Objective: Functional performance testing can determine physical limitations that may affect sporting activities.
Great article by Manske and Reiman on the importance of functional testing. The make a statement early in the article that set the tone: "Functional performance testing (FPT) may objectively measure progress and determine rehabilitation effectiveness as well as whether the athlete is safe to return to full sports participation."
One of the key points to this article was that the best type of tests are the ones that mimic the sporting activity. As sports physical therapists this is are bread and butter. We work on joint mobility/stability, flexibility, ROM, strength, power, etc, but how do we mimic the sporting activity? Experience, research, and creativity all play a role in functional testing. Another important takeaway from this article is the sequencing of the functional testing. Remember to consider the energy systems when planning functional testing (ex: power before endurance testing).
The last section of the article explained different power testing. The tests described include trunk power tests, lower extremity power tests, and an upper extremity power test. With pictures and descriptions available, it was a useful segment.
Functional testing in sports physical therapy is very important. Too often are athletes returned to sport without any type of test that mimics their sport/position in sport. As sports physical therapists we must be conscience of why, how, and when we implement functional testing. We need to make sure we provide our athletes with the best interventions to be successful in their return to sport (and hopefully improve performance).