I truly believe that Adapt has the most
comprehensive and effective assessment
process for athletes in the state of New Jersey.
You will not find another facility that takes the time to assess athletes on as many levels as we do. It might seem like a bold claim, but I am confident that anybody who shops around will not find a better and more through assessment process anywhere in New Jersey.
Our performance training model is founded on the belief that every single athlete that walks through our doors is unique in terms of body type, mobility, stability, injury history, strength, power, fitness levels, sporting demands and more. As a result, their programs MUST reflect their unique needs and demands. Having every athlete on the same basic program is the fastest way to getting athletes hurt and weaker. As such, athletes need individualized programs based on their current fitness levels, goals, sporting demands, and injury history. The only way to do this is by writing completely individualized programs for each individual, and the only way to do that is by individually assessing each athlete that walks through our doors.
The Adapt assessment process in a full hour-long assessment with a coach that assesses everything that athletes might need to get better at their sport. While many coaches focus on identifying weaknesses and fixing so called muscle imbalances and weak links, at Adapt we place a huge emphasis on what you do well. We won’t neglect weaknesses, but we identify what an individual does well so we can work on that and turn their strength into a bigger strength. For example, if an athlete is fast, we won’t necessarily neglect any further speed and only work on their weak links. Instead, we will seek to further improve their speed to help them get even faster on the field, while working to slowly shore up their weaknesses.
We do not have a sport specific assessment for each sport. Instead, we have a specific assessment for each individual. For each step or category below, we have a menu of tests to choose from. Based on the athlete’s sport, age, levels, etc., we will pick and choose from their menu to ensure we put them through the correct tests that give us the information we need for their sport, position, age, and fitness levels.
Without further ado, let’s get into what the assessment entails:
Step 1: Goal Setting and Success Consult
When any athlete walks into our facility, they begin by sitting down with a coach and discussing their goals, expectations, and concerns. This is an excellent time for the athlete and coach to get to know each other and lay down some specific goals. Not only do we want to know what the athlete’s goals are, but we want to know the WHY behind those goals. This will help us to best motivate and understand how to guide each individual athlete, both physically and mentally. The athlete has time to tell us about their previous training experiences and injuries so we can make note of anything relevant and know what to look for in the assessment.
Step 2: Orthopedic and Movement Assessment
The second step of this assessment begins on the table. Our coaches take the athlete through an extremely comprehensive look at the mobility and stability of nearly every single joint in the body. This assessment does several things. First, it serves as a red flag screen. If an athlete has pain with any part of the assessment, we will bring over one of our doctors of physical therapy to evaluate the joint in question. They will let the us and the athlete know if they may require physical therapy, or how we can best train around it. If there is no pain during the assessment, it allows us to know how the individual moves and what joints or patterns need more mobility and which ones need more stability. While many programs take a shotgun approach to mobility, we like to only perform corrective exercises when they are needed. The only way to know which specific joints need mobility is through our comprehensive assessment. If we spot a big imbalance or restriction in range of motion, we will address it though specific drills designed to correct the restriction.
As I mentioned, this assessment also lets us know what an individual does well. For example, if an individual has great hip mobility and a great squat pattern, we know they squat well and we can get them stronger and more powerful right away without having to waste time on unnecessary mobility drills.
After on the table orthopedic testing, we will get the athlete up on their feet and ask them to perform some basic movements such as squatting, hinging, lunging, pushing, and pulling. We are looking for the variations of each movement that they do well so we can know exactly where to start their program on day 1.
Step 3: Speed and Agility Assessment
One of the most important things to train for is speed. Many facilities are great at getting athletes bigger and stronger in the weight room, but don’t spend so much time working on sprinting mechanics to get their athletes faster in their sport. We place a huge emphasis on speed development to make our athletes better where it counts; on the field.
We have a myriad of speed and agility drills that we will choose from depending on the athlete’s sport and position. Nearly all athletes will be tested in a 10-yard dash, which is a measure of linear acceleration. Most athletes will also run a flying 10-yard dash, which is a great way to measure their maximum velocity without making them run a full 40-yard dash. We will then compare the 10-yard dash to the flying 10 to assess whether an athlete is better in the first 10 yards (acceleration) or at their maximum velocity. Several reactive speed drills and agility drills will be used as well. Whenever possible, coaches will record the tests because we are interested in not only how fast athletes run, but how well they run to see how efficient and injury resistant they are.
Step 4: Power Assessment
After speed, power is one of the most critical qualities needed for sports. We take a very critical look into each athlete’s power development using two pieces of technology. We use the Jumpmat by Just Jump to perform a series of jump tests that tell us a lot about our athletes.
While many facilities will just look at a single vertical jump, we take it much deeper than that. We look at a vertical jump, a vertical jump without hands, a no countermovement vertical jump (pause in the bottom), and a 4 jump. We then compare these four jumps using evidence based ratios to get a profile of the athlete to assess how they produce their power. The vertical jump tells us overall how powerful they are. The ratio of the no countermovement jump and 4 jump to their vertical jump tells us if they are elastic and velocity dependent or if they are more forceful and muscularly dependent when they jump. If an athlete has a very good 4 jump, they rely on the stretch reflex when they jump and have good speed. If their 4 jump is poor and their no countermovement jump is good, they don’t use their stretch reflex well and instead they rely on their muscles to do all the work. We use these ratios to help individually prescribe the power exercises we give every athlete to ensure that are getting exactly what they need to get more powerful.
We will also have them perform a single leg vertical jump and a single leg 4 jump to assess side to side imbalances and compare these results to what we saw on the table during orthopedic. If we see a difference of more than 10%, we will create a plan of action to decrease these imbalances to ensure efficient running mechanics and reduced risk of injury.
We are also very lucky to have access to a Gymaware linear position transducer. Basically, the Gymaware is a tool that is used to track velocity during lifts and jumps in the weight room. We use it a lot in our training of high level athletes. For this part of the assessment, we simply have athletes perform a vertical or countermovement jump while attached to the Gymaware. The main metric we are looking at here is Peak Velocity, which is highly correlated with vertical jump performance. We also can look at mean and peak power, force, eccentric force, eccentric velocity, rate of force development, and more. Like I said, we are very lucky to have access to these tools that most private facilities do not have access to help us key in to exactly what each individual athlete needs to get better.
Step 5: Strength Assessment
By now we’re about halfway through the assessment and we’ve only got strength and conditioning left to test. The strength tests that we use will really vary based on the athlete in front of us. No matter what, testing has to be safe so we have to ensure that everything we decide to test can be done in a very safe fashion. For this reason, the strength assessment might only be push-ups, TRX rows, and 75% BW Farmers Walk for a younger athlete who doesn’t have weight room experience. These tests are all nearly risk free and can still give us some idea of strength levels and set a nice baseline to measure progress with. However, an experienced athlete might have a very detailed strength assessment.
Many facilities use 1 repetition maximum testing to determine strength levels. 1RM testing requires taking an athlete up to the heaviest weight they can possibly lift in either the squat or bench usually. This is potentially dangerous, and fatiguing. Another common method of assessment is using repetition maximum testing. This involves having the athlete work up to a 5 or 10 repetition maximum, meaning the most weight they can hit for 5 or 10 reps, and then plug that into a formula to predict 1RM. This is safer than 1RM testing, but it is not always accurate and it can be very fatiguing to test.
Enter the Gymaware. This tool allows us to assess strength without either of the downfalls of traditional methods mentioned above. In addition, we gain a lot more insight into an athlete’s unique makeup without the risk and fatigue of traditional testing methods. The Gymaware gives us the ability to predict an athletes 1RM by performing what we call a load velocity profile. By having athletes perform 1-3 reps at 6 different weights and moving the bar as fast as they can, we can not only accurately predict 1RM but we can also get insight on how much force and velocity they produce at different strength and speed zones.
We will only perform Gymaware load velocity testing on athletes who are very proficient with squatting and benching. We have a large menu of tests that we will use with athletes who are not as experienced, or as an add on to the Gymaware tests for experienced athletes. For lower body, we might test max number of Goblet Squats or Rear Foot Elevated Split Squats at 75% of body weight. In our strength menu, we can also test upper body strength and strength endurance using max number of chin-ups, Chin-Up 3RM, push-ups, TRX Rows, and Farmers Walk for time using 75% of body weight.
Again, we have many options to choose from depending on the athlete’s age and training history. Every test we do will be safe and effective because we take the time to choose the specific tests based on the athlete rather than fit them to a one size fits all model.
Step 6: Conditioning Assessment
The final step in our performance assessment is the conditioning assessment. Once again, we have multiple different tests that we can use depending on an athlete’s sport, goals, and training status. The very first thing I will do is ask an athlete for their resting heart rate. This is indicative of their aerobic capacity. If an athlete has a resting heart rate over 60 beats per minute, this tells me we need to work on their aerobic fitness regardless of the sport. If they play an endurance sport, we will look for it to be near 50. A well-developed aerobic system is important to recovery between practices, games, workouts, and sprints.
Next, we will look at some more specific tests to their sport. We have several tests that we use depending on the sport , but the three I will use most often are the Modified Cooper’s test, the YoYo Intermittent Recovery Test, and the Sprint Fatigue Test. These tests will look at an athlete’s anaerobic threshold, aerobic capacity, and ability to maintain speed as they get progress through a game or match. Again, we will pick which test to use based on the athlete’s sport, position, and goals. For example, we will use the sprint fatigue test for an athlete who has to perform multiple repetitive bouts while maintaining his speed. A good example would be a wide receiver in football. We might use the YoYo for the soccer player who requires tremendous aerobic capacity, and the Modified Cooper’s test for a basketball player who feels he gasses out early. These assessments will give us a baseline to work off of and tell us exactly where to start an athlete at for their conditioning training.
Interpretation and Program Design
By now, the physical assessment is over, but the process is just beginning. All the information in the world is useless unless we use it to get athletes better.
At the end of the session, we will sit down with the athlete and parents to discuss our findings and how we believe we can help them improve as an athlete. If they like what we have to say, they will sign up for one of our packages and we will write them a program.
Before the athlete comes in for their first training session, we will sit down and write them a completely customized program based on the results of everything we gained from the assessment. We will coach the athlete up on their program and they will train for several weeks to months.
To ensure that we are getting the athlete better, we will then re-assess. Every athlete will do a formal re-assessment that will look at every single test we performed to see how much progress we made. At the end of the assessment, we will email the athlete and parent a PDF document of a comparison tracker showing before and after progress. This is a great way to get a visual representation of an athlete’s progress, along with numbers showing percentage change.
In addition to the formal re-assessment every few months, we will actually re-test 1 to 3 things every single week or training session. For example, if we spot an athlete has limited hip or ankle mobility and we believe they would benefit from improving it, we will check it every single day when they walk in. If we want one of their jump numbers on the Jumpmat or Gymaware to improve, we might place the jump at the end of the warm-up and have them perform 1 to 3 repetitions every day or week. This allows us to track progress and trends over time by having more data points to look at. It also serves as a form of readiness tracking; meaning if an athletes numbers go down drastically one day, they are very fatigued and we might make that training session much easier and lighter.
Progress in a performance training program is only as good as the program, and the program is only as good as the assessment that it is based on. A generic program that written for a group of 15 athletes might make 5 better, 5 stay the same, and 5 get hurt. If you’re spending hundreds of dollars and multiple hours in a week training, there shouldn’t be a 66% chance of getting no better or hurt. At Adapt, there is a 100% chance that you will get better and stay healthy in the process because you will be training on a program that is completely individualized for you after our thorough assessment process.
We are so confident that our assessment process will wow you that we are offering FREE assessment to all athletes this fall.
If you want to make sure you get a training program that is tailor made to you and your unique needs, don’t hesitate to sign up today by signing up below or giving us a call at 609-218-8003.