State-of-the-Art Fitness Testing for Sixth Form Students

State-of-the-Art Fitness Testing for Sixth Form Students

A group of 17 students from the Sixth Form, all studying for either an A level in Physical Education or a BTEC in Sport, put their fitness levels to the test at York St John University last week.

Understanding and taking part in controlled fitness assessments form part of their studies, with students considering the reliability and viability of tests, and comparing and contrasting the different tests available.  In school they conduct multi-stage fitness tests, often referred to as the bleep test, which provide an overall assessment of general cardiovascular fitness.  York St John’s Sports Science Department has a range of state-of-the-art equipment which gives a comprehensive assessment of students’ overall fitness levels, including flexibility, power, strength and aerobic fitness.  It was a real privilege to use this equipment – and test students’ own fitness levels.

Students spent time in the morning touring the Department and receiving a taster session in life at university, followed by a careers’ talk on the progression routes available to them as PE and Sport students post 18 – and the types of professions further study could lead into.  As a school we have a great track record of ensuring students achieve their desired post 18 destinations with 96% of students last year securing their first-choice destination be that further study or an apprenticeship.

The morning provided a gentle warm-up to the much harder work which followed.  Whilst some of the activities may not have looked particularly strenuous, the equipment tested very specific aspects of fitness.  One of the students Lucy was tested on the NordBoard a system for monitoring hamstring strength and imbalance in a range of different positions, before also taking part in a Y Balance Test, which assesses risk of injury.  Finally, students took part in a test we are perhaps all more familiar with assessing VO2 max, also known as Oxygen uptake, using exercise bikes.  A high VO2 max can be a predictor of athletic performance but also used as a benchmark to monitor and track progress for those involved in high level sport.  However, the test also has medical benefit and can help determine heart and lung health.

Lucy commented at the end of the day, “I really enjoyed using all the equipment and doing the tests gave me a much better understanding of how they work and the results they give.  It’s also inspired me in my sport and encouraged me to consider sport teaching and coaching”. Mr Fenwick, Deputy Headteacher, who accompanied the students said, “This was a great opportunity for our students to experience elite level fitness testing, but also the kinds of testing used in medicine and research.  It was also a great introduction to the avenues open to them if they study sport further as well as being really useful research for their own studies as they compare and contrast the different forms of fitness testing.  We are really grateful to York St John for giving us their time and sharing their expertise.”

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