Baseline measurements really depend on what’s most important to the client.
Do THEY really need to know VO2max, lactate threshold, HR response/recovery or even body comp – when all they’re really interested in is how they LOOK?
If appearance is what’s most important, use progress photos.
If there are particular performance markers that “make or break” success in the client’s mind, measure those.
As trainers, it’s easy for us to get caught up in all the “fun” measurements. Don’t take it personal, but clients don’t really care if WE are having a good time. They’re paying for THEIR results.
I always observe range of motion/flexibility at specific joints such as the hips, spine, shoulders in various positions so to identify any motion limitations before adding resistance to the body. I use Muscle Activation Techniques as my assessment and it helps to pinpoint what muscles (you have 600) specifically need strengthening at individual joints, before incorporating larger multi-joint movements and exercises. I have great success with this method.
Most people don’t notice the subtle drops in weight/inches. But they do notice if breathing becomes easier (during an exercise or just in daily activity) and whether or not their clothes fit better. Progress pictures are great. Many of my clients like to see the numbers change, so if they are open to it we do measurements and body fat %. I don’t like to go by the scale, it’s a fickle instrument, and I don’t have access to the more technical tools.
I do like to have a baseline workout that I will put clients through on their first session, mark down how many reps of each exercise are done in a certain time period and what their physical response is, and then revisit that workout two or three months down the road to help them visualize and understand how far they’ve come.
I measure circumference at 9 sites and repeat the measurements once per month. I take resting HR and perform either the Three-Minute Step Test or Rockport Walk Test to gauge cardiovascular fitness. In some cases, I modify these.
I do postural assessments using overhead squat test and push/pull assessments. Then, I count how many reps of several exercises the client can do in good form.
First i do resting heart rate with the client since i feel that is a good way of baseline a client cardiovasular system. Then i have the client perform it for 3 days and provide me the results to get a baseline.
Second weight, height and tape measurements.
Third flexibility and Mobility and Balance various stretches, and upper and lower body movements, walking, squats, and lunges .
Fourth a mini work out to see the client level in various exercises, e.g. Pushups