By: Dale Huff, CSCS, owner Athletic Republic STL
Testing, in and of itself, is a means to validate the effort our athletes are putting into their training, proper nutrition and recovery. But let’s take a deeper dive into each data point that we collect and why.
Anthropometrics– Height, Body Weight, Lean Body Mass- Total Body Weight not only lets us know how an athlete has changed from evaluation to evaluation, it is also a critical component of the Peak Power number that tells us if an athlete is getting more powerful as a result of adding mass and speed. For example, if an athlete gains 5 pounds, but their vertical jump remains the same, then they will have gained more Peak Power. If an athlete’s body weight remains the same, but their vertical increases by 3 inches, this athlete has also gained Peak Power. Power output is the name of the game in baseball- creating more power leads to enhanced velocity and bat speed. More on Peak Power later.
Lean Body Mass (LBM) is a number that we are hoping to increase for all our athletes that are going through puberty and testosterone levels have started to rise. Strength training will still help a younger athlete (prepubescent) because they will make neuro changes, basically increasing their ability to utilize dormant muscle fibers that they already have. Increasing lean body mass will lead to increased power if the training is right.
Percent Body Fat- Or muscle-fat analysis
- “C” Curve
- This curve indicates that SMM needs improvement and is not desirable for an athlete. If your athlete is in this curve the goal be to get an “I”.
- “I” Curve
- This curve indicates an average body composition. While this is okay for the average population, an athlete should be looking to improve this to a “D”.
- “D” Curve
- This curve indicates an athletic body type. It should be noted that some “D” curves are more pronounced than others. For example, a goal for anathlete with a slight “D” may be to make it a more significant one.
Moderate changes in body composition such as gaining weight when needed, shedding a few unwanted pounds and adding muscle all contributed to potentially creating a more powerful athlete. The best progress here is slow and steady changes over the course of an off-season.
Seated Medicine Ball Throw, Rotational Medicine ball throw right and left and vertical jump– this is where the evaluation gets really cool! Take your vertical jump in inches, it should be basically the same as your Seated Chest Pass in feet, if it isn’t within 5%, you have an upper body power issue. Your rotational medicine ball throw in feet should be 1.5x your vertical jump in inches. If it isn’t, we have to build in more transverse and frontal plane exercises focused on building power—think Medicine ball throws, lateral bounds, etc. We also look for big discrepancies in left-handed and right-handed throws- in a perfect world, a well-trained athlete with good neuromuscular coordination should be similar in distances thrown from each side.
At the end of the day we are tracking total body power output as represented by Peak Power. This number won’t mean much until we have a second testing and give you some goals to strive for. The average Peak Power of a high school player who was drafted into the pros is 10,342. Many of our athletes are too young to produce this much power yet, but it is a good number to understand for the next 304 years of training. We are looking for ways to improve power through more coordinated and efficient movements which are created by repetition and drill refinement; mobility and stability enhancement; and proper recovery (nutrition, sleep and active recovery).
Testing is not an exact science, more like a barometer of progress over time. Athletes all grow and mature at different paces, so testing is really only for the individual to show progress. My goal is to create Long-Term Athletic Development (LTAD) which means we want our athletes to enjoy the process as much as the fruits of their labor. Learning to love exercise and forming the habit of consistent exercise is incredibly important and we hope we are inspiring you to get your workouts done with a focus and effort necessary to reach your goals while having FUN doing so.
Now get after it! Dale