NASM essentials of sports performance training
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NASM essentials of sports performance training


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and underactive muscles that will need to be addressed through corrective flexibility and
strengthening techniques to improve the athlete\u2019s quality of movement, decreasing the risk for in-
jury and improving performance.
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TABLE 3.9
Checkpoints for Pulling Assessment
Probable Overactive Probable Underactive
Checkpoint Compensation Muscles Muscles
LPHC Low back arches Hip flexors, erector spinae Intrinsic core stabilizers
Shoulder complex Shoulder elevation Upper trapezius, Mid/lower trapezius
sternocleidomastoid, 
levator scapulae
Head Head protrudes Upper trapezius, Deep cervical flexors
forward sternocleidomastoid, 
levator scapulae
SPORTS PERFORMANCE TESTING 93
FIGURE 3.44 Shoulders elevate.FIGURE 3.43 Low back arch.
FIGURE 3.45 Head migrates forward.
Kinetic chain
checkpoints
Movement
observation Yes
\u2022 Low back archesLumbo-pelvic-hip complex
Shoulder
complex \u2022 Shoulders elevate
Head \u2022 Head migrates forward
FIGURE 3.46 Checkpoints for the pushing assessment.
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DYNAMIC POSTURAL ASSESSMENTS
LANDING ERROR SCORING SYSTEM (LESS)
Purpose: For identifying improper movement patterns during the jump landing tasks. This test
evaluates landing technique based on nine jump landing concepts using 13 different yes/no
questions. A higher LESS score indicates a greater number of landing errors committed, which
can indicate an athlete\u2019s risk of injury.
Procedure:
Position:
1. The athlete stands on a 30-cm (12-inch) box. A target line is drawn on the floor at a dis-
tance of half the athlete\u2019s height (Fig. 3.47).
Movement:
2. The athlete is instructed to \u201cjump forward from the box with both feet so that you land
with both feet just after the line\u201d and \u201cas soon as you land, jump up for maximum height
and land back down\u201d (Fig. 3.48).
3. The athlete views a demonstration and then gets the opportunity to practice.
4. Video cameras are placed 10 feet in front and to the right of the landing area. 
5. Three trials are performed.
6. The videos are evaluated as follows:
a. Knee flexion angle at initial contact \ufffd30 degrees; 0 \ufffd yes, 1 \ufffd no
b. Knee valgus at initial contact\u2014knees over midfoot; 0 \ufffd yes, 1 \ufffd no
c. Trunk flexion angle at contact; 0 \ufffd trunk is flexed, 1 \ufffd not flexed
d. Lateral trunk flexion at contact; 0 \ufffd trunk is vertical, 1 \ufffd not vertical
e. Ankle plantar flexion at contact; 0 \ufffd toe to heel, 1 \ufffd no
f. Foot position at initial contact\u2014toes \ufffd30 degrees ER; 0 \ufffd no, 1 \ufffd yes
g. Foot position at initial contact\u2014toes \ufffd30 degrees IR; 0 \ufffd no, 1 \ufffd yes
h. Stance width at initial contact, less than shoulder width; 0 \ufffd no, 1 \ufffd yes
i. Stance width at initial contact, greater than shoulder width; 0 \ufffd no, 1 \ufffd yes
j. Initial foot contact\u2014symmetric; 0 \ufffd yes, 1 \ufffd no
k. Knee flexion displacement\u2014 \ufffd45 degrees; 0 \ufffd yes, 1 \ufffd no
l. Knee valgus displacement\u2014knee inside great toe; 0 \ufffd no, 1 \ufffd yes
94 CHAPTER 3
FIGURE 3.47 Landing Error Scoring Sys-
tem (LESS) position.
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m. Trunk flexion at max knee angle\u2014trunk flexed more than at initial contact; 0 \ufffd yes,
1 \ufffd no
n. Hip flexion angle at initial contact\u2014hips flexed; 0 \ufffd yes, 1 \ufffd no
o. Hip flexion at max knee angle\u2014hips flexed more than at initial contact; 0 \ufffd yes, 
1 \ufffd no
p. Joint displacement, sagittal plane; 0 \ufffd soft, 1 \ufffd average, 2 \ufffd stiff
q. Overall impression; 0 \ufffd excellent, 1 \ufffd average, 2 \ufffd poor
7. Add the score. The higher the LESS score, the more movement deficiencies the athlete
possesses and the greater risk for injury.
SPORTS PERFORMANCE TESTING 95
A B
FIGURE 3.48 Landing Error Scoring System (LESS) movement (two images).
TIME OUT
Compensations
The compensations described earlier are compensations commonly most seen in athletes during
clinical applications of these assessments.These are not, however, the only compensations the
Sports Performance Professional may observe when performing transitional and dynamic
movement assessments. For more information on movement compensations and corrective
strategies, see NASM\u2019s Corrective Exercise Specialist course.
PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENTS
Performance assessments can be utilized to objectively assess your athlete\u2019s overall athletic perform-
ance. These assessments should measure stability, strength, power, speed, agility, quickness, and condi-
tioning. Although there are published norms for most of these tests, norms are very sample dependent
and may not be applicable to any particular situation. The most common application of performance
assessments is through serial testing. With repeated testing, the Sports Performance Professional can
track fitness changes, both positive and negative, in response to training cycles and injury. Based on the
results of serial fitness assessments, training can be modified to improve deficiencies. Care should be
taken in scheduling tests. Athletes should be well rested and warmed-up. Testing too frequently can be-
come monotonous and boring with athletes giving less than a committed effort, while testing too in-
frequently might miss important peaks and valleys of fitness. The timing of testing will vary by age, gen-
der, sport, training, and competitive cycles and is best determined by personal experience. 
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CORE STABILITY ASSESSMENTS
DOUBLE-LEG LOWERING TEST
Purpose: The double-leg lowering test is one test with which the Sports Performance Professional
can effectively assess neuromuscular control and strength of the core (17,36,46,47).
Procedure:
Position:
1. Individual is placed supine with a flat blood pressure cuff under the lumbar spine at ap-
proximately L4\u2013L5 (Fig. 3.49).
2. The cuff pressure is raised to 40 mm Hg. 
3. The individual\u2019s legs are maintained in full extension while flexing the hips to 90 degrees
(or to the amount of hip flexion that does not cause a posterior pelvic tilt). 
4. The individual is instructed to perform a drawing-in maneuver (pull bellybutton to
spine) and maintain while keeping their lumbar spine in contact with the pressure cuff.
96 CHAPTER 3
FIGURE 3.50 Double-leg lowering test movement.
FIGURE 3.51 Double-leg lowering test measure.
FIGURE 3.49 Double-leg lowering test position.
Fair (5)Poor
Fair + (6)
Good \u2212 (7)
Good (8)
Good + (9)
0°
50
60
70
80
90
100
15°
30°
45°
60
°7
5°90
°
Normal
FIGURE 3.52 Double-leg lowering test scoring.
Movement:
5. The individual is then instructed to lower their legs toward the table while maintaining
the drawing-in maneuver. 
6. The test is over when the pressure in the cuff decreases (back arches-synergistic domi-
nance of psoas) or the pressure increases as the athlete allows the abdominal wall to pro-
trude and synergistically compensate with the rectus abdominus and the external
obliques (Fig. 3.50).
7. The hip angle is then measured with a goniometer to determine the angle (Fig. 3.51).
8. Core stability strength is determined by the below score (Fig. 3.52):
a. 50% \ufffd Poor
b. 60% \ufffd Fair
c. 80% \ufffd Good
d. 100% \ufffd Normal
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SORENSEN ERECTOR SPINAE TEST
Purpose: This assessment measures neuromuscular control and endurance of the spinal extensors.
Procedure:
Position:
1. The individual lies prone on a treatment table.
2. Align the adjustable arm of a goniometer with the lateral side of the torso while the sta-
tionary arm is aligned with the femur (Fig. 3.53).
Movement:
3. The individual is instructed to extend at the lumbar spine to 30 degrees and hold the po-
sition for as long as they can while the clinician times the test (Fig. 3.54).
4. A normal test is 30 seconds. 
SPORTS