Tests and fitness programmes

V.D. Sonkin, V.V. Zaitseva, O.V.Tiunova 

(V.D. Sonkin, V.V. Zaitseva, O.V.Tiunova. Tests and fitness programmes. "Theory and Practice of Physical Culture" №0, 1994, pp. 49-56)

Key words: test systems, approaches to testing, biomedical and pedagogical tests, defects of existing test systems, complex tests.


Apparently, there is no need today to prove that the health of a nation depends to a considerable degree on the development of the wellness industry. Whereas some 10-20 years ago emphasis was laid on medical means, today both science and practice in many countries of the world aim to prevent diseases by non-medicinal means, in which fitness forms of motive activity play the leading role. However, the methodological principles of fitness programmes still require a serious and comp­rehensive scientific substantiation before they can actually transform in some fitness technologies. The development of the principles of fitness programmes formation calls for the solution of a wide range of scientific problems, which are currently studied by researchers.

One of the main problems is the qualitative and quantitative aspects of the motor regime, which can differ substantially depending on the individual's profession, everyday conditions, climatic factors, national and local traditions. Today there is no generally accepted methodology for the rational description of the whole spectrum of factors which make up the motor regime. At the same time, if we fail to take into account the actual motor regime, recommendations on fitness training will not be effective enough.

The second successive problem (however, not in terms of its significance) is to evaluate the. initial state of the organism and the results of employing a specific fitness programme. This problem is associa­ted with the development of scientifically substantia­ted test systems in order to characterise comprehen­sively and realistically the capabilities of an athlete's organism. Most research papers available in this field are not profound enough in terms of their quality to introduce scientific developments in the field of mass fitness programmes.

The third problem concerns the formation of fitness programme proper. Today a considerable number of such programmes, which run into hund­reds, has a whole range of typical defects: they are either too specific thus restricting the creative poten­tial of instructors and their trainees or, on the contra­ry, are non-specific and do not comply with the criteria established by the theory of management.

The fourth problem whose solution will make it possible to introduce on a large scale physical fitness technologies is the evaluation of their effectiveness. It involves a whole range of approaches, sometimes mutually exclusive ones. The rational methodology for the development of such programmes must provide for a clear-cut hierarchy of goals.

Finally, the fifth problem concerns the use of modern computer technology in mass fitness training. Large-scale introduction of computers in all spheres of man's activity in modern society and the vast opportunities which thus open up must be used to the full extent for the benefit of increasing the level of the individual's physical health. Moreover, this is the most realistic way for taking into account various individual properties of man's organism, i.e. for the optimisation of the motor regime.

In this review we would like to consider only the second problem, which constitutes today, in our view, the central link in scientific research aimed at the development and scientific substantiation of physical fitness technologies.

Test systems in fitness programmes.

Fitness exercises go back to sports and competition activity. In actual fact, the concept that physical culture had a beneficial effect on man's health became predominant in Europe only in the 20th century under the increasing impact of hypodynamia associated with the advance of urbanisation and technology progress on man's natural and century-long lifestyle. Incidentally, this lifestyle provided for the constant manifestation and training of various physical skills and capabilities, with primary importance in the education of the younger generation being attached to various types of sport-oriented competitions (initiation rituals, knighting, etc.). These prototypes which originated from the tribal system gave rise to the ancient Hellenic Olympics, pagan games around the fire on the night of St. John's Day, Russian fisticuffs or lapta and the British sports. All these actually popular sport traditions are based on competitiveness and various methods of evaluating physical preparedness with respect for the specifics of local traditions and customs, i.e. methods of testing. It is noteworthy that in prehistoric society emphasis was laid on tests for young people.

Whereas children and young people display interest in tests, first and foremost, due to their desire to evaluate their capabilities, a grown and physically unprepared individual gives consent to pass similar tests only for the purpose of evaluating the state of his health. Unfortunately, the test sys­tems which are used in physical education do not take into account these psychological differences between various categories of tested people [2, 6,11, 21, 24].

Nevertheless, scientific approaches to testing the individual's motor preparedness have been developed for several decades now and over this period a whole set of principles has been elaborated, which should constitute the basis of any system of tests: maximum simplicity, validity, reliability, authenticity and objectivity [21]. The development of a new test involves a thorough examination of all these properti­es followed by an independent expert appraisal. In the case of winning general recognition, these tests begin to be employed by researchers and instructors. Apparently, that is why there are quite enough generally accepted tests while the total number of ever develoDed or used tests runs into hundreds [6, 11, 21].

Review of existing approaches to testing.

The testing of the motor preparedness and physical state can be based on two fundamentally different approaches: either to measure (and subsequently evaluate) the result ot activity or to measure (and also evaluate) its "cost". The first system of testing is a typical example of the pedagogical and the second, of the biomedical approaches.

The pedagogical approach in testing is used when it is necessary to characterise the level of the develo­pment of motor properties and abilities [21]. This directly proceeds from sport testing where the result serves as a criterion of success. The examples of such a purely pedagogical approach towards testing can be found in the former fitness tests for labour and defence, the tests of the US Presidential Council and many other systems of tests. The diversity of pedagogical tests seems to be boundless since virtually any exercise performed in compliance with a specific algorithm can be regarded as a test if clear conditions to carry it out have been set. However, not all exercises comply with strict requirements a test must meet, which significantly narrows the range of movements, which can be used for the objective evaluation of motor capabilities [21, 37]. Among the most popular test exercises practised recently we, should mention the following:

—  a vertical jump;

—  30 m or 100 m running from a high start;

—  the number of pull-ups within a specific unit of time or    till exhaustion:

—  the number of push-ups within a specific unit of time or    till exhaustion;


—   a test to measure flexibility -- the maximum incline    forward;

—   3x10 shuttle running or its equivalent;   2,000m or 3,000m running or 6-12 min running (Cuper's test).

Most other tests cause various objections on the part of some specialists: either owing to their incom­plete objectivity or difficulties in making standard the conditions of carrying them out, or because of a considerable impact of habits (the technique of movements) on the result, which makes it impossible to reveal the development level of a specific motor capability [20]. However, this does not apply in any way to specific tests, which aim to evaluate specific motor habits.

Actually speaking, most tests used in mass physi­cal culture aim to change the level of the development of precisely motor capabilities whereas in sports they aim to evaluate motor habits — the technique of movements. Evidently, this is natural because a sport result is determined in the first place by the habit since athletes of the same category normally display similar habits requisite for a specific kind of sport. In its turn, this is due to the fact that motor capabilities are determined by the morpho-fu-nctional properties of the organism, which receives little training at the level of supreme sportsmanship [11. 20. 33]. It is not accidental that the term "sport­smanship" is directly associated ontologically with the motor habits and is in no way associated with the notion "motor capability."

In this sense, the tests used in mass fitness programmes, even if they are of a puiely "pedagogi­cal" character, are closer to biomedical ones owing to their non-specific nature. Evidently, this also explains the wide use in fitness programmes of biomedical approaches to testing which are distin­guished by theii objectivity and reliability but which nevet provide information on the level of development of a specific motor capability. An example of this is the famous PWC/170 test which is known in Russian translation as "the physical functionality at a pulse of 170 beats pet minute" [24]. It is considered to reflect the aerobic capabilities of the organism and, conse­quently, the level of general endurance. However, in actual fact, the high correlation link between the results in this test and tests for general endurance reveals itself only in those cases where the sampling involves considetably different individuals as regards their physical condition [20, 21, 24]. If a similar analysis is held within a comparatively homogeneous group, the correlation coefficient will not exceed the 0.5 level, i.e. moderate degree of relation [16,20]. Nevertheless, the PWC/170 test provides objective information which reflects the real state of the body. And this, in the final analysis, is the most important thing, as far as the fitness effect of physical culture is concerned. [5, 56].

Most biomedical tests aim to evaluate the opportunities of the cardio-respiratory system of the organism. This is explained by the fact that over the last 50 years physiologists and doctors have found the basic regularities of the organism's reaction to physical loads and revealed the key role of the energy and vegetative provision of the muscle activity in these reactions [43, 60, 61]. Nevertheless, a no less important role in the realisation of physical potentials of the organism is played by the nerve-muscle apparatus [25, 43, 48, 60], including the hereditary fixed variant of the composition of the skeleton-muscle tissues 65, 67-69, 71]. The inborn properties of the nervous system characterising the "sprinter" and "stayer" capabilities of the individual, are closely linked with the morpho-functional status of the skeleton muscles [58, 63, 69, 72]' The available data testify to the relationship between these properties of the organism with the somatotype [39, 47, 51, 73]. At the same time the properties of


the skeleton muscles and their innervation apparatus are closely linked with the cardiorespiratory opportunities [31, 64, 70], since our division into "organs" and "systefns" of the organism is rather conventional while the organism always responds to any action, including physical load, as a single whole [46, 53- 54, 56]. The comprehension of this circumstance led to the emergence in physiology of the idea of "the functional system" [1] and the principle of "symmorphism" [74].

Consequently, the above brief review enables us to give the following basic scheme of test classifica­tion employed in mass physical culture:

tests evaluating the result (pedagogical)

tests for the evaluation of                 tests for the evaluation of

motive capabilities                            motive habits

tests evaluating the "cost" (biomedical)

tests for the evaluation of the           tests tor the evaluation of the

opportunities of the                          nerve-muscle apparatus

cardiorespiratory system

It is evident that this classification of tests is also rather conventional. Moreover, one and the same test can be interpreted by various researchers as "pedag­ogical" or "biomedical." For instance, the routine measuring of a man's grip with the help of a dyna­mometer is a purely "pedagogical" test, on the one hand, since it measures the result proper (strength capability); on the other hand, it is a "biomedical" test since it makes it possible to characterise the potential of the arm's nerve-muscle apparatus.

There are also other principles of the classification of tests. For instance, tests can be specific and non-specific [11, 24], direct and indirect [6], etc.

Any classification (systematisation) is designed to make up a non-contradicting system of the use of classified objects in compliance with specific goals [50]. This fully refers to tests used to evaluate the physical capabilities of a man. Before constructing a non-contradicting system of testing, we should set a clear goal of our effort.

•As was mentioned above, such a goal in sports is a concrete sports result. In fitness programmes this goal is less specific; it is associated with the evalua­tion of some "health level" and as of today cannot be determined clearly enough [13, 17, 26, 29, 56].

Basic defects of existing systems of testing.

If a single test is used, it generally makes it possible to evaluate only one property: a capability, a habit or the functional margin. However, a single test cannot characterise such a complex notion as "the level of health" or "the level of motor preparedness" [10, 19, 56]. That is why complex tests are used in practice to provide a multidimensional evaluation of the object of observation [11, 18, 21]. When developing such complex tests, whose variants as of today run into several dozens, researchers proceed as a rule from one basic goal: to characterise as fully as possible the whole diversity of the organism's properties. As a rule, this task can hardly be fulfilled. That is why the so-called "leading" properties are singled out, for instance, motor capabilities [20] on whose evaluation attention is concentrated. The multidimensional evaluation thus obtained is very inconvenient for interpretation. Two approaches are possible here and both of them are based on the development of statistical patterns: either empirical data are used to establish normative standards for each of the tests included into a system and in this case evaluation is carried out by the degree of coincidence with the patterned characteristics for each test taken separa­tely; or a multidimensional statistical analysis of testing some selected results is used to form a pattern of the type of multiple regression equation which, is subsequently employed to compare with the entire set of the results of individuals under test. In the latter case, a convenient scale for comparison is obtained, which however, is constructed, as a rule, on rather random initial admissions made by its developers.

A series of fitness tests for labour and defence can serve as an example of the first approach.

It was based on some statistical patterns which require regular re-assessment and modification owing to the change in the age and sex characteristics. For instance, the phenomenon of acceleration among children and teenagers, which strongly revealed itself in this country in the 1950s-1960s called for reviewi­ng normative standards of virtually all tests incorpora­ted into the series of fitness tests for labour and defence [12]. Recently attempts have been made to develop regional normative standards of the series of fitness tests for labour and defence [36]. However, it remains unclear up until which level this differentia­tion can be made without detriment to common sense. At the same time we believe it to be wrong to demand from, say, representatives of various ethnic groups, which differ substantially by their anthropolo­gic and morphofunctional characteristics, that they show similar results in various motor tests [39]. This contradiction renders the problem insoluble. Conseq­uently, it is normally ignored.

The second approach towards devising a series of tests has been practised over the last 10-15 years thanks to the introduction of mathematical methods into the theory of sport [18]. It makes it possible to bring results of various tests to a single system expressing them, for instance, in points. An illustra­tion of this is provided by a series of tests developed for the first time by S. A. Dushanin and his colleagu­es [15: KONTREKS-1, KONTREKS-2 and lately — KONTREKS-3 [9]. The advantage of this approach lies in the fact that it makes it possible to evaluate in the integrated manner very diverse indicators: age, sex, the results of motor tests, the parameters of the way of life (one's attitude to smoking, alcohol, motor activity). However, the results' interpretation beginni­ng with the evaluation in points of each of the indicators and ending with the formula of the final calculation, seems to be insufficiently substantiated scientifically. The mathematical pattern, which constit­utes the basis for the calculation of results under KONTREKS-2,   is   disputable   and   has   no   serious

scientific foundation. In particular, to get a high mark under this test, it is enough not to consume tobacco and alcohol while the results proper of motor tests play a comparatively secondary role. The basic disadvantage of this approach consists in the fact that its developers failed to formulate a specific goal or set an ideal model, which a person under test must aspire to. If it is evident that the higher the result in this series of tests, the better, then it still remains unclear what is the better.

The approach employed by a group of Kiev specialists — L Y. Ivaschenko, N. P. Strapko, E. A. Pirogova [22 and other] — is more comprehensible. They also used the methods of multidimensional mathematical modelling taking as the basic criterion, i.e. the model standard for comparison, the result in the PWC/170 test. The value thus obtained according to their formula based on measuring the results of several simple motor tests can be easily compared with the age and sex normative standards of the WHO organisation under the PWC/170 test [10. 59]. This comparison is used to classify persons under test according to the level of their "physical" state.

A similar approach based on completely different factual material was employed by R. M. Bayevsky and A. P. Berseneva [3]. They carried out wide-range studies of the adaptation potential of the cardiovas­cular system, using electrocardiography and cardiointervalmetry in conformity with R. M. Bayevsky's method, and compared the results of this clinical research with a series of simple parameters measured by any general practitioner during a patient's visit: weight and height, pulse beat and arterial pressure. This set of indicators was included into their formula, which makes it possible to refer an individual to one of the four categories according to the level of the adaptation potential of the cardio-vascular system. Owing to the fact that today it is the state of the cardiovascular system that Is considered to indicate the state of a person's health (which is far from being indisputable [19]), the authors offered this simplest method to reveal risk groups when carrying out wide-scale medical screening. This method can be useful for mass physical culture as well. The reliability of the said method, according to its developers, constitutes about 70%, which is quite satisfactory for carrying out mass physical examination. According to the data provided by L. Y. Ivaschenko [22], the Bayevsky-Berseneva formula is effective and satisfactorily reflects the real state of a person's organism.

Apart from aforementioned and comparatively wide-spread complex methods of testing, there are also other methods, for instance, those which link the level of recommended physical loads with the results of testing [21]. However, even in this case, the main question decisive for the choice of a specific pattern of testing remains unsettled, that is, what we want to measure with the help of an employed system of tests.

If we want to evaluate motor preparedness, then we can use the systems of the type of fitness tests for labour and defence. However, they do not indi­cate directly the state of an individual's health.  If there is need to evaluate the state of the cardiovascular system, then preference should be given to biomedical tests of the type of PWC/170. However, this will also produce a lop-sided picture.

The emerging contradiction lies in the fact that during the development of the system (series) of tests, a target-oriented function has not been shaped, i.e. the fundamental law of systems engineering is breached [41]. Without a clear and well-formulated purpose it is impossible to create a non-contradicting system of testing.

The aim of fitness programmes is to increase and (or) maintain at a sufficiently high level the health of a specific person [13, 19]. Unfortunately, the notion "health" has not been developed yet either by theoretical medicine [14, 29, 56] or theoretical physical culture [19, 33]. The existing definition-s of the notion "health" are characterised by eclecticism and basically have a medical shade of meaning, i.e. health is considered as the absence of an expressed disease [14. 56]. The definition of health accepted today and developed by WHO experts is also charac­terised by this defect [10].

Possibly, the notion of a "standard" is closer to the aims of fitness programmes [34, 26, 66] since our primary concern is not the absence of disease but the normal functioning of all systems of the organism complying with its age and sex require­ments. Such a notion makes it possible to consider the "standard" in terms of the theory of systems where individual parameters of the activity of elements making up the system play a much less important role than the character and the level of the interrelationships of elements, which reveal themselves in the process of activity [50]. It is the optimised • interaction of separate elements that ensures their reciprocal coordination and high reliability in achieving a specific result [41].

There is a whole number of research papers devoted to the systems analysis of the interaction of the organism's functions, including during muscle activity [4, 35, 38, 42, 46, 47]. The availability of many variants of the system arrangement is an important aspect in this respect [50]. This is probably connected with specific typological features, with the analysis of these relations, despite great theoretical and practical interest, being in an embryo state probably due to methodological difficulties and many theoretical problems awaiting their solution. As a hypothesis, we may assume that the "standard" is nothing else but a rationalised interaction of functions in the process of activity. Such idea of the "stan­dard" presupposes a completely new approach to the procedure and the analysis of the results of testing.

A search for ways to optimise the procedure of testing: new approaches, the notion of "complex testing".

The above information determines the necessity to develop new approaches to the complex testing of the physical state of the organism. In this respect, such new approaches are possible both within the framework of traditional ideology, i.e. based on the testing of separate characteristics and within the framework of a systems approach. In the first case, it concerns the simulation of a "psychoph-vsiologopedagogical portrait," i.e. a multidimensional structure, which describes fully enough a wide spectrum of inherited properties and capabilities of a person being tested. The latter case concerns functional and simulation models making it possible to forecast changes in the work of the system under the impact of specific control signals. Such control signals may also imply fitness exercises.

Modern ideas of human biology [4], the theory of medicine [13, 14] and psychology [45] boil down to the fact that the optimisation of the physical state of a person requires an individual approach, which should take into account specific typological features. However, the problem of integrated typology studies is far from being solved.

The ideas concerning man's morphofunctional typology were formulated back in the works by W. Sheldon [73], V. G. Shtefko, A. D. Ostrovsky [55], V.V. Bunak [7] and developed in the works of some researchers [8, 27, 39, 49, 51]. The morphofunction­al typology reveals itself distinctly enough in physical culture and sport, which was described in detail by researchers [31, 40, 52 and others]. Most of them note the presence of the combinations of morphotype characteristics with the characteristics of the function­al organisation and the parameters of a psychotype.

The ideas about the types of human psychic were developed by such outstanding researchers as Z. Freud [44], K. Yung [57], W. Sheldon [73], R. Kartell [62] and many others. The research papers by Sheldon and Tanner point to the interaction of the spheres of somatic and psychic typologies. However, neither medicine (excluding homeopathy) nor the theory and practice of physical culture (excluding sports selection) take into account typology characte­ristics. This is explained, in part, by the fact that in present-day life there are virtually no refined variants of specific types while the identification of mixed types today presents a serious problem for professio­nal researchers. One of the latest surveys [28] regrettably reports about decreased interest in typology among specialists in the field of physical culture and fitness training emphasising the importan­ce of the typology analysis. However, the typology approach in scientific research has increasingly shifted from the sphere of somatics to the sphere of psychics where the types are probably more clearly expressed.

The principles of typology construction are always much the same. This requires the presence of several vectors; each of them can be used as a scale to measure some property while the integral evalua­tion is made on the basis of individual appraisals of all vectors being used.

Thus, the ancient typology of the temperament measured, following specific rules, the content of the four world elements to determine a specific human type. Modern human typology relies on the properties of the nervous system being measured — strength, lability and excitability. Anthropological typology quantifies the degree of expression of ecto-, meso-and endomorphism. Psychological typologies as per the intention of their developers evaluate various aspects of human psychics with various degree of detail always following, however, the same principle. Sometimes these differences can be assessed only by one single vector; however, in this case it is hardly possible to speak about human typology although it is possible to consider constructively the typology of certain aspects of the functioning of the body. This is illustrated by V. P. Kaznacheyev's idea ot typology study in compliance with the sprinter/sta­yer criterion [23].

The properties of each of the vectors suitable for typology studies are indicated below. Firstly, simplic­ity, discreteness and unambiguity in determining a feature being measured. Secondly, adequately variable degree of expression of this feature among people. Thirdly, independence of vectors from each other, i.e. the absence of any casual-consequential relationship between them, Fourthly, the row arrange­ment of vectors (they must characterise features of one level).

Among" a great number of parameters characteri­sing various aspects of human health there can be singled out the following two groups of features: 1st — conservative features characterising, first of all, the neuro-physical status and directly associated with the most important typological characteristics; 2nd — labile •features describing the current physical state, which are not directly associated with the typological characteristics. Consequently, to form a system of requisite tests, i.e. to analyse the degree of their information content, it is necessary to understand which of the features being analysed characterise the neurophysical status, and which — the current physical state. The former deal with conservative, typological characteristics, which should be distribut­ed' within the population not the way the latter should. For instance, we can expect that this will reveal itself in greater or lesser degree of variability, obvious deviations from the law of normal distribution, etc.

The above information was experimentally proved with the help of the factor analysis of indicators, which characterise the physical state of young men in the process of training. The test was carried out among apparently healthy young men (18-22 years old) who were students of the Moscow Communicati­ons Institute. Following anthropometric examination, they were divided into three groups in compliance with the revealed somatotype: ectomorphic, mesomo- t rphic and endomorphic.

The factor analysis in general sampling (not divided into groups) made it possible to single out three basic factors, which account for 75% of general dispersion. The first factor, which we interpreted as the factor of motor capabilities, accounts for 40% of the general dispersion of the sampling. The second factor characterising physical (somatotype) developm­ent constituted 22% and the third factor (energy capabilities) made up 13%.

The fact that the somatotype factor came second in importance speaks in favour of our assumption about the important role of typological characteristics. The singling out from the general sampling of the three groups of persons with different somatotypes and the carrying out of the factor test for each of the




groups separately once again confirmed this hypothe­sis.

The students referred to the endomorphic type of constitution revealed three basic factors accounting for 71% of general dispersion: I — motor capabilities — 31%; II — somatic — 22%; III — the neuromotor status — 18%.

The representatives of the mesomorphic type of constitution revealed, as the most important, the factor of the neuromotor status — 26% of the general dispersion of the sampling followed by the somatic factor — 22% and the factor of energy capabilities — 18% .

Given the ectomorphic constitution, the three basic factors account for 60% of the general dispersion of the sampling where factor I (the neuromotor status) constitutes 23%, factor II (energetics) — 23% and factor III (somatic factor) — 14%.

Thus, irrespective of the type of constitution, leadership is reserved to the four basic factors representing a set of features characterising : 1) motor capabilities, 2) the neuromotor status, 3) body constitution, 4) energy capabilities. The specific weight of these factors for the groups with various somatotype features is different, which serves to prove that there are deeper typological differences between people referred to different somatotypes. Namely, the results of the factor analysis testify to the fact that these differences do not only encompa­ss somatic features but also determine the role of energy and neuromotor properties of the body in the realization of its motor potentials.

To continue the analysis of the information content of the characteristics of the physical status and the current state, let's consider how they change under the impact of physical training. For this purpose, we compiled a table of the results of the testing of a group of young male students with clearly expressed features of the mesomorphic (muscle) type of body constitution obtained before and after the impact of the adequate regime of physical training over the training year. The adequacy of training was confirmed by I. V. Nikishin's research paper [32]. The list of tests also includes some neuromotor indicators obtained with the use of special devices (the time of simple motor reaction .(SMR), complex sensomotor reaction (CSMR).

The Table shows that we can refer to the conse­rvative features the height of the vertical jump, the speed of a single movement, flexibility, arterial pressure and the majority of neuromotor characteris­tics. At the same time, the strength characteristics turned out to be among the labile features.

Evidently, in an attempt to explain the available facts and reveal the informative features for the evaluation   of  the   physical   status  and  the   current 

physical state, we should bear in mind that the table data were obtained not by random sampling but in a specially selected group of individuals of a specific (muscle) type of body constitution who were trained according to a special programme. The number of the degrees of freedom is thus reduced with the change of characteristics being studied. For instance, this fact can relate to the lability of the strength indicators against the background of the conservative nature of other motor characteristics. Speaking in favour of this supposition is the fact that labile among the runners' tests in this group proved to be only the time of the 1,000 m running (which characterises the aerobic-anaerobe potential of the energy systems) while purely aerobic and sprinter capabilities of these persons (3,000m and 100 m running) virtually re­mained the same in the course of training.

The indicators of the latent time of the complex motor reaction and the result in the tapping test proved to be the most conservative. However, the motor time of the CMR is labile. Thus, the analysis of the characteristics of the neuromotor system creates an impression that in this group of persons under test the neuron characteristics are the most conservative while the neuromuscular ones are much more labile.


Following the results of the analysis of the inform­ation content of various indicators to evaluate the level of physical state, we Gan make the following conclusions:

  1. What must lie as the basis of the individual optimisation and improvement of human physical health is the idea about two basic components of this notion where the main merit belongs to the individual neurophysical status of an individual, while subject to change and improvement is the current psychophy­sical condition.
  2. Among a great multitude of test characteristics traditionally employed in physical culture, sports and fitness training one should distinguish conservative indicators characterising man's physical status and labile indicators determining the degree of his/her training, i.e. the current physical state.
  3. The physical status is determined by a set of conservative typological features (probably, hereditary and genetically determined) determining the limits of the adaptation of labile (subject to labile training under systematic impacts) characteristics
  4. From the number of potentially conservative characteristics it is possible to isolate some characte­ristics of the status, invariably conservative for all people irrespective of its typology. For persons belonging to various typology groups (for instance, according to the type of body constitution) the same characteristics can be conservative or labile.

5. A full-fledged description of the neurophysical status and the current psychophysical state of the body requires a sufficiently wide range of tests, which can be informative only if used in a package. These tests must be able to characterise the body constitu­tion, the basic properties of the central nervous system, the type of reaction of the autonomic nervo­us system, special features of energy supply and the level of motor preparedness.

In other words, it is necessary to provide a strictly quantitative complex (taking into account various aspects of the body condition) evaluation which must be: a) obtained on the basis of objective and informative tests and b) be comparable with some a priori known criterion as regards the optimal state of a specific person.

At the same time we should take into account the fact that any standard impact, including one which is associated with the muscular activity, causes a completely different reaction among various individu­als. This fact is well known; however, researchers usually ignore it. Only recently has fitness training become increasingly individualised. Given this appro­ach, the task of the integral evaluation of physical slate becomes ever more topical since without its solution it is impossible to meet the basic require­ment, that is, the maximum benefit of personal training loads for each individual.

Specific individuals of any typology are subject in present-day conditions to various external impacts, including physical loads. There emerges an adaptati­on reaction of the respective organs and systems of the body, which is specific for each typology. Conse­quently, the individual's current state undergoes changes. The dynamics of the current state is extre­mely labile and within the boundaries limited by the neurophysical status is closely connected with the nature and intensity of external impacts. It is this adaptation of the body organs and systems that serves as the basis for today's and future Olympic records, it is evident that during fitness training the basic need for improvement (i.e. the adaptation rearrangement at the tissue and organ levels) - is experienced by these considerably more mobile components in a proportion depending not only on the specific tasks of training sessions but also on the individual neurophysical status. Only in this case can we speak about the optimal regime of fitness training for the said individual.





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