Author(s): Hopkins WG, Schabort EJ, Hawley JA
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Abstract The reliability of power in tests of physical performance affects the precision of assessment of athletes, patients, clients and study participants. In this meta-analytic review we identify the most reliable measures of power and the factors affecting reliability. Our measures of reliability were the typical (standard) error of measurement expressed as a coefficient of variation (CV) and the percent change in the mean between trials. We meta-analysed these measures for power or work from 101 studies of healthy adults. Measures and tests with the smallest CV in exercise of a given duration include field tests of sprint running (approximately 0.9\%), peak power in an incremental test on a treadmill or cycle ergometer (approximately 0.9\%), equivalent mean power in a constant-power test lasting 1 minute to 3 hours on a treadmill or cycle ergometer (0.9 to 2.0\%), lactate-threshold power (approximately 1.5\%), and jump height or distance (approximately 2.0\%). The CV for mean power on isokinetic ergometers was relatively large (> 4\%). CV were larger for nonathletes versus athletes (1.3 x), female versus male nonathletes (1.4 x), shorter (approximately 1-second) and longer (approximately 1-hour) versus 1-minute tests (< or = 1.6 x), and respiratory- versus ergometer-based measures of power (1.4 to 1.6 x). There was no clear-cut effect of time between trials. The importance of a practice trial was evident in studies with > 2 trials: the CV between the first 2 trials was 1.3 times the CV between subsequent trials; performance also improved by 1.2\% between the first 2 trials but by only 0.2\% between subsequent trials. These findings should help exercise practitioners and researchers select or design good measures and protocols for tests of physical performance.
This article was published in Sports Med
and referenced in Journal of Novel Physiotherapies