How frequently should you re-test?
Re-testing gives you the peace of mind to know that whatever you’re doing in your training works. It keeps your overall lifestyle on track. Making sure your nourishment, recovery and stress management, movement and exercise, and mindset are on track and moving towards, or staying at optimal health.
Re-testing strength and power
Every 8 to 12 weeks is a good testing frequency for most people. Athletes might want to test every four to six weeks if there’s a lift that’s clearly lagging behind and affecting their performance.
You don’t have to re-test each lift each time. But it’s good to track those that were lagging in the initial tests.
You should also see a difference in your strength throughout the training program itself. Which means you don’t need to test as frequently. Unless you specifically care about the improvement in a specific lift.
When deciding on what movements to test and re-test, choose movements that you already use in your training program.
If you never train the Olympic lifts, testing them is probably not going to give you an accurate view of your progress. You likely don’t have the skills required in the lift to get a testing result that matters.
Broad and vertical jumps are an exception as they should improve with a well-planned general strength training.
As with strength, every 8 to 12 weeks is a good fitness testing frequency for most people. Focus on the fitness tests that were lagging during the initial testing. If your performance in a sport hinges on one or more tests, prioritise those.
As for the dry breath hold, it can be done weekly. It’s a quick, low-level test and a great indicator of performance and overall cardio health. You can also use it to gauge your stress and recovery.
Re-testing mobility and function
In the Optimal Humans app, we use a scoring between level 0 (pain) and level 5 (optimal mobility/function). Your testing frequency depends on which level you score on your initial mobility and function tests.
For the movements that you scored 5: test every 12-16 weeks or after a significant change (injury, time away, stress etc).
The reason for testing at the optimal level, is to make sure that your training program or lifestyle isn’t decreasing your mobility or function.
For the movements that you scored < 4: test each time you do your mobility or function drill.
This is to see that the work you're putting in to improve your mobility and function is actually making a difference.
For these movements that are lagging and need immediate improvement, test them first thing in each training session. Do the drill to improve the mobility or function, and retest again. If it worked, retest at the end of the workout to confirm that whatever you did in the training maintained your new mobility.
If the initial test is optimal at around 120/80 (optimal can also be lower for some people): every 12-16 weeks.
If the initial test is non-optimal, but only slightly: every 4 weeks.
If the initial test is significantly higher than optimal, or low enough to negatively affect your overall well being: weekly + consult your doctor.
Redo the questionnaire every 4-8 weeks to make sure you’re either maintaining or moving towards optimal. The majority of our goals will significantly improve just by optimising lifestyle.
Conclusion / Summary
Re-testing gives you the peace of mind to know that whatever you’re doing in your training works. It needs the same level of attention as your initial testing.
The re-testing frequency depends on your sport, lifestyle and how you scored on the initial testing.