Human Performance Laboratory

Sport science support activities are undertaken in the BASES accredited Human Performance Laboratory (HPL). The HPL incorporates the latest technological advances in the field (e.g. iDXA scanner, isokinetic dynamometry, gas analysers). In addition to its research activities, the HPL provides a full range of testing services to athletes of all abilities, from beginner to elite level, delivered by accredited Sport and Exercise Scientists.

These include:

  • Aerobic Endurance testing

    Blood lactate profiling and VO2max assessment

    Price: €120 - Duration: 2 hours (approximately)

    Aerobic endurance is measured by analysing expired air collected via a face mask and sample line during exercise on a treadmill, cycle or other ergometer. We can work out exactly how much oxygen is being used at sub-maximal and maximal efforts to tell us the movement economy (e.g., running or cycling economy) and maximal aerobic capacity (VO2max). We also take small blood samples at different intensities to measure blood lactate concentration as it builds up during the exercise bout. We can then visually determine your lactate threshold (steady pace) and lactate turnpoint (race pace) occurrences and their corresponding intensities and heart rates. This is important to know to define the different training zones (e.g., steady, heavy, etc.) and better structure your training plan. So, we perform two tests, firstly to show the level at which you can maintain exercise for long periods (lactate profiling), and secondly to measure your maximal aerobic capacity (VO2max, a good indicator of your fitness level). Heart rate is continuously measured during both tests. All participants receive a written explanation of test results, which includes VO2max value and its associated speed or power output, lactate threshold and turnpoint values and their corresponding intensities and heart rates, individualised training zones and training advice. This test also includes measurements of haemoglobin and haematocrit levels at rest.

    VO2max assessment

    Price: €85 - Duration: 1 hour

    A similar VO2max exercise test is performed as described above. However, the blood lactate threshold determination is replaced with a simpler estimation of gas exchange threshold using expired gases only. All participants receive a written explanation of test results, which include individualised training zones. This test also includes measurements of haemoglobin and haematocrit levels at rest.

    Follow-up test
    Accurate follow-up tests are essential to determine the effectiveness of training regimes and monitor improvements over a year or season. They also allow progress to be monitored when recovering from illness or injury and are central to maintaining motivation in such situations. Follow-up visits are scheduled appropriately and, where necessary, may include all of the tests conducted during the initial consultation. Results are updated and training programmes are fine-tuned after each visit.

  • Body Composition testing 

    Bod pod

    BodPod 

    Price: €65 - Duration: 30 min. (approximately)

    A Bod Pod is used to measure body composition. This allows precise measurements of body fat and fat free mass. Height, weight and body composition are measured to allow comparison with sport-specific and/or healthy ranges. All participants receive a report including their test results.

  • Lung function testing

    Price: €40 - Duration: 20 min. (approximately)

    Lung function testing assesses various components of respiratory function. Lung capacity and forced expiratory volume are provided and compared with predicted values. All participants receive a written explanation of test results.

  • Strength & Power testing

    Dynamic strength test 

    Price: €70 - Duration: 1 hour (approximately)

    Strength is a critical component of fitness for many sports, and is central to speed and power production. Our laboratory can measure strength accurately and safely using the latest isokinetic technology (see picture, top right). Peak torque, strength differences between two limbs, dynamic strength at different velocities, hamstring to quadricep muscles ratio and maximal isometric strength.

    Strength and power for lower limbs (knee) can be measured and compared with sport-specific norms. All participants receive a written explanation of test results.

    Wingate test 

    Price: €45 - Duration: 45 min. (approximately)

    Leg power can also be tested over a short space of time, typically between 15 and 30 seconds, to give a measurement of anaerobic power, required in sprinting or other sustained power activities. A state-of-the-art isokinetic cycle ergometer  and dedicated software are used to measure anaerobic power (i.e. peak power, fatigue index).

The sport science support allows performance tracking and highlights the athlete's strengths and weaknesses, facilitating a more tailored approach to training. Many physical factors are involved in human sporting performance, including aerobic endurance, strength and power, body composition and speed. All of these can be measured accurately at the HPL.

A testing programme is designed to fit the individual requirements and schedules of the client. Results are then put into the specific sporting context, and straightforward explanations are provided to the coach and/or individual athlete to help interpret the results.

To make a booking for any of the testing services, please email Domenico.Crognale@ucd.ie or telephone + 353 1 716 3290.