FQ Test: The ideal fitness gauge
(This article, continued from Monday, was written by lawyer Edson Eufemio. It deals with physical fitness and the science behind the Fitness Quotient Test in the realm of sports. The Peak Form Sports Medicine Center, together with sports medicine specialist and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Gar Eufemio, will stage the Extreme Fitness Challenge, an event which has the potential to change sports development programs at the grassroots level, on Feb. 1 at Xavier School grounds. — Ed)
(Second of a series)
What are the characteristics of an ideal fitness test?
1) Measures the different components—Each situation must be able to evaluate different body parts as well as the multiple facets of fitness. It is not just counting an isolated and artificial body movement like bicep curls.
2) Can be standardized—Most fitness assessments put the test subjects under the same conditions, regardless of height and weight. Peak Form’s FQ Test adjusts the tasks to one’s physical dimensions—the amount to be lifted and the distance to be covered being a fixed percentage of their height and weight. This is to level the playing field.
3) Has a scoring system—After completing the FQ Test, an athlete’s report card will not simply state that he is “Fit” or “Not Fit”; it is not a matter of pass-or-fail. Having a numerical grade enables the athlete to determine if he or she is better, equal or inferior to someone else. If two or more students are told they are the best in their batch, there must be an objective basis (a digit count) for the tie. The more diverse the criteria and the more elaborate and strict the tallying scheme, the less likely that there will be more than one class valedictorian.
4) Is reproducible or can be replicated—If the same investigation will be conducted at an alternate time or place, the methods of assigning points must remain the same. The equipment and the conduct of the trial must be constant. Every single time.
5) Can compare results—At any given moment, scores of different athletes can be matched up against each other. Not only that, the same athlete may compare his own results with himself at a later date by taking the FQ Test again, and the FQ Test will be an impartial way of determining if his conditioning has improved or deteriorated.
6) Uses functional movements—Not everybody can do a chin-up. Or jump rope. Are we to say somebody in the pink of health who cannot perform these movements is not in shape? Furthermore, if we ask two contestants to do as many chin-ups as they can in one minute, the first challenger tries with all his might but is unable to do one repetition while the second is a “couch potato” who does not even bother to try, do they both deserve a zero? The parameters of the FQ Test is limited to functional movements—basic daily normal activities that almost anybody can do—pushing, pulling, throwing, walking, running, jumping, bending and twisting.
7) Can be done in a short period—You want your analysis to take less than an hour. Each of the 10 stations will take one minute. Then there will only be a two-minute interval in between stations—for the athlete to rest and recover, and for the marshals to prepare the equipment for the next athlete and calculate the totals. Thus it will take less than 30 minutes to complete the FQ Test. Other tests have been designed to measure overall fitness.
There is the SPARQ Rating System, which stands for Speed, Power, Agility, Reaction and Quickness. There also is the Athletic Standard Index and the RealFit Test.
Criticisms are that they either have too many stations (23), too few (3) or use arbitrary formulas to calculate the scores.
More importantly, all these tests use the same conditions for everybody, whatever the height or weight. In addition, not all components are tested. Peak Form took all of these into consideration when they devised their own FQ Test.
What are the stations of the Peak Form FQ Test?
1) Vertical Rope Pull—Pulling a weight which is a percentage of your body weight
2) Box Jump—Jumping on a box which is a percentage of your height
3) Suspension Cable Push Up—Doing push ups at a fixed angle
4) Balance Board—Keeping your balance on a board while moving medicine balls (that are a percentage of your body weight) alternatingly from both sides, from containers that are a percentage of your height
5) Horizontal Rope Pull—Pulling a weight which is a percentage of your body weight
6) Gang Plank—Walking on a plank whose length and width are a percentage of your height while carrying kettlebells that are a percentage of your body weight
7) Sand Bag Throw—Throwing sand bags that are a percentage of your body weight
8) Cone Run—Placing and taking tennis balls from cones (these are positioned at distances that is a percentage of your height)
9) Sit Up Shots—Taking medicine balls (that are a percentage of your body weight) alternatingly from both sides, doing a sit up and making the balls hit a bell then shoot the balls in a receptacle
10) Ball Up, Ball Down—Taking medicine balls (that are a percentage of your body weight) up and down platforms that are positioned on the floor and at your shoulder level. The testing procedure has been designed to be like a move-system type laboratory examination in an anatomy class.
Ten subjects will occupy a place each and will move to the next station after the bell, until they accomplish all 10 fitness challenges.
Each station is equally taxing, so it does not matter where one starts.
To provide more challenge to the athletes, especially when the FQ Test is presented in a competition-style Fitness Challenge, the stations are laid out such that they are not necessarily beside each other.
After being briefed, the participants will be given 20 minutes to walk through the course so they can try them out, attempt to remember the locations and to strategize how to approach the challenge and pace themselves. (To be concluded)
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