Monday, March 23, 2009

Using Video Analysis for Fitness Evaluations

Thus far, we've discussed the value of using video analysis in the arena of sports (after all, that IS the title of our blog). But whether an athlete is looking to play a sport at an optimal level, or someone is trying to get back into shape before stepping onto the field, many people participate in training regimens at some point. And in order to get the most out of a workout, people often turn to personal trainers. Before a trainer can design a safe, effective workout program for someone, it's important to find out the client's goals, whether they've suffered any injuries, and whether any particular muscle groups may need to be especially stretched or strengthened. This last point can be addressed by taking the client through a fitness assessment. Fitness assessments are often done before a client begins a workout regimen, and can be done throughout the following months, to keep a record of the client's progress.

In order to provide my personal training clients with progress reports containing qualitative and quantitative feedback, I film them performing various strength/flexibility exercises during the fitness assessments. I then use a biomechanics software package to highlight any area(s) I feel they may need to work on, and provide further explanations as to why I'm having them perform certain stretches or exercises in their workout routines.

Below is an example of a subject performing an overhead squat. Notice the subject has been filmed from both the front and side views, allowing us to identify any compensations he may employ during the movement.

From the front view, I added a zoom window to point out the subject's heel lifted off the ground during the movement, indicating his calves may need to be stretched. In the assessment video, I also wanted to highlight the subject's feet point outward (this is also another indicator the subject's calves may need stretching), so a "key position" was added to the report, as shown below:

And from the side view, I wanted to point out there were no major compensations (i.e., the subject's shins and torso are relatively parallel, his head remains in-line with his torso, his arms haven't fallen forward, and he is able to sit in a fairly deep squat), and showed the relevant angles to confirm this:

As you can see, the use of video in fitness evaluations allows trainers to provide their clients with a more thorough understanding of why they are being directed to perform specific stretches and exercises. And as their clients make progress over time, filming follow-up evaluations is a nice way to show them, in detail, the improvements they've made by following their workout routine, and will motivate them to continue working hard to reach their goals.

Thanks for following this blog (and thanks to my client for allowing me post his video!), and we look forward to providing you with a lot more information in the near future.

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