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Human Performance Laboratory

Human Performance Laboratory 

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

The Human Performance Laboratory has provided sport science support services for Leinster Rugby (First Team and Academy), Irish Hockey, Rowing Ireland, Dublin GAA, Mixed Martial Arts (UFC-Ultimate Fighting Championship), Ironman competitors and numerous national/club level athletes.

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 enquiries or a booking for any of the above testing services, please email (opens in a new window)Domenico.Crognale@ucd.ie or telephone + 353 1 716 3290.

Note: Currently, iDXA services are not available to the general public.

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 turn-point (race pace) occurrences and their corresponding intensities and heart rates. This important information helps athletes to judge their training “zones” and thus maximise training responses and better structure training plans to avoid over training and burnout.  The standard procedure involves two tests, firstly to show the level at which exercise can be maintained for long periods (lactate profiling), and secondly to measure maximal aerobic capacity (VO2max), the primary indicator of aerobic fitness. Heart rate is also 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 turn-point values and their corresponding intensities and heart rates, individualised training zones and training advice.

VO2max assessment

Price: €85 - Duration: 45 minutes (approximately)

A VO2max exercise test is performed as described above. However, the blood lactate threshold determination is replaced with a simpler (scientifically validated) estimation of gas exchange threshold using expired gases only. All participants receive a written explanation of test results, which include individualised training zones.

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 can be important for 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.

Bod pod

Price: €65 - Duration: 20 min. (approximately)

Body composition refers to the relative proportions of adipose (fat) tissue and muscle tissue contained within the human body. Using our ”Bod Pod“ system enables precise measurements of body composition, so essential for many sports where relative proportions of fat and lean tissue are essential to success. Height, weight and body composition can also be measured to allow comparison with sport-specific and/or healthy ranges. All participants receive a report including their test results.

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.

Dynamic strength test 

Price: €70 - Duration: 35 minutes (approximately)

Strength and power are critical components of fitness for virtually all sports. Our laboratory can measure strength accurately and safely using the latest isokinetic technology (see picture above). Peak torque, strength differences between limbs, dynamic strength at different velocities, hamstring to quadricep muscles ratio, maximal isometric strength and fatigue ratios can all be assessed.

Strength and power for lower limbs (knee) can also 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, critical for sprinting or other explosive 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).