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Exercise Instructional Laboratory

Director: Robert Townsend

The Exercise Instructional Laboratory at The University of Memphis is exclusively dedicated as a teaching facility for laboratory-specific courses and activities across department disciplines. Students learn and practice a variety of lab-based skills. The Laboratory lays the foundation of exercise assessment for future fitness and healthcare professionals by keeping up to date with new technologies and changes within the field regarding testing and measurement.

The following are examples of specific measures taught in the laboratory as a component of our curriculum:

Heart Rate and Blood Pressure: Students are educated on palpation, auscultation and electrocardiography as means of identifying heart rate, along with manual blood pressure assessment. Techniques are instructed at rest and during exercise. Heart rate and blood pressure are used not only as health markers but as key components to measure fitness and monitor exercise training. Students also learn the potential values and limitations of utilizing heart rate as a monitored variable during physical activity.

Electrocardiography Assessment: Students learn proper lead placement for an electrocardiogram (ECG), as well as identification of electrical conduction of the heart via atrial depolarization, ventricular depolarization and ventricle repolarization. Identification of the heart’s electrical activity both at rest and during exercise allows students to comprehend the concepts that are applied by health care professionals within the cardiac diagnostic / treatment setting.

Aerobic and Anaerobic Fitness Testing: Students can experience the differences of aerobic and anaerobic fitness testing both as a participant and test administrator. Tests utilizing the treadmill, cycle ergometer and upper body ergometer (for potential use with wheelchair bound individuals) are available to measure estimates of maximal oxygen consumption as well as lactic acid threshold. Indirect Calorimetry can be utilized to determine maximal oxygen consumption and aerobic capacity, as well as fuel utilization during exercise.

Pulmonary Function Testing: Students are educated on the values of lung capacity at rest and the changes that occur during exercise. A pulmonary / metabolic measurement device can be utilized to determine exercise induced increasing in lung volumes.

Strength and Power Testing: Students gain appreciation of the importance of accurate measures of strength / force production and their use in both an athletic and rehabilitative setting. Tools common within the field for isotonic and isometric measures are available. In addition to force production, acceleration and rate of force development measuring techniques are taught, with respect to their relevance to human performance.

Range of Motion / Stability Testing: Students learn proper techniques in assessment of individual joint range of motion through goniometry which take places in a clinical setting. Flexibility tests that are utilized in a field / fitness setting are also capable within the lab. Balance tests are taught, with a particular emphasis on how these could be incorporated into an exercise prescription for individuals with neurological or coordinative abnormalities.

Body Composition and Anthopometrics: Analysis of body weight, height and circumferences with a tape measure allow students to compare Body Mass Index (BMI) and Waist to Hip Ratio results with other more specific measures of body composition. Field tests including the use of high quality calipers for skinfold measurement allows students to gain experience in making reliable measures of body composition. Exposure to laboratory or clinically based assessment of body composition through Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DXA) and Air Displacement Plethysmography are made available to keep student up to date with technological advances in body composition measurement.

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Last Updated: 7/3/13