How to Test a Client’s Fitness with The Concept2 Rower

The Concept2 Rower and the 4 x 30:30 Fitness Test

You probably have experience with the Concept2 rower, but do you know how to use it to effectively test your client’s fitness? In this week’s Ask Me Anything (AMA) sneak peek, James FitzGerald, explains how coaches can use the Concept2 rower and the 4 x 30:30 test to analyze their client’s current level of fitness.

About OPEX Fitness

OPEX Fitness has one mission, to educate professional fitness coaches. These weekly AMAs are part of that mission and gives coaches the opportunity to ask our founder, James FitzGerald, their coaching questions. If you are a current OPEX Coaching Certificate Program (CCP) Coach you can submit your question for next week’s AMA here. New to OPEX? Get a free introduction to our coaching methodology here.

The Concept2 Rower and the 4 x 30:30 Fitness Test

The row 4 x 30:30 test is a test that measures the balance between a client’s anaerobic and aerobic systems. This test includes 4 intervals of work in which for 30 seconds the client works at 100% effort and then recovers for the following 30 seconds. While this is one of our go-to fitness tests to use during the assessment (learn how we assess client here) there are a couple of things to keep in mind before programming it for your clients.

How to Use the 4 x 30:30 Fitness Test

Firstly, keep in mind before programming the row 4 x 30:30 test the client must possess a base level of strength and good rowing mechanics to participate. Secondly, approach this test as if you are a scientist. You want to control all of the variables you can to get the most accurate results, so make sure that your client is not tired going into the test, and document the circumstance in which the test first took place in order to replicate for retesting. Before the test, you want to set the intention with your client that this will be hard, say something along the lines of “In this test, you will have to go at 110% for 30 seconds four times.” Cueing the client like this will ensure you get the most accurate results and effort from the client. 

During the 4 x 30:30 and Using the Data 

To conduct the test you want to have the client go all out for 30 seconds rest for 30 seconds and repeat 4 times. An easy way to set this up is through using the interval setting on the Concept2 rower. Once the client has completed the test you will want to look at the meters rowed for each interval. When looking at the results use the first score as 100%. A perfect score will be along the lines of 100% – 95% – 92% – 90%. If your client’s score stays the same you need to work on developing their power. If their scores drops off drastically after the first score you need to work on building their aerobic capacity.

Coaching Without Data is Guessing

Have you ever been coaching a client and wondered if your program was actually working? It’s an awful feeling. But there is an easy way to avoid that, we call it assessment. We teach our coaches how to assess their clients monthly in order to track their progress and the efficacy of your program. Learn how OPEX Coaches assess their clients and the rest of the OPEX System of Coaching and download our free Coach’s Toolkit.

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