Thor Nilsen on Testing Athletes

All tests must have an objective – what are you testing and why are you testing.  

Be clear, are you seeking a profile of your athlete or are you looking for a problem that needs sorting out.  

Taking the results of the test and consider the profile of the athlete – [this is about] his development.  Focus on weak points resulting from the test analysis.  Adapt your programme and the way you are training if the test [outcome] is not right.  

Very often you see coaches testing because they think it should be done or just for crew selection.  But if you want to do it to develop the athlete and the person you must adapt your next training plan to work on the weak areas.

As a coach you have to accept that in any training programme it is a long term job.  Every 4-6 weeks you have to change the programme because the body adapts.  You have to change the load or intensity because the body adapts and you don’t get progress otherwise.

You can’t do a maximum test too frequently because of the [high stress] load but also because the athlete must be motivated to do it.  

If you want to track progress by testing you must find test systems where the athlete isn’t forced to do maximums all the time.  

The answer is sub-maximum tests.  These are simple test systems where you can control athlete development without asking for a maximum output.  

You can do a maximum ergometer test every 3 months – if you have progress  – but this could be a long time elapsed and so you would be better off to use sub maximum tests to trace progress in between.

When testing are you looking for strength or oxygen uptake?  
A simple oxygen uptake test is to use the heart rate step test and simple lactate control test equipment.  

A strength test is a weights sub-maximum test with 12 reps.  This means you don’t need to damage anyone with the weights and you still have a picture of athlete development.  

If you have force platforms you can see if the effective test average is over a series of tests.  You can test to a certain rhythm or weight and each time increase the weight and see if they can do the same thing.  
We have developed a sub-max test where we estimate the maximum we can calculate the potential maximum uptake.  210 watts on C2 = 200 on Gjessing watts.  Average of last 90 seconds heart rate gives test result.  

One thought on “Thor Nilsen on Testing Athletes

  1. Analicia Ramirez says:

    Thor Nilsen,

    I am analicia of the Mexican National Team, i met Thor NIlsen on the camp in sevilla 2007, i would like to know how can i speak with him , because I need a really important advice.
    Thanks

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