Can a Fitness Assessment Fine-Tune Your Health?

Learn why Summit Top Doctor Erik Ekstrom is doing a Fitness Assessment.

Fitness Assessment

When The Power House founder Max Lipset presented his fall fitness programming at a Summit Orthopedics medical staff meeting, Top Doctor Erik Ekstrom was in the audience. Lipset’s description of one-on-one Fitness Assessment services piqued his interest. After the meeting, Dr. Ekstrom lingered to chat.

“Dr. Ekstrom was interested in learning more about the cross country skiers we’ve worked with,” remembers Lipset. “He personally knew several of the athletes we’ve trained. I learned that in addition to his spine practice, which is repeatedly honored with Top Doctor recognition, Dr. Ekstrom is also a serious competitive cross-country skier. He also just happens to be celebrating a big birthday in 2020. We agreed that this was a great time for him to do a Fitness Assessment. He wanted to make sure that he has all the resources in place to continue to perform at his best, minimize injury risks, and maximize his longevity in a sport that he really enjoys. These are exactly the kinds of goals our assessment is designed to support. Our assessment takes the guesswork out of creating a comprehensive training plan.”

Why a Fitness Assessment can benefit anyone

“We are beginning to understand just how much fitness, exercise, movement, nutrition, and sleep matter to our health,” says Lipset. “We may not be able to control every aspect of medical risks, but there are definitely preventative steps we can take to support better health. When we get our lifestyle choices right, we create some very powerful results.”

“That is exactly what our Fitness Assessment is designed to do” confirms Summit performance specialist Jeffrey Cassellius. “It benefits people who are healthy and looking to become even healthier. This fitness review can support patient recovery following surgery. Finally, it is a wonderful resource for athletes training for a really ambitious goal. And an assessment is a great first step for sedentary people who want to change their quality of life for the better.”

An evolution in the approach to fitness

“In the past, there were two categories of people engaged in fitness,” explains Max Lipset. “One group of people pursued an aesthetic goal. The other group of people pursued an athletic performance goal. Only recently have we seen the rise of a third group who choose to view fitness as a key to health and wellness.”

Lipset notes that many of today’s fitness programs continue to emphasize aesthetics or performance. The challenge for individuals committed to good health is finding a program designed to support their goals. “Our Assessment Services are focused on health and wellness,” he says. “They give people the feedback and information they need to safely and effectively get healthier. Our program also helps high-level athletes who want to improve performance. Examples include skiers we’ve trained to compete in the Birkie in Hayward and professional athletes looking to take their game to the next level. A Fitness Assessment is versatile enough to service elite athletes and individuals simply looking for improved quality of life.”

What you can expect during a Fitness Assessment

The Power House and Summit fitness professionals explain the four stages of the Fitness Assessment. Each stage focuses on safely assessing and improving joint movement.

  • Functional movement screen. The first step is a functional movement screen to assess mobility and stability. “This is an evaluation of 10 basic movements to help us understand your individual movement patterns and your ability to adapt to more complex movements,” explains Summit performance specialist Heidi Corbett. “The functional movement screen tells us about your level of flexibility and stability. Without basic mobility and stability in place, you’re at increased risk of injury. It will also be harder for you to accomplish more complex exercises.”                              “Knee pain is an example of an orthopedic condition that can be exacerbated by poor movement patterns,” notes Lipset. “Although knee pain can result from structural issues like arthritis, cartilage damage, or degenerative tissues, it can also be caused by movement issues occurring above or below the knee. We need flexible ankles and hips in order to maintain healthy, stable knees. The functional movement screen shows us how your ankle and hip movements affect your knees. When there’s a problem, we assign corrective exercises to improve range of motion and stabilize your knee.”
  • Complex movement screen. If your mobility and stability are sound, the second step is evaluation of more complex movement patterns. You may perform movements such as squats, hip hinges, an overhead press, or push-ups that demonstrate your body weight patterns.
  • “In this phase, we evaluate your aerobic capacity,” explains Lipset. “How well do you respond to aerobic effort? We may put you on a bike, treadmill, or elliptical machine to assess your aerobic conditioning.”
  • “In the fourth phase, we look at how you perform complex movements at higher speeds,” says Lipset. “We may have you perform complex movements with an external load like a medicine ball, dumbbells, kettlebells, or a barbell. If you are an athlete training for a specific sport, we look at movements particular to your sport.” He explains that for a soccer player, that might mean change of direction or acceleration and deceleration movements. For a cross-country skier, lateral bounding movements might be assessed.

Who benefits from an assessment?

“These four phases of the assessment are tailored to your abilities and goals,” explains Lipset. “We’re not going to assess an elite cross-country skier the same way that we would assess someone who wants to rehabilitate following hip surgery. In fact, there are several categories of individuals who benefit from a Fitness Assessment.

  • Athletes and teams with goals specific to their sport. “We can do laser times and speed agility quickness testing, as well as evaluating explosiveness and different strength and power levels,” notes Lipset.
  • Surgery patients who want to improve their function beyond what physical therapy allows.
  • People committed to fitness and concerned about not aggravating a past injury.
  • Individuals who are dissatisfied with the results they are getting from their exercise program.
  • People who want to begin an exercise routine and don’t know where to start.

“For any of these individuals, a Fitness Assessment is a great first step,” concludes Lipset. “That’s because it paints a picture of your current condition and prioritizes your training objectives. Our skilled professionals are trained to make these assessments and set you on a safe and effective path to your fitness goals. Just as important, we give you exercise options. If you want to work out under our guidance at the gym, we have three locations to make that convenient. If you prefer to exercise remotely on your own, we’ll create a tailored exercise plan and review all the exercises with you. Then you can work on them independently at home or at your local gym, and simply check in with us for periodic reassessments as needed.”

Setting up an assessment

A Fitness Assessment appointment can be scheduled through The Power House’s website. Matt Lipset recommends their On-Ramp Express, a discounted assessment package of two 60-minute sessions. “This option gives you great value and a full assessment. Two sessions provide you with an opportunity to walk through the recommended exercises with our guidance,” he notes. “It’s a good way to set yourself up for success.”

Summit + The Power House helps you meet your fitness goals

Summit Orthopedics partners with performance experts from The Power House to bring comprehensive, highly tailored fitness services to you. Whether you are a first-timer in the gym or a competitive athlete, our coaches and trainers have all the tools, resources, and expertise to create programs that fit your needs and help you achieve your performance goals. Everyone is welcome; you don’t have to be a patient of Summit to take advantage of these offerings.

Start your journey toward your health and fitness goals today. Schedule a free consultation at the HealthEast Sports Center location online, or call (651) 968-5766. Find the group fitness class that works with your schedule. Visit The Power House Facebook page to learn all about the events we offer to safely promote good health throughout your life.

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  • Max Lipset, C.S.C.S.

    My team and I create customized health and performance solutions for people of all ages and abilities.

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  • Erik J. Ekstrom, M.D.

    “I believe in listening to patients and making them feel comfortable. For me, the most gratifying part of the work is finding the problem and fixing it so patients can return to their usual activities.”

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  • Jeffrey Cassellius

    “High school and college athletics played a very central role in my life; they are what inspired me to pursue a career in the health and wellness field. It is my goal to share my passion with others, to teach others to live healthy and active lifestyles, and to motivate others to pursue health throughout their lifetime.”

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