be made to help you recover faster and more completely.
Video gait analysis can also benefit those who are injury-free, such as those who wish to improve their running economy. Efficient running is an important skill to acquire in order to perform well in long distance races such as marathons.