Human Performance Evaluation
Comprehensive Sports Performance Testing
At the Sports Science Institute of Illinois, our human performance evaluation for the elite teen athlete is comprehensive in scope. It includes a complete aerobic fitness assessment as well as anaerobic power, body composition, sports nutrition, and sports psychometrics (mental fitness) assessments.
We perform aerobic fitness testing that goes beyond a simple measurement of oxygen consumption, or VO2 max. The Aerobic Fitness Assessment evaluates four components of aerobic fitness essential to optimal performance:
- Exercise tolerance: The physiologic capacity of an individual to perform an exercise in terms of the amount of work the body must do in order to perform the exercise. It includes peak work capacity and VO2 max.
- Ventilation: How fast air moves in and out of lungs. This measurement allows us to assess the effectiveness of the respiratory muscles and breathing mechanics during exercise.
- Gas exchange: How well the lungs are taking in oxygen and breathing out carbon dioxide during exercise.
- Cardiac response to aerobic exercise: Once the lungs take in oxygen, the heart must deliver this oxygen to the muscles during exercise.
The Sports Science Institute of Illinois uses the Wingate Anaerobic Test to evaluate each athlete's anaerobic power. The Wingate Anaerobic Test is the gold standard for evaluation of power in the elite teen athlete.
The Wingate Anaerobic Test requires the athlete to pedal a mechanically braked bicycle ergometer for 30 seconds at supramaximal resistance. This is the test that has humbled 240-pound future NHL defensemen at the NHL combine!
Research in exercise physiology has determined a strong correlation between performance on the Wingate test and specific athletic performance parameters. Some of the valuable information obtained through the Wingate test includes:
- Peak Power: Represents the explosive properties of an athlete's muscle power
- Mean Power: Represents the average local muscle endurance throughout the test
- Anaerobic Capacity: Represents the body's capacity to perform exercise using energy from metabolism that does not require oxygen
At the SSII, we use multiple measurement modalities to provide a detailed assessment of body composition as well as fat and muscle distribution in the body. Some of the measurement modalities we use include anthropometric (skinfold) measurements with Holtain skinfold calipers and InBody bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) using the 8-point tactile method.
The 8-point tactile method for bioelectrical impedance analysis is unique in that it divides the body into 5 separate regions for measurement. Most commercially available devices divide the body into 2 regions, which results in much less specific measurements.
At the Sports Science Institute of Illinois, we not only assess an athlete’s nutritional practices, but his or her knowledge as well. We evaluate general and sport-related dietary habits as well as hydration practices for each athlete.
Each athlete’s knowledge of good nutrition practices is evaluated through a computer-scored nutrition knowledge questionnaire. A dietary supplement usage survey is also used to screen for safe and appropriate use of supplements in athletes that use dietary supplements.
Proper nutrition is essential for optimal athletic performance. Sound, science-based knowledge of good nutritional practices facilitates optimal fueling and hydration habits.
The Sports Science Institute of Illinois uses well-validated surveys to evaluate each athlete's mental game. Psychometrics is the science of measuring mental capacities and processes. Specific assessments have been developed and validated for evaluation of the elite teen athlete.
Just as physical testing provides direction for training the body for optimal performance, psychometric assessments provide direction for understanding and training the mind for optimal athletic performance.
Factors such as sports performance anxiety, coping strategies, motivation, and burnout are determined by this evaluation.
The Sports Science Institute of Illinois provides each athlete with a complete analysis and explanation of the data obtained during the evaluation and helps each athlete understand how to use this information to optimize his or her athletic performance. Learn more about our individualized treatment plans to optimize the athlete’s performance.