Journal Information
Vol. 57. Issue 216.
(October - December 2022)
Share
Share
Download PDF
More article options
Visits
...
Vol. 57. Issue 216.
(October - December 2022)
Review
Open Access
Reliability and validity of field-based tests for assessing physical fitness in gymnasts
Visits
...
Jorge Salse-Batána, Silvia Varelab, Adrián García-Fresnedac,
Corresponding author
agarciaf@tecnocampus.cat

Corresponding author at: School of Health Sciences, Tecnocampus Mataró – University of Pompeu Fabra.
, Carlos Ayánb
a Institut Nacional d'Educació Física de Catalunya - Barcelona, Spain
b Universidade de Vigo, Galicia Sur Health Research Institute (IIS Galicia Sur), SERGAS-UVIGO, Departamento de Didácticas Especiais, Well-Move Research Group, Pontevedra, Spain
c TecnoCampus, University of Pompeu Fabra, Mataró, Spain
Article information
Abstract
Full Text
Bibliography
Download PDF
Statistics
Abstract
Objective

This systematic review aimed at analysing the reliability and validity of field-based tests for assessing physical fitness in gymnasts.

Method

Three electronic databases (PubMed, SPORTDiscus, and Scopus) were searched up to March 2022, in order to identify studies that assessed the psychometric properties of field-based physical fitness test among gymnastics.

Results

A total of 16 studies on several gymnastics modalities (artistics n = 11; rhythmic n = 3, artistics and rhythmic n = 1; aerobic n =  1), were analyzed. All studies reported on reliability measured through test-retest design. Validity was reported in only four studies. Regarding specific tests, the split test (ICC = 0.998), and the handstand (ICC= 1) showed the highest test-retest reliability. The greater validity values were achieved by the split test (r2 = 0.52), hanging pikes test (r2 = 0.86), and handstand test (r2 = 0.65).

Conclusion

A great variety of both specific and non-specific physical fitness tests have been analyzed in the field of gymnastics. The side split test, the handstand test, the vertical jump test, the 20-m run test, the agility test, and the aerobic gymnast anaerobic test could be useful tools to assess flexibility, strength, balance, muscular power, speed, agility, and cardiorespiratory fitness in gymnasts. Further investigations analyzing absolute reliability and criterion validity are needed.

Keywords:
Strength
Aerobic endurance
Anaerobic endurance
Flexibility
Evaluation and measurement
Full Text
Introduction

It is estimated that worldwide about 50 million people of all ages regularly perform gymnastics in a club setting.1 The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG, http://www.fig.gymnastics.com) recognized a total of eight disciplines, being three of them (artistic, rhythmic and trampoline) Olympic.1

Physical fitness (PF), is strongly involved in gymnastics, since its practice requires a combination of speed, strength, endurance, agility, flexibility, balance and power.2 The importance of assessing PF in gymnastics relies on the fact that it not only helps coaches and trainers to monitor the development of their athletes, but also to promote healthy, injury-free participation, as well as talent identification.2–4 Consequently, coaches and trainers need meaningful, reliable, and sensitive outcome gymnastics-specific fitness tests.

Laboratory test represents the gold standard for assessing PF, however these tests are expensive and require highly trained experimenters, which compromise their feasibility and applicability in the gymnastics context. Considering these circumstances, the use of field-based PF tests is recommended, since they are easy to administer, involve minimal equipment, minimal cost, and a larger number of participants can be evaluated in a relatively short period of time.5 However, the quality and weighting of the information obtained from field-based tests is conditioned by the quality of psychometric properties, especially reliability (consistency or repeatability of measurements) and validity (the capacity of the test to reflect what is has been designed to measure), which should be informed in advance.6

Information regarding the accuracy of field-based tests for assessing athletes’ PF, is usually provided by systematic reviews that summarize and critically analyze their psychometric properties. This has been the case of different sports modalities such as soccer,7 basketball.8

Coaches and trainers can identify which are the more accurate field-based PF tests that should be administered to their athletes, through systematic reviews that have summarized and critically analyzed their psychometric properties. However, these reviews are usually focused on the most famous and practiced sports, such as soccer,7 or basketball,8 while to the very best of the authors’ knowledge, scant research of this kind has been carried out in lesser popular sport modalities, such as gymnastics. In the light of all this, the objective of this study is to carry out a comprehensive review of the scientific evidence about the reliability and validity of field-based tests for assessing PF in gymnasts.

Methods

A systematic review about the reliability and/or validity of field-based tests was used to assess the fitness level in gymnasts was carried out. This systematic review was conducted following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines.9

Search strategy

Three electronic databases (PubMed, SPORTDiscus, and Scopus) were searched from inception to March 202. The literature search was conducted by one researcher. The following keywords, Boolean operators, and combinations were used: [“Gymnastics” OR “Rhythm gymnastics” OR “Artistics gymnastics”] AND [“Physical fitness” OR “Physical performance” OR “Strength” OR “Muscular strength” OR “Endurance” OR “Aerobic endurance” OR “Flexibility” OR “Anaerobic” OR “Aerobic endurance”] AND [“Evaluation” OR “Measurement”]. To be included in the review, studies were required to meet the following criteria: (i) provided information about the reliability and/or validity of at least one field-based PF test in gymnastics, (ii) published in English, Spanish or Portuguese and (iii) in a peer-reviewed journal. Investigations that reported date on the psychometric properties of field-based PF test without describing the methodological approach used for identifying reliability or validity, were exclude.

Study selection

One author screened the titles and abstracts identified during the search. When the information provided suggested that the study met the selection criteria, a full-text copy was examined. Doubts about inclusion were discussed with a third author until a consensus was reached.

Data extraction

All included studies were reviewed by one author. Information on participants’ characteristics (n, age and gymnastics specialty), gymnastics fitness test/s performed, and values related to their reliability and/or validity (the method to identify them and the type of statistical analysis and its coefficients) was extracted. Two expert authors identified specific and non-specific tests. Discrepancies were resolved by a second author. The bibliography in all selected studies was analyzed in search of new evidence.

Results

A total of 677 studies were found after different search strategies. Authors obtained 56 studies after removal duplicate results and those not related to the main aim. After reading full texts, a total of 16 studies about the psychometric properties of field-based physical fitness tests in gymnasts were selected for the further analysis (Table 1).

Table 1.

Studies included in the final selection.

First Author, Year  Sample (n, age, specialty)  Test (Specific/Non-specific)  PF Component  Reliability (time interval) and validity 
Batista, 2019  n = 157Age = 13.87 ± 1.97Specialty: Rhythmic 
  • Leg up with help of the hand (Specific)

 
  • Flexibility

 
Intra-examiner reliability (10 days):Kendall Coefficient of Concordance = 0.83 – 0.97Inter-examiner reliability:ICC = 0.84 – 0.97Validity: NR
   
  • Leg up without help of the hand (Specific)

 
  • Flexibility

 
   
  • Rotation of the upper limbs (Specific)

 
  • Flexibility

 
   
  • Trunk lift (Specific)

 
  • Flexibility

 
   
  • Forward stand-and-reach (Non-specific)

 
  • Flexibility

 
Dallas, 2014  n = 18Age = 21.83 ± 1.76Specialty: Artistic 
  • Sit and reach

  • (Non-specific)

 
  • Flexibility

 
Test-retest reliability (at least five days):ICC = 0.992Validity: NR 
   
  • SJ (Non-specific)

 
  • Muscular power

 
Test-retest reliability (at least five days):ICC = 0.996Validity: NR 
   
  • CMJ (Non-specific)

 
  • Muscular power

 
Test-retest reliability (at least five days):ICC = 0.995Validity: NR 
Dallas, 2014  n = 34Age = 9.22 ± 1.34Specialty: Artistic  Sit and reach (Non-specific)  Flexibility  Test-retest reliability (same day):ICC = 0.994Validity: NR 
Kaldas, 2017  n = 90Age = 8 - 18Specialty: Artistic  The rope climb test(Non-specific)  Strength  Inter-rater reliability:ICC = 0.92Construct validity (Test score vs. Competitive level):r2 = 0.82 
    The jump test(Non-specific)  Muscular power  Inter-rater reliability:ICC = 0.98Construct validity (Test score vs. Competitive level):r2 = 0.88 
    The hanging pikes test(Specific)  Strength  Inter-rater reliability:ICC = 0.94Construct validity (Test score vs. Competitive level):r2 = 0.86 
    The shoulder flexibility test(Non-specific)  Flexibility  Inter-rater reliability:ICC = 0.99Construct validity (Test score vs. Competitive level):r2 = 0.01 
    The agility test(Non-specific)  Agility  Inter-rater reliability:ICC = 0.95Construct validity (Test score vs. Competitive level):r2 = 0.96 
    The over-grip pull-up test(Non-specific)  Strength  Inter-rater reliability:ICC = 0.98Construct validity (Test score vs. Competitive level):r2 = 0.80 
    The splits test(Specific)  Flexibility  Inter-rater reliability:ICC = 0.97Construct validity (Test score vs. Competitive level):r2 = 0.52 
    The push-up test(Non-specific)  Strength  Inter-rater reliability:ICC = 0.91Construct validity (Test score vs. Competitive level):r2 = 0.91 
    The 20-yard sprint test(Non-specific)  Speed  Inter-rater reliability:ICC = 0.68Construct validity (Test score vs. Competitive level):r2 = 0.92 
    The handstand test(Specific)  Strength and balance  Inter-rater reliability:ICC = 1.00Construct validity (Test score vs. Competitive level):r2 = 0.65 
Kritikou, 2017  n = 46Age = 9.9 ± 1.3Specialty: Rhythmic  Rhythmic gymnastics specific test(Specific)  Balance  Test-retest reliability (same day):ICC = 0.85Validity: NR 
    Shoulder flexion test(Non-specific)  Mobility  Test-retest reliability (same day):ICC = 0.94Validity: NR 
    Shoulder extension test(Non-specific)  Mobility  Test-retest reliability (same day):ICC = 0.97Validity: NR 
    Sit and reach test(Non-specific)  Flexibility  Test-retest reliability (same day):ICC = 0.92Validity: NR 
    Straight leg raise(Non-specific)  Flexibility  Test-retest reliability (same day):ICC = 0.91Validity: NR 
    Sideways leg extension(Non-specific)  Flexibility  Test-retest reliability (same day):ICC = 0.96Validity: NR 
    Bridge test – Body hyperxtension test(Specific)  Mobility  Test-retest reliability (same day):ICC = 0.89Validity: NR 
    Push-up test(Non-specific)  Strength  Test-retest reliability (same day):ICC = 0.91Validity: NR 
    Sit-up test(Non-specific)  Strength  Test-retest reliability (same day):ICC = 0.91Validity: NR 
    Back extension test(Non-specific)  Strength  Test-retest reliability (same day):ICC = 0.91Validity: NR 
    CMJ(Non-specific)  Muscular power  Test-retest reliability (same day):ICC = 0.96Validity: NR 
    DJ (30 cm)(Non-specific)  Muscular power  Test-retest reliability (same day):ICC = 0.95Validity: NR 
    20-m shuttle run test(Non-specific)  Cardiorespiratory fitness  Test-retest reliability (same day):ICC = 0.91Validity: NR 
León-Prados, 2011  n = 11Age = 21.5 ± 3.5Specialty: Artistic  Rope climb test (5 m)(Non-specific)  Strength  Test-retest reliability (one day):ICC = 0.91Validity: NR 
    Repetitions to failure. Straddle handstand on parallel bars (Specific)  Strength  Test-retest reliability (NR):ICC = 0.99Validity: NR 
Marina, 2013  n = 50Age = 8.84 ± 0.62Specialty: Artistic  SJ(Non-specific)  Muscular power  Test-retest reliability (one week):ICC = 0.93Validity: NR 
    CMJ(Non-specific)  Muscular power  Test-retest reliability (one week):ICC = 0.95Validity: NR 
    CMJA(Non-specific)  Muscular power  Test-retest reliability (one week):ICC = 0.96Validity: NR 
    DJ (from 40 and 60 cm drop height)(Non-specific)  Muscular power  Test-retest reliability (one week) (DJ40):ICC = 0.94Validity: NRTest-retest reliability (one week) (DJ60):ICC = 0.95Validity: NR 
Mkaouer, 2018  n = 51Age = 11.03 ± 0.95Specialty: Artistic  20 m run(Non-specific)  Speed  Test-retest reliability (same day):ICC = 0.996Validity: NR 
    4 m rope climb(Non-specific)  Strength  Test-retest reliability (same day):ICC = 0.999Validity: NR 
    Vertical jump test(Non-specific)  Muscular power  Test-retest reliability (same day):ICC = 0.999Validity: NR 
    Broad jump(Non-specific)  Muscular power  Test-retest reliability (same day):ICC = 0.995Validity: NR 
    Flexion legs upon upper body(Specific)  Strength  Test-retest reliability (same day):ICC = 0.994Validity: NR 
    Extension legs upon upper body(Specific)  Strength  Test-retest reliability (same day):ICC = 0.975Validity: NR 
    Pull up(Specific)  Strength  Test-retest reliability (same day):ICC = 0.999Validity: NR 
    Dips(Specific)  Strength  Test-retest reliability (same day):ICC = 0.993Validity: NR 
    Straddle lift to handstand(Specific)  Strength  Test-retest reliability (same day):ICC = 0.992Validity: NR 
    Double legs circle(Specific)  Strength  Test-retest reliability (same day):ICC = 0.99Validity: NR 
    V lever(Specific)  Strength  Test-retest reliability (same day):ICC = 0.999Validity: NR 
    Tucked top planchet(Specific)  Strength  Test-retest reliability (same day):ICC = 0.999Validity: NR 
    Back hang scale(Specific)  Strength  Test-retest reliability (same day):ICC = 0.999Validity: NR 
    Side split sit(Specific)  Flexibility  Test-retest reliability (same day):ICC = 0.998Validity: NR 
    Right split sit(Specific)  Flexibility  Test-retest reliability (same day):ICC = 0.992Validity: NR 
    Left split sit(Specific)  Flexibility  Test-retest reliability (same day):ICC = 0.985Validity: NR 
    Bridge(Specific)  Flexibility  Test-retest reliability (same day):ICC = 0.985Validity: NR 
    Body bent(Non-specific)  Flexibility  Test-retest reliability (same day):ICC = 0.989Validity: NR 
    Leg lift forwards(Specific)  Flexibility  Test-retest reliability (same day):ICC = 0.968Validity: NR 
    Active shoulder flexibility(Non-specific)  Flexibility  Test-retest reliability (same day):ICC = 0.996Validity: NR 
Robles, 2015  n = 10 (Reliability)n = 8 (Validity)Age = 17.7 ± 2.4 (Reliability); 18.2 ± 2.4 (Validity)Specialty: Aerobic  Specific anaerobic field test(Specific)  Anaerobic performance  Test-retest reliability (three days):ICC = 0.97Concurrent validity:Lower-body power – SAGAT time trial: r = 0.69 – 0.73; p = 0.02 – 0.03Upper-body power – SAGAT time trial: r = 0.69 – 0.70; p = 0.03 
Russo, 2020  n = 45Age = 10 – 12Specialty: Both  Sit and reach test(Non-specific)  Flexibility  Test-retest reliability (one week):ICC > 0.870Validity: NR
    Abduction test of the hips(Non-specific)  Mobility 
    Wand test(Non-specific)  Mobility 
    Flamingo test(Non-specific)  Balance 
    Standstill long jump(Non-specific)  Strength 
    10 m test(Non-specific)  Speed 
    Cooper's test(Non-specific)  Cardiorespiratory fitness 
Sands, 2008  n = 10Age = 10.7 ± 0.99Specialty: Artistic  Forward split test(Specific)  Flexibility  Test-retest reliability (same day):Cronbach's alpha = 0.93 – 0.99Validity: NR 
Santana, 2019  n = 51Age = 13.76 ± 1.53Specialty: Rhythmic  Throwing the ball and reversing forward(Specific)  Coordination  Test-retest reliability (one week):Pearson's correlation coefficient = 0.799Validity: NR 
Siatras, 2010  n = 32Age = 9.9 ± 1.1Specialty: Artistic  Shoulder flexors test (0° - 180°)(Non-specific)  Strength  Intra-rater reliability (one to seven days):ICC = 0.70 – 0.88Validity: NR 
    Shoulder extensors test (0° - 180°)(Non-specific)  Strength  Intra-rater reliability (one to seven days):ICC = 0.73 – 0.88Validity: NR 
    Hip flexors test (-30° - 60°)(Non-specific)  Strength  Intra-rater reliability (one to seven days):ICC = 0.83 – 0.88Validity: NR 
    Hip extensors test (-90°)(Non-specific)  Strength  Intra-rater reliability (one to seven days):ICC = 0.85 – 0.88Validity: NR 
Sleeper, 2012  n = 50 (Reliability)n = 105 (Validity)Age = 6 - 18Specialty: Artistic  The rope climb test(Non-specific)  Strength  Test-retest reliability (one week):ICC = 0.80Construct validity (Test score vs. Competitive level):r2 = 0.27 
    The jump test(Non-specific)  Muscular power  Test-retest reliability (one week):ICC = 0.83Construct validity (Test score vs. Competitive level)r2 = 0.42 
    The hanging pikes test(Specific)  Strength  Test-retest reliability (one week):ICC = 0.88Construct validity (Test score vs. Competitive level):r2 = 0.27 
    The shoulder flexibility test(Non-specific)  Flexibility  Test-retest reliability (one week):ICC = 0.92Construct validity (Test score vs. Competitive level):r2 = 0.05 
    The agility test(Non-specific)  Agility  Test-retest reliability (one week):ICC = 0.86Construct validity (Test score vs. Competitive level):r2 = 0.47 
    The over-grip pull-up test(Specific)  Strength  Test-retest reliability (one week):ICC = 0.89Construct validity (Test score vs. Competitive level):r2 = 0.20 
    The splits test(Specific)  Flexibility  Test-retest reliability (one week):ICC = 0.91Construct validity (Test score vs. Competitive level):r2 = 0.09 
    The push-up test(Non-specific)  Strength  Test-retest reliability (one week):ICC = 0.84Construct validity (Test score vs. Competitive level):r2 = 0.25 
    The 20-yard sprint test(Non-specific)  Speed  Test-retest reliability (one week):ICC = 0.85Construct validity (Test score vs. Competitive level):r2 = 0.47 
    The handstand test(Specific)  Strength and balance  Test-retest reliability (one week):ICC = 0.92Construct validity (Test score vs. Competitive level):r2 = 0.38 
Sleeper, 2016  n = 30 (Reliability)n = 83 (Validity)Age = 11.1 ± 2.9Specialty: Artistic  Splits test(Specific)  Flexibility  Test-retest reliability (one week):ICC = 0.97Construct validity (Test score vs. Competitive level):r2 = 0.004 
    Shoulder flexibility test(Non-specific)  Flexibility  Test-retest reliability (one week):ICC = 0.90Construct validity (Test score vs. Competitive level):r2 = 0.01 
    Hanging pikes test(Specific)  Strength  Test-retest reliability (one week):ICC = 0.83Construct validity (Test score vs. Competitive level):r2 = 0.29 
    Overgrip pull-ups test(Specific)  Strength  Test-retest reliability (one week):ICC = 0.89Construct validity (Test score vs. Competitive level):r2 = 0.51 
    Handstand push-up test(Specific)  Strength and balance  Test-retest reliability (one week):ICC = 0.96Construct validity (Test score vs. Competitive level):r2 = 0.24 
    Rings hold test(Specific)  Strength  Test-retest reliability (one week):ICC = 0.75Construct validity (Test score vs. Competitive level):r2 = 0.36 
    Agility test(Non-specific)  Agility  Test-retest reliability (one week):ICC = 0.95Construct validity (Test score vs. Competitive level):r2 = 0.55 
    Vertical jump test(Non-specific)  Muscular power  Test-retest reliability (one week):ICC = 0.91Construct validity (Test score vs. Competitive level):r2 = 0.64 
    Star excursion balance test(Non-specific)  Balance  Test-retest reliability (one week):ICC = 0.77Construct validity (Test score vs. Competitive level):r2 = 0.10 
    Handstand hold test(Specific)  Strength and balance  Test-retest reliability (one week):ICC = 0.91Construct validity (Test score vs. Competitive level):r2 = 0.44 
Torrado, 2011  n = 36Age = 7 - 12Specialty: Artistic  SJ(Non-specific)  Muscular power  Test-retest reliability (two days):ICC = 0.703Pearson's correlation coefficient = 0.595Validity: NR 
    CMJ(Non-specific)  Muscular power  Test-retest reliability (two days):ICC = 0.767Pearson's correlation coefficient = 0.624Validity: NR 
    CMJA(Non-specific)  Muscular power  Test-retest reliability (two days):ICC = 0.829Pearson's correlation coefficient = 0.713Validity: NR 
    DJ (from 40 and 60 cm drop height)(Non-specific)  Muscular power  Test-retest reliability (two days) (DJ40):ICC = 0.776Pearson's correlation coefficient = 0.658Validity: NRTest-retest reliability (two days) (DJ60):ICC = 0.769Pearson's correlation coefficient = 0.625Validity: NR 

CMJ: Countermovement jump; CMJA: Countermovement jump with arm swing; DJ: Drop jump; ICC: Intraclass correlation coefficient; KTK: Körperkoordinationstest für Kinder; NR: Not reported; SJ: Squat jump.

Design and samples

Regarding specialty, artistic specialty was reported in eleven studies.2,4,10–18 On the other hand, three investigations reported rhythmic specialty.19–21 Only one study indicated aerobic specialty.22 Another record included rhythmic and artistic specialties.23

All studies reported on reliability measured through test-retest design. Validity was reported in only four studies.2,15,18,22

Relative reliability

A total of 15 investigations indicated test-retest reliability,2,4,10–14,16–23 while only two studies added inter-rater reliability.15,19

A total of 12 studies reported on relative reliability for different physical fitness-related subtests.2,4,11–15,17–20,23 Four studies reported on reliability data for one physical fitness test: flexibility,10,16 cardiorespiratory fitness,22 and coordination.21 Time interval between test and retest varied from same day4,10,16,20 to ten days.19

Flexibility

Flexibility tests were the most frequent assessment in 10 studies.2,4,11,15,16,18–20,23,24 Regarding to the most reliable test, the side split test was the most reliable specific assessment (ICC = 0.998), while between non-specific tests, active shoulder flexibility was the most reliable (ICC = 0.996).4

Strength

A total of eight records analyzed strength.2,4,12,15,17,18,20,23 The handstand test (ICC = 1,00)15 and 4-m rope climb (ICC = 0.999)4 obtained the higher reliable values in the specific and the non-specific tests, respectively.

Muscular power

Eight investigations used muscular power assessments.2,4,11,13–15,18,20 The non-specific vertical jump test was the most reliable evaluation in muscular power (ICC = 0.999).4

Balance

A total of five studies used balance assessments.2,15,18,20,23 The handstand test was also obtained the best value in the specific balance tests (ICC = 1.00)15 and regarding to non-specific balance tests, the flamingo test accomplished the higher result (ICC = 0.870).23

Speed

Four studies analyzed speed performance.2,4,15,23 The 20-m run obtained the best value in the non-specific speed assessments (ICC = 0.996).4

Agility

Three studies reported agility assessments.2,15,18 The non-specific agility test accomplished the most reliable value (ICC = 0.95).15,18

Cardiorespiratory fitness

Three studies analyzed cardiorespiratory fitness.20,22,23 Specific aerobic gymnast anaerobic test was the most reliable test (ICC = 0.97)22 and 20-m shuttle run test obtained the higher value in the non-specific cardiorespiratory fitness evaluations (ICC = 0.91).20

Mobility

Mobility assessments were reported in two studies.20,23 Shoulder extension test obtained the best result in non-specific mobility tests (ICC = 0.97).

Coordination

Only one study reported coordination assessment.21 In this study, throwing the ball and reversing forward specific test obtained 0.799 in the Pearson's correlation coefficient.

Absolute reliability

Standard error of measurement (SEM) and minimum detectable change (MDC) were calculated to assess absolute reliability in only four studies13,15,17,22. Indicated that SEM with 95% confidence intervals was 0.96 to 0.99 in the overall reliability analysis of the battery total score. Another study reported that SEM for all muscle groups varied from ±0.4 to ±1.0 kg at different joint angular positions in four muscle groups (shoulder flexors and extensors, hip flexors and extensors).17 MDC 95% resulting from the ICC was 0.12 s in the specific anaerobic field test for aerobic gymnastics.13,22 Reported that SEM (flight time) varied from 5.84 ms to 10.26 ms in the CMJ and DJ40, respectively. SEM (estimated mechanical power) varied between 1.84 w/kg (DJ60) and 2.25 w/kg (DJ40). MDC % (flight time) was also indicated and ranged between 3.3 (CMJA) and 5.9 (DJ40). MDC % (estimated mechanical power ranged from 12.5 (DJ60) to 13.9 (DJ40).

Validity

Three studies analyzed construct validity using a simple regression analysis between total test scores and the gymnasts’ competition level.2,15,18 Only one used criterion validity evaluating whether the specific anaerobic field test for aerobic gymnastics correlated with the Wingate test.22

Flexibility

Three studies reported flexibility assessments.2,15,18 Regarding to validity values, the specific splits test was the most valid test (r2 = 0.52)15 and the shoulder flexibility test obtained the higher value among non-specific tests (r2 = 0.05).2

Strength

Strength assessments were used in three records.2,15,18 The specific hanging pikes test accomplished the higher value in strength assessments (r2 = 0.86), while the non-specific push-up test obtained the higher value (r2 = 0.91).15

Muscular power

Three investigations reported muscular power evaluations.2,15,18 The non-specific jump test was the most valid test in muscular power assessments (r2 = 0.88).15

Balance

Balance evaluations were analyzed in three investigations.2,15,18 The handstand test obtained the best value in balance evaluations (r2 = 0.65).15

Speed

Two records reported speed evaluations.2,15 The 20-yard sprint test was the most valid test (r2 = 0.92).15

Agility

Three investigations reported agility assessments.2,15,18 The agility test showed the higher value (r2 = 0.96).15

Cardiorespiratory fitness

Cardiorespiratory fitness validity test was reported in one study.22 This study indicated that validity ranged from 0.69 to 0.73.

Discussion

The main goal of this review was to show the scientific evidence about the reliable and validity data of field-based tests to assess PF in gymnastics. Thus, coaches could use these findings to know and control physical condition in gymnasts, that it could be helpful to improve the performance of athletes.

On the one hand, it was reported that reliability values were high in most tests (ICC > 0.9). Anyway, it is important to clarify that protocols were not adequate in several records. According to this, most studies included in this review used a time between trials too short (< 2 days). In most of them, the familiarization session was not included. Thus, it exists scientific evidence which indicates that subjects should be familiarized with the performance protocol by at least one trial before measurement commences.6 Furthermore, the time between assessments could affect the test-retest reliability and it could not be too short or too long.25 Although it was shown that the optimal time interval will vary depending on the construct being measured, on the stability of the construct over time and on the target population, two weeks seem the most frequently recommended interval.26 It seems relevant to highlight that various studies included in this review used one week interval to control fatigue or learning effects while trying to avoid enough passage of time to allow a true change in a gymnast's overall fitness.2

Regarding to physical abilities, flexibility, strength, power, balance, speed, agility, and cardiorespiratory fitness play an important role in the success of a competitive gymnast.2 Considering this, it has shown that the most reliable tests were the side split test (flexibility), the handstand test (strength and balance), the vertical jump test (muscular power), the 20-m run test (speed), the agility test (agility), and the aerobic gymnast anaerobic test (cardiorespiratory fitness). Thus, three of them (the vertical jump test, the 20-m run test and the agility test) were non-specific tests. So, it is important to consider that specific tests are useful tool to assess specific performance because the non-specific tests do not always correlate well with gymnasts’ performance, and this could suppose a weakness.27 Furthermore, some of these tests showed high reliability values in other populations. For example, the 20-m run test showed a high reliability among elite youth female soccer players (ICC = 0.96).28 Regarding jump assessments, the vertical jump test also showed a high reliability values in men and women physically active (ICC = 0.87 – 0.94).29

It is relevant to highlight that only two studies indicated inter-rater reliability data.15 only reported inter-rater reliability data, while19 showed intra- and inter-rater reliability values. Thus, authors affirmed that only one rater administered the measurements supposed a limitation in one study.17

Regarding to reliability types, relative reliability is the degree to which individuals maintain their position in a sample with repeated measurements,30 being reported in most studies included in this review. Nevertheless, only four records indicated absolute reliability data through SEM and MDC. Absolute reliability refers to the degree to which repeated measurements vary for individuals. In addition, it helps predict the magnitude of a real change in individual athletes and could be employed to estimate statistical power for a repeated-measures experiment.30 According to this, it seems necessary that future investigations also show absolute reliability data with the main goal of knowing how repeated assessments vary among subjects.

On the other hand, validity was reported in only four studies. Three of them used construct validity, contrasting total test scores with gymnasts’ competition level. Nonetheless, only one study used criterion validity evaluating the correlation between the specific anaerobic field test for aerobic gymnastics and a gold standard assessment (the Wingate test). This supposes a weakness because criterion validity allows for an objective measure of validity.6 The lack of studies that analyze the validity of different tests used in gymnasts hinders the implementation of these tests to assess and control athletes’ performance.

Limitations

There are some limitations that need to be considered when interpreting the findings of this review. First, only four studies analyzed absolute reliability, and since this helps predict the magnitude of a true change. Moreover, criterion validity is the only objective measure of validity and only one record reported criterion validity data. Thus, these results should be interpreted with caution.

In addition, most studies did not report a correct explanation about tests. Furthermore, most tests were non-specific assessments, so this should be interpreted considering this aspect. It is important the details of assessments to understand and apply these tests in the best way. Finally, language restrictions in the search process and the non-inclusion of grey literature might have affected these results.

Conclusions

There are several tests to assess gymnasts’ fitness. The side split test, the handstand test, the vertical jump test, the 20-m run test, the agility test, and the aerobic gymnast anaerobic test could be useful tools to assess flexibility, strength, balance, muscular power, speed, agility, and cardiorespiratory fitness in gymnasts. Further investigations aimed at analyze absolute reliability and criterion validity are needed.

Funding

This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

References
[1]
P Edouard, K Steffen, A Junge, M Leglise, T Soligard, L. Engebretsen.
Gymnastics injury incidence during the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games: analysis of prospectively collected surveillance data from 963 registered gymnasts during Olympic Games.
Br J Sports Med, 52 (2018), pp. 475-481
[2]
MD Sleeper, LK Kenyon, E Casey.
Measuring fitness in female gymnasts: the gymnastics functional measurement tool.
Int J Sports Phys Ther, 7 (2012), pp. 124-138
[3]
MF Bergeron, M Mountjoy, N Armstrong, M Chia, J Côté, CA Emery, et al.
International Olympic Committee consensus statement on youth athletic development.
Br J Sports Med, 49 (2015), pp. 843-851
[4]
B Mkaouer, S Hammoudi-Nassib, S Amara, H Chaabène.
Evaluating the physical and basic gymnastics skills assessment for talent identification in men's artistic gymnastics proposed by the International Gymnastics Federation.
Biol Sport, 35 (2018), pp. 383-392
[5]
JR Ruiz, J Castro-Piñero, V España-Romero, EG Artero, FB Ortega, MAM Cuenca, et al.
Field-based fitness assessment in young people: the ALPHA health-related fitness test battery for children and adolescents.
Br J Sports Med, 45 (2011), pp. 518-524
[6]
K Currell, A. Jeukendrup.
Validity, reliability and sensitivity of measures of sporting performance LK -.
Sports Medicine TA, 38 (2008), pp. 297-316
[7]
DJ Paul, GP. Nassis.
Physical fitness testing in youth soccer: issues and considerations regarding reliability, validity and sensitivity.
Pediatr Exerc Sci, 27 (2015), pp. 301-313
[8]
D Mancha-Triguero, J García-Rubio, J Calleja-González, SJ. Ibáñez.
Physical fitness in basketball players: a systematic review.
J Sports Med Phys Fitness, 59 (2019), pp. 1513-1525
[9]
D Moher, A Liberati, J Tetzlaff, DG Altman, D Altman, G Antes, et al.
Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses: the PRISMA statement.
PLoS Med, 6 (2009),
[10]
G Dallas, P Kirialanis, V. Mellos.
The acute effect of whole body vibration training on flexibility and explosive strength of young gymnasts.
Biol Sport, 31 (2014), pp. 233-237
[11]
G Dallas, A Smirniotou, G Tsiganos, D Tsopani, A Di Cagno, C. Tsolakis.
Acute effect of different stretching methods on flexibility and jumping performance in competitive artistic gymnasts.
J Sports Med Phys Fitness, 54 (2014), pp. 683-690
[12]
JA León-Prados, PT Gómez-Píriz, JJ. González-Badillo.
Relación entre test físicos específicos y rendimiento en gimnastas de elite.
RICYDE, 7 (2011), pp. 58-71
[13]
M Marina, P. Torrado.
Does gymnastics practice improve vertical jump reliability from the age of 8 to 10 years?.
J Sports Sci, 31 (2013), pp. 1177-1186
[14]
PT Pineda, MM. Evrad.
Fiabilitat dels tests de salt vertical de les gimnastes prepuberals.
Apunts Med Esport, 47 (2012), pp. 91-97
[15]
J Kaldas, C Bisson, AC Hogue, C Apinis, D Berbiche, N. Gaudreault.
Construct validity and inter-rater reliability of the Gymnastic Functional Measurement Tool in the classification of female competitive gymnasts in Canada.
Phys Ther Sport, 28 (2017), pp. 9-14
[16]
WA Sands, JR McNeal, MH Stone, GG Haff, AM. Kinser.
Effect of vibration on forward split flexibility and pain perception in young male gymnasts.
Int J Sports Physiol Perform, 3 (2008), pp. 469-481
[17]
TA Siatras, ID Douka, DC. Milosis.
Feasibility and reproducibility of muscular strength measures in gymnastics-specific body positions using hand-held dynamometry.
Isokinet Exercise Sci, 18 (2010), pp. 223-234
[18]
MD Sleeper, LK Kenyon, JM Elliott, MS. Cheng.
Measuring sport-specific physical abilities in male gymnasts: the Men'S Gymnastics Functional Measurement Tool.
Int J Sports Phys Ther, 11 (2016), pp. 1082-1100
[19]
A Batista, R Garganta, L. Ávila-Carvalho.
Flexibility and functional asymmetry in rhythmic gymnastics.
Athens J Sports, 6 (2019), pp. 77-94
[20]
M Kritikou, O Donti, GC Bogdanis, A Donti, K. Theodorakou.
Correlates of artistry performance scores in preadolescent rhythmic gymnasts.
Sci Gymnast J, 9 (2017), pp. 165-177
[21]
M Vernetta Santana, I Montosa Mirón, Á Gutiérrez Sánchez.
Validación y fiabilidad de un test para evaluar la coordinación óculo manual y agilidad en gimnasia rítmica.
Sportis Sci J School Sport Physical Educ Psychomotr., 5 (2019), pp. 174-189
[22]
CRR Alves, MTC Borelli, V de S Paineli, R de A Azevedo, CCG Borelli, AH Lancha Junior, et al.
Development of a specific anaerobic field test for aerobic gymnastics.
PLoS One, 10 (2015),
[23]
L Russo, S Palermi, W Dhahbi, SD Kalinski, NL Bragazzi, J. Padulo.
Selected components of physical fitness in rhythmic and artistic youth gymnast.
Sport Sci Health, (2020),
[24]
T Despina, D George, T George, P Sotiris, DC Alessandra, K George, et al.
Short-term effect of whole-body vibration training on balance, flexibility and lower limb explosive strength in elite rhythmic gymnasts.
Hum Mov Sci, 33 (2014), pp. 149-158
[25]
Allen M, Yen W. Introduction to measurement theory. [Internet]. Waveland Press. Monterey (CA): Brooks/Cole; 1979 [cited 2022 Aug 1]. 310. Available from: https://www.waveland.com/browse.php?t=367&r=s|Introduction%20to%20measurement%20theory
[26]
DL Streiner, GR. Norman.
Biases in responding.
Health Measurement Scales, Oxford University Press, (2008), pp. 103-134
[27]
M. McGuigan.
Evaluating athletic capacities.
High-Performance Training for Sports,
[28]
C Bishop, P Read, J McCubbine, A. Turner.
Vertical and horizontal asymmetries are related to slower sprinting and jump performance in elite youth female soccer players.
J Strength Condition Res, 35 (2021), pp. 56-63
[29]
G Moir, P Shastri, C. Connaboy.
Intersession reliability of vertical jump height in women and men.
J Strength Condition Res, 22 (2008), pp. 1779-1784
[30]
G Atkinson, AM. Nevill.
Statistical methods for assessing measurement error (Reliability) in variables relevant to sports medicine.
Sports Med, 26 (1998), pp. 217-238
Copyright © 2022. FUTBOL CLUB BARCELONA and CONSELL CATALÀ DE L'ESPORT
Apunts Sports Medicine

Subscribe to our newsletter

Article options
Tools

Are you a health professional able to prescribe or dispense drugs?