What is a Strength Test?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 04 October 2019
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A strength test is a test which is designed to assess body strength. Strength tests may be performed as part of a fitness program, a neurological exam, or an assessment for physical therapy. There are a number of different tests in use, and many people have a preferred method which they like to use with their patients or clients. There are also self testing directions widely available on the Internet.

In a strength test, the subject is moved through a series of exercises which are designed to provide general information about body strength. These exercises can include lifting weights, pushing or pulling against pressure, and doing exercises such as situps. The test is tailored to the individual to ensure that injuries are not incurred during the strength test; a professional athlete, for example, can presumably endure more strain during the test than someone recovering from surgery.

As part of a fitness regimen, a strength test is used to establish baseline parameters. Periodic retesting can be used to gauge progress, and to adjust the regimen as needed. This test can be performed by a personal trainer or other fitness professional, and it usually includes a range of tasks to assess core strength as well as the strength of specific muscle groups. At the end of the test, a rating can be assigned, based on performance.


In physical therapy, strength testing is also used to establish a baseline. This baseline is referred to when setting goals for a physical therapy program, and during the periodic assessments which are performed to see how well the patient is doing. A physical therapy strength test is supervised by a physical therapist and is usually custom designed after the therapist has reviewed the patient's case, as the therapist wants to make sure that the test is not dangerous.

Neurologists can also use strength testing in their practice, in both assessment and recovery. In this case, the test is used to check on the strength and coordination of various muscle groups to check for signs of damage, to assess during recovery, or to monitor progressive neurological issues. For example, a patient who has experienced a stroke might be asked to do a strength test so that the neurologist can see if his or her brain is recovering. Likewise, in a patient with a progressive disease like multiple sclerosis, periodic strength testing can be used to see how quickly the disease is progressing, and how well it is responding to treatment.


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