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  • Writer's pictureCorey Rees

5 Key Tests To Ensure You're Ready To Return To Play

VALD performance allows us at GTP access to real-time feedback to ensure the right muscles are working at the targeted intensity throughout the entire rehab or testing session.

Combining advanced sensors, real-time data visualisation and cloud analysis, VALD performance is a comprehensive system, that we use as a rehab measure or performance tool, for accurately quantifying and monitoring our athlete’s strength, performance, asymmetry, and imbalances.

Below are 5 of several key tests that we use at Game Time Physio to ensure our athletes are ready to progress from the gym to the field :

1. Capacity Testing (Singe Leg Glute Bridge and Singe Leg Box Squat)

Capacity testing is used to assess lower limb unilateral strength to ensure adequate strength before progressing to the reactive/plyometric stage of rehab. The single leg glute bridge and singe leg squats are what we use at Game Time Physio. This is also a hurdle requirement in our rehab plans, with the athlete required to achieve greater than 20 reps and greater than 85% when compared to the uninjured leg on the single leg glute bridge and greater than 10 reps and greater than 85% when compared to the uninjured leg on the single leg box squat. Both tests are performed using a metronome at 60BPM. Returning to the field isn't a waiting game, you have to earn it. This ensures you're ready and not setting yourself up for failure.



2. VALD NordBord Hamstring Testing

The NordBord is a fast, easy, accurate and reliable system for monitoring hamstring strength and imbalance while allowing for use in a range of positions through a variety of exercises and testing types. Van Den Tillar, 2017 study suggesting the Nordic curl uses approximately 60% of our hamstring’s maximal voluntary contraction, demonstrating the ability to perform this exercise with asymmetry less than 10% is essential before beginning a graded exposure running and change of direction program. The main key metrics that we look when analysing the data from the NordBord are: - Max Force Left & Right [N] - Imbalance [%]

- Max Force Left + Right/ Gravity (9.81) = Bodyweight



3. Shoulder IR/ER Testing

This test allows us to evaluate the strength and health of the athlete's rotator cuff muscles in both healthy and injured athlete's, especially athletes whose sport requires frequent overhead activity. A variety of positions (Supine, Supine in 90 degree’s abduction or Supine in Custom degrees of abduction) can be used to assess the isometric shoulder internal (IR) and external (ER) rotator strength of the athlete, with the specific position/s depending on the demand of the athlete’s chosen sport. The main key metrics that we look when analysing the data from Shoulder IR/ER are: - Max Force Left & Right [N] - Imbalance [%] - IR:ER Ratio




4. Counter Movement Jump (CMJ)

With power being an essential component in many different sports, countermovement performance can be used as a key performance indicator for athletes who require high levels of explosive strength or explosive power in their sport. Eg. Football, Netball, Rugby League/Union, Basketball, Track and Field, Gymnastics, weightlifting and volleyball, just to name a few. The main key metrics that we look when analysing the data from CMJ are: - Peak Force (N) - Peak Velocity (m/s) - Jump Height (cm) - Asymmetry (%)

Relative symmetry between L and R on the Double Leg CMJ is a major milestone that must achieved before we progress to Single Leg CMJ where the main key metrics will be looked at again to ensure force absorption and force production is within reasonable limits (< 10% difference between L and R) before progressing to the next stage of rehab.




5. The Athletic Shoulder Test (ASH test) using VALD Force Decks

This is an isometric multidirectional upper limb test that allows us to assess the athlete’s ability to produce force in 3 positions above shoulder level (90, 135 and 180 degree’s). This test will give us an overview of the athlete’s upper body performance and help determine whether they are ready to return to their chosen sport. It is important to note hurdle requirements for this test change dependant on sport with some overhead or throwing based athlete's shoulders undergoing a specific set of adaptions to allow them to increase their performance and therefore clinical reasoning is required as achieving 90% of the uninjured limb may not be acceptable for return to play. The main key metrics that we look when analysing the data from the ASH test are:

- Peak Force (N) - Relative Peak Force (% Body Weight) - Asymmetry (%L, R)

This information from the above 5 tests allows us at GTP to not only assess performance and function, but helps us create an individualised program for both our performance athletes and rehab patients. Once an athlete/patient reaches baseline compared to their other side, we then have something to refer to before, during or after the current competition, or if the athlete’s is injured in the future and requires rehab.


References:

VALD Performance | Human Measurement Technologies. (2022). Retrieved 23 August 2022, from https://valdperformance.com/

Van den Tillaar R, Solheim JAB, Bencke J. COMPARISON OF HAMSTRING MUSCLE ACTIVATION DURING HIGH-SPEED RUNNING AND VARIOUS HAMSTRING STRENGTHENING EXERCISES. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2017 Oct;12(5):718-727. PMID: 29181249; PMCID: PMC5685404.

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