Updated: Apr 13, 2020
While testing an athlete’s specific strength and agility abilities might make sense for selection purposes during sports team tryouts, periodic fitness testing is a critical part of any training program. If you’ve ever attended one of Target Training’s 10-Week Workouts, or used the Target Training Online Institute, one of the first things included as a part of training is fitness testing. The target areas of Irish dance fitness measured by Target Training’s founder and coach, Ellen, are flexibility, vertical jump, and stamina. These three areas are then retested at the end of the 10-Week classes; or for TTOI athletes, recommended to retest every six to eight weeks.
But why is fitness testing important for Irish dance?
Fitness testing is always recommended at the beginning of a new fitness regiment (for example, starting the 10-Week Workout), as these numbers then provide a baseline for you to train to improve these specific athletic skills deemed key to your sport (Peterson, 2018). Additionally, fitness testing can help structure your training plan (Silverman et al, 2008). Devoting time to completing your fitness testing provides measurable data highlighting which specific aspects of your Irish dance fitness need the most attention during the training season. For example, if you find your left leg has a much better score on the vertical jump test than your right leg, you can focus your single-leg power exercises to improving your right leg’s strength.
Testing is also key to completing your training season, like right before a big feis or the Oireachtas. Retesting at the end of a season allows you to track your performance over time, as well as evaluate how effective your training program was (Peterson, 2018). Additionally, seeing how much you have improved in each skill gives you confidence in your own abilities and your readiness to compete. Seeing actual numerical data as proof you have improved over the course of a season can provide you with that last-minute confidence boost you need at the end of a season!
We recently had the data from our 2018 season analyzed by data analyst, Rita Kurban. Check out the data below showing the training effectiveness for our 3 types of fitness testing: sit and reach (to measure hamstring flexibility), vertical jump (testing both feet and individual feet), and stamina (measuring amount of Burpees completed in 1:20).
If you want to start tracking your own data at home, join us this fall for the 10 Week Workout or check out the Target Training Online Institute Fitness Assessment guide for everything you need to measure your progress. Your first month of training is always FREE with the code 1MONTHFREE.
Peterson, D. (2018). Periodic Fitness Testing: Not Just for Athletes Anymore. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 40(5), 60-76. DOI: 10.1519/SSC.0000000000000393
Silverman, S., Keating, X.D., Phillips, S.R. (2008). A Lasting Impression: A Pedagogical Perspective on Youth Fitness Testing. Measurement in Physical Education and Exercise Science, 12(3), 146-166. doi.org/10.1080/10913670802216122