8 May 2014

Testing Elite Athlete Performance

From Our Changing World, 9:20 pm on 8 May 2014

Elite athletes in this country are receiving a training boost through using sharper testing tools.

At AUT Millennium on Auckland’s North Shore, physiologists from AUT University and High Performance Sport New Zealand put our best athletes through their paces in a series of exhausting physical tests. The process provides extremely accurate analysis of their performance and is used to provide better feedback on the effectiveness of their training programmes.

The end goal? Gold medals, or winning world championships. Justin Gregory went along to see the team in action as physiologist Julia Skleryk tests Luuka Jones, a top-level canoe slalomist.

Canoe slalomist Luuka Jones has her aerobic capacity assessed at AUT

Canoe slalomist Luuka Jones has her aerobic capacity assessed by an AUT exercise physiologist (Image: RNZ)

Luuka’s Test Results: Physiologist Julia Skleryk saysLuuka showed improvements across all three tests. There was ~ 3% increase in her aerobic capacity (VO2max) and this was reflected in the fact that she lasted 90 seconds longer at the hardest level of the max test. This is an impressive improvement since testing only a few months ago, and shows that the last block of training focusing on increasing her aerobic fitness has paid off.  As for the sprints, there was a 3.9% and 2.6% performance improvement compared to her last test. Any 1% improvement for an athlete of this level is positive, so the testing has shown positive momentum for Luuka all round and it will be great to see how she performs on the world stage this year.’