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
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