module specification

ST5001 - Sports Physiology (2019/20)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2019/20
Module title Sports Physiology
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Human Sciences
Total study hours 300
72 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
228 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 40%   Lab report (2500 words)
Unseen Examination 30%   Unseen exam (1 hr)
Unseen Examination 30%   Unseen exam (1 hr)
Attendance Requirement 0%   Attendance at semesterly Learning Manager Meeting
Running in 2019/20

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
No instances running in the year

Module summary

This module introduces students to the responses of tissues and organs to acute exercise and chronic exercise training. Students are also familiarised with a variety of field and laboratory-based tests of physical performance and physical fitness – both to assess components of fitness and work capacity as well as to screen for risk of sports injuries.

Prior learning requirements


Module aims

In this module students gain an understanding of acute and chronic physiological responses to different types of exercise. Practical experience with a broad range of techniques for measurement of human performance is given, with the aim of developing understanding of the principles of test construction, selection and application. In addition, students develop the ability to record, analyse and report physiological test data in a scientific format as well as to communicate clearly such data to allied professionals such as coaches and trainers.


Fundamental Exercise Physiology
Cardiovascular aspects of exercise: control and regulation of heart and circulation at rest and during exercise.
Respiratory aspects of exercise: effects of exercise on the dynamics of gas exchange and blood gas transport.
Voluntary muscle: overview of muscle structure, growth, development and function
Exercise nutrition and metabolism: acute and chronic metabolic responses to exercise of different types and durations. Dietary components and their influence on sports performance
Endocrine control during exercise: the acute hormonal response to exercise with particular emphasis on the sympatho-adrenal system. Chronic adaptations.
Thermoregulation, fluid balance, and acid-base balance during exercise.

Applied Exercise Physiology
Principles of performance testing, in relation to athletic performance and exercise prescription.
Testing muscular strength and power, speed, agility, and balance.
Principles of injury risk screening; neuromuscular and biomechanical assessment of injury risk. Direct measures of aerobic and anaerobic power/capacity; VO2 max, anaerobic/lactate thresholds, Wingate tests.
Measures of neuromuscular and biomechanical performance: isokinetic testing, force/pressure platforms, balance testing, functional movement screening.
Agility and speed testing, tests of repeated-sprint ability.
Testing batteries: sports-specific, assessment of health-related fitness, gender issues in injury risk screening

Learning and teaching

The basic structure to teaching and learning will comprise theory-driven lectures supported by tutorials and either lab or field-based practical sessions. Lectures will cover acute and chronic physiological responses to exercise and the theoretical basis for test selection. Practicals will offer students opportunities to perform physiological measurements during exercise and to develop the ability to implement a variety of performance tests. Vocational skills and employability will be emphasised when performance evaluation skills are developed and assessed. Virtual exercise physiology lab sessions will be made available to reinforce the practical component of the module as well as underlying theoretical concepts.

Students’ study responsibilities are articulated in the FLS Staff/Student Agreement which is available via the Faculty Web site.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module students will be able to:

  1. Describe the acute and chronic responses to exercise of the major physiological systems, and the interactions between these responses.
  2. Show an understanding of aspects of nutrition and metabolism relevant to sports and exercise.
  3. Collect reliable physiological and performance measurements during exercise, and report the results appropriately.
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of the correct selection, application and limitations of a number of laboratory and field tests performance tests, and an ability to implement selected tests of health-related fitness, athletic ability, and injury risk.
  5. Correctly interpret empirical test data in the context of health profiling or exercise prescription, and effectively communicate findings of performance assessment clearly and precisely either in the form of a scientific or coach-facing report.

Assessment strategy

Assessments are dispersed across the year enabling students to gain formative as well as summative feedback and to enable reflection on performance.
Online quizzes (formative assessment): Assess grasp of fundamental concepts in exercise physiology and performance assessment, and provide early feedback on academic performance.
Lab Report (2500 words): Assesses ability to collect, present and analyse physiological data in a scientific manner and prepares students for subsequent physiological research at level 6. Assesses ability to undertake literature searches and critically engage with current research in order to discuss their findings in an academic report format. (LOs 3,4,5.
Written Exams (2x1 hour): Assess understanding of acute and chronic responses to exercise and underlying principles of performance testing. (LOs 1,2,4)

Learning Manager Meetings: in order to pass this module, students must attend at least two meetings with their Learning Manager (one in Autumn and one in Spring) in order to reflect upon, discuss and plan their approach to learning and organisation of their study.


ACSM (2009). Guidelines for Exercise Testing & Prescription. 8th ed. Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins
Baechle, T.R., & Earle, R.W. (2008). Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. 3rd ed. Human Kinetics.
Cook, G. (2010) Movement. On Target Publications.
George, D., Mallery P. (2010) SPSS for Windows Step by Step: a Simple Guide and Reference.  10th ed.  Allyn & Bacon.
Heyward, V.H. (2006) Advanced Fitness Assessment and Exercise Prescription. 5th ed. Human Kinetics
Kaminsky, L. (Ed.) (2010) ACSM's Health-related Physical Fitness Assessment Manual. 3rd ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Komi, P. (Ed.) (2002) Strength and Power in Sport. 2nd ed. Blackwell Scientific Publications.
McArdle, WD, Katch, FI & Katch, VL (2007) Exercise Physiology. 6th ed. Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.
Maud, P. J. and Foster, C. (2006) Physiological Assessment of Human Fitness. 2nd ed.  Human Kinetics.
Morrow, J.R (2011) Measurement and Evaluation in Human Performance 4th ed. Human Kinetics,
Willmore, JH & Costill, DL (2008) Physiology of Sport and Exercise. 4th ed. Human Kinetics.
Shephard, R.J. and Åstrand, P.-O. (Eds.) (2000) Endurance in Sport. 2nd ed. Blackwell Scientific Publications.