Isokinetic Testing


It is absolutely amazing to me that people still make extensive of isokinetic testing both for injury screening, rehabilitation, and research. This was considered cutting edge in the 1970’s when we did not know any better. At best isokinetic testing serves as a random number generator. It tells us what an individual muscle or group of muscles is capable of in a very controlled (but very unnatural) sterile environment. In the late 70’s and early 80’s at various USOC camps, in track & Field, we did extensive isokinetic testing, because we felt we needed to assess strength. I remember puzzling over the results of my athletes test results. The numbers never made sense to me, sure there were right to left differences, but when I began to understand that the body is fundamentally asymmetrical that concern was alleviated. Then there was the infamous hamstring to quadriceps ratio. As the speed of testing went up to 300 degrees/sec the hamstring to quadriceps ratio became 1:1, what was that telling us? Well it was telling what we now know from biomechanical analysis about hamstring function and what the work of Lieber has told about muscle architecture. How about in rehab as an indicator that strength is sufficient to return to play? Totally bogus, I have seen athletes with great isokinetic scores limp out of the therapy office. They were not ready to play! In summary an isolated single joint, single plane test done at speeds no where near performance speeds, in a proprioceptively unchallenging environment tells us virtually nothing about the ability to perform beyond that isolated test.
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Vern Gambetta

Vern Gambetta

Director at Gambetta Sports Training Systems
Vern is the Director of Gambetta Sports Training Systems. He has been the a conditioning coach for several MLS teams as well as the conditioning consultant to the US Men's World Cup Soccer team. Vern is the former Director of Conditioning for the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets. He has lectured and conducted clinics in Canada, Japan, Australia and Europe and has authored six books and over one hundred articles related to coaching and sport performance in a variety of sports. He has a BA in teaching with a coaching minor and an MA in Education with an emphasis in physical education from Stanford University.
Vern Gambetta


Athletic Development Coach & Consultant. Founder of GAIN Network. Proud dad. Love to read everything.
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Vern Gambetta

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