The Klatt test was designed for athletes by Lois Klatt, PhD.
I first learnt the Klatt Test from Charles Poliquin. In application, I quickly learned that the Klatt test is too advanced for most general clients.
In the Klatt test, you hop off a block with one leg on to the floor to assess the stability of the knee, glutes and how the person will handle plyometric loads and landing. My modified version is a simple regression. You remove the block and they simply hop forward with one leg.
Klatt had advised you can use a small elevation, as little as 2 centimetres when performing the test on elderly and clients in need of rehab. I have taken an even more conservative approach, getting clients to perform it with no elevation. I have found this to suffice in the context of personal training and body composition. It’s enough to tell me the status of the clients lower leg without the potential risk of them rolling their ankles or hurting their knee.
People are more unhealthy now than ever before. Some who work with athletic populations may thing my recommendations are excessive, I assure you, in working with general population, you need to be very conservative in assumptions of skill level and stability.
Arms out in front and clasped together. Arms should be inline with the shoulders.
Balance on one leg. The leg raised should be locked out by the knee with the toe pointing up.
If client can’t balance in this position, they fail the test and should be treated as a beginner.
If can’t can stand still, instruct them to hop forward.
Client must land on the leg they hopped forward with. They must stick the landing for it to be a good test.
See video for a clearer demonstration.
WHAT IT TELLS YOU:
There are two main assessments should:
The strength and stability of the vastus medialis
The strength and stability of the glute.
However, many clients will be tremendously weak. So this test may also indicate supplementary muscles and joints:
THINGS TO WATCH FOR:
Most common patterns you see on a Klatt test:
(In brackets are what they relate to)
Client patella is rotated in before jumping (Knee flexion or glutes)
Feet pronated in causing knees to rotate in (Feet)
When a client expresses knee flexion, knee rotates in (knee flexion or glutes)
When client lands, clients knee rotates in (knee flexion or glutes)
Tibia rotates on client standing (Generally weak or proprioception in feet)
Client leans forward (glutes)
IF THIS DO THAT:
The same exercises and movement patterns can solve most knee flexion weakness. Strengthen vastus medialis and glutes in a full range of motion. The key the testing allows is telling you where to begin.
Ideally, you start unilaterally then move to bilaterally. But this doesn’t always work as some clients will be too weak for unilateral movements. I have given the standard progression levels for most clients.
Poliquin step up
Peterson step up
Split squat, front foot elevated
Split squat, flat foot
Split squat, rear foot elevated
Slant board squat with dumbbells
Slant board squat with barbell
Heels elevated, high bar squat
There are many variations you can use to the above. Generally, when starting a client to high bar squat, I begin with a 42X0 tempo. Additionally, if I have a seasoned athlete with knee dysfunction, I will often use a split squat at a 4040 tempo to drum in the motor pattern.
Glutes or VM?
To figure out if it’s the glutes or VM, it’s a simple process. Do glute activation exercises and retest. If breakdown no longer exists, program more glute work. If not, you know you need to program and strengthen knee flexion.
I don’t give abductors, adductors or quadratus lumborum too much focus on these tests as these will be lengthened and strengthen with split squats and deadlifts. Two motor patterns I am always working towards with programming (and you should be working towards).
NOTE: Do not do this test with clients who easily roll their ankles or who suffer frequent ankle injuries.