Triathlon assessment


The comprehensive support package is now available for £250. We currently offer these tests at weekends only. Discounts may be negotiated for clubs wishing to send groups of five or more.

The Tests

Administering the tests will require two separate visits to the sports science laboratory.

  1. On the first occasion we will administer all of the tests above and this will take approximately 1 and a half hours. The running assessments will be carried out on the first visit.
  2. On the second visit will take approximately 1 hour and these will be completed on an SRM cycle ergometer.

The two assessments combined will provide triathletes will individualised heart rate training zones for both cycling and running.

We recommend that you schedule tests with one week between the two dates.

All testing will be conducted by competent staff members in a British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences accredited laboratory. The Ulster Laboratory has some of the most sophisticated testing equipment in the UK and  Ireland including a SRM cycle ergometer and a H.P Cosmos treadmill with safety harness.

Individuals must abstain from any training for at least two days prior to testing and should arrive motivated, well hydrated and free from illness or injury

The Package

Our expert staff have developed comprehensive physiological profiling services that can help triathletes soar to new heights of performance.

The assessment package contains the following tests:

Anthropometric Measurements

These include height, body mass and body composition analysis (body fat levels). Body composition is analysed using skin-fold callipers and requires pinching body fat tissue at eight sites of the body to give an indication of body fat levels and how these compare to normative data.

Why is this important?

High levels of body fat and muscle mass can negatively impact cycling and running performance as the heavier weight must be carried over the distance of the race and up any hill climbs. Keeping track of the levels will enable you to ensure you are within recommended ranges for triathletes.

Hydration Status

Athletes’ hydration status is measured by analysing the concentration of a urine sample, using a micro osmometer.

Why is this important?

As little as 2% dehydration can negatively impact upon endurance performance. Tracking hydration levels will allow you to establish if you are consuming sufficient fluids.

Resting Blood Analysis

A small sample of blood is collected via a finger prick and analysed for haemoglobin content and haematocrit levels.

Why is this important?

Triathletes require haemoglobin molecules to carry oxygen to the working muscles. The haematocrit reading represents the percentage of formed elements in the blood (mainly red blood cells) and it is important that these fall within a healthy range. If either haemoglobin or haematocrit levels are low an athlete may require an intervention to be actioned by a G.P.

Single Leg Strength Test

Maximal strength levels and the balance between the right and left leg will be assessed using a dynamometer.

Why is this important?

Triathletes require good levels of leg strength as this can impact upon their strength/power to weight ratio, which can influence performance in sprint finishes and hill climbs. Additionally, triathletes may often have a strength imbalance between the legs which can contribute towards decreased performance or injury. Measuring single leg strength will establish if a strength & conditioning intervention is required to manage the imbalance or simply to make the individual stronger.

Double Leg Power Assessment (Countermovement Jump)

Double leg power will be assessed via a countermovement jump using an electronic jump mat.

Why is this important?

Having superior levels of leg power is important for a triathlete, especially when race tempo increases. Tracking levels can provide information on the success or failings of a strength & conditioning programme and the whole training programme in general.

Single Leg Hamstring Flexibility

Single leg hamstring flexibility will be assessed with an active straight leg raise test and a knee extension test

Why is this important?

Triathletes will typically suffer from a lack of flexibility in the hamstring muscle group. This is caused by extended periods of cycling that forces the hamstrings to shorten and loose flexibility. A lack of hamstring flexibility can affect positioning and power production on the bike and long term problems could result in low back pain or injury. Similarly, a lack of flexibility can negatively impact upon stride length when running. Tracking levels will allow triathletes to establish if they require soft tissue interventions (stretching or massage) to ensure healthy functioning of this very important muscle group.

Lactate Profile Assessment

Triathletes will be put through a progressive exercise test to establish how their body responds to different exercise intensities. The response to exercise is measured by tracking the heart rate and blood lactate response to different running speeds (on the first tests visit) and different cycling power outputs (on the second visit). Blood lactate is obtained via a capillary blood samples – this will require taking a very small sample of blood from either the tip of a finger or the ear lobe.

Why is this important?

This information will be used to structure heart rate training zones for 3-4 months. They will range in intensity and be specific to individual fitness levels. This procedure establishes individualised heart rate training zones for each athlete to train at, removing the guess work from training. This process will also establish your particular lactate thresholds and give sub maximal exercise markers that are

very important to distance cycling and running performance. This is the ‘gold-standard’ approach to establishing training zones and is superior to estimating ‘age-predicted’ zones.

Aerobic Capacity (Vo2max)

This involves connecting the athlete to a gas analysis system that will calculate how much oxygen the body can extract and use during exercise.

Why is this important?

The higher these levels are the more a triathlete is suited to longer triathlon events whilst those with lower values will be more suited to mini triathlon and half iron man events. Tracking levels will allow triathletes to evaluate the effectiveness of their training. This part of the test requires individuals to push themselves to the point of fatigue and we only conduct this element with fit and healthy individuals.

Running Economy

The results from this stage of the assessment will also be used to assess running economy. This is a measure of how efficiently an athlete can run at different sub-maximal exercise intensities.

Why is this important?

Triathletes with good running economy will use less oxygen at a given exercise intensity. The analysis will highlight the runners’ most economical running speed and this information can be considered in establishing appropriate pacing strategies.

Recovery Training Session

After all your hard efforts relax in our recovery suite and soothe away your aches and pains.

Why is this important?

The recovery suite contains a steam room, ice cold plunge pool and warm Jacuzzi. Alternating between these treatments will accelerate recovery.

The Follow-up Report

The report will detail all of our findings and help you towards new-found levels of performance.