Lab and Equipment

Lab Equipment

The Human Performance Laboratory gives you the opportunity to gain hands-on experience by exploring how the human body responds to physical activity and exercise. Here you’ll gain a deep understanding of the regulation and adaptation of the physiological, biomechanical, and psychological limitations to health and wellness, human performance, and exercise tolerance.

In the Human Performance Laboratory, you’ll have hands-on experience with equipment including:

Maximal Oxygen Consumption (VO2 max) and Lactate Profile Test

You’ll discover how the body’s ability to use oxygen at the cellular level is a key component of endurance-based fitness. VO2 max testing is the most accurate way to set training intensities and track changes in aerobic fitness. You’ll explore and conduct VO2 max tests using research-grade equipment in our Lab. You can conduct this test either on a treadmill, bike, or rowing ergometer. You’ll also explore field-based methods for determining VO2 max.

Additionally, you’ll learn about the Lactate Threshold, which indicates when metabolic byproducts begin to accumulate in the blood. With the Lactate Profile Test, you’ll learn how the body extracts energy from different pathways and produces different by-products. Both the VO2 max and Lactate Profile testing will allow you to understand the switch from working aerobically to working anaerobically.

Body Composition Assessment

Body composition is a critical factor in health and an important factor in many sports. Given the obesity epidemic, it is imperative that you understand the concepts of body composition. You’ll use several methods for assessing body composition, including what many consider the gold standard ― hydrostatic weighing. Other methods of assessment include skinfold, bioelectrical impedance, and circumference/girth measures.

Hydrostatic Weighing Tank

Hydrostatic weighing (hydrodensitometry) is based on Archimedes’ principle, and is considered by many the gold standard for measuring body density and estimating body fat levels. You’ll have the benefit of using hydrodensitometry to calculate body composition and then compare that with other methods, including (but not limited to) skinfold calipers, bioelectrical impedance, and various equation methods. Through all of them, you’ll gain an understanding of the limitations of various body fat calculation methods.

Clinical Muscular Strength Assessment

Muscle function, strength, and endurance are vital aspects of daily activities and exercise performance. You’ll explore muscle function using a clinical-based strength-testing machine called an isokinetic dynamometer. You will use it to explore the force-length and force-velocity relationships in addition to maximal strength and endurance capacities. You’ll also explore other muscular performance aspects using fixed-resistance equipment and Olympic-style free weights, giving you a deep understanding of the neuromuscular system.

Posture and Functional Movement

Posture has a profound impact on human movement and function. In the Lab, you will conduct both postural assessments and conduct functional movement screening to explore the relationship among posture, muscle function, and movement limitations.

Cardio Room

You and other HHP students have a hands-on opportunity to explore the concepts of human performance using  treadmills, ellipticals, steppers, and bikes housed in the Cardiovascular Training Room.

Weight Room

In the Weight Room, you will learn how to safely and effectively teach resistance training techniques and program design. You’ll also learn explosive training programs, including plyometrics and Olympic weightlifting. Unique to the Exercise Science program at SPU, these courses give you the practical, hands-on experience you need for a career as an athletic trainer or coach. Here is where you will become proficient in weight training and technique.

Active Learning Classroom

Unlike traditional classrooms — where a professor stands in front of the students who are seated in rows of desks — the Health and Human Performance Department’s active learning classroom features five “pods” of moveable tables that each seat up to six students. This classroom includes several large whiteboards; a large video screen for the instructor; and one flat video screen near each pod to which you can connect your laptop. In this classroom, you’ll learn in community — taking an even more active role in your education. This classroom can also open up to the Lab so, when necessary, your class can use both spaces simultaneously.


Hydrostatic weighing

Hydrostatic Weighing

As an Exercise Science major, you’ll take a dip in the hydrostatic weighing pool to see the “gold standard” of body-fat testing in action.

Lifetime Activities Program

Lifetime Activities Program

Hiking, skiing, scuba diving, fencing, and much more. Discover lifetime activities through these HHP for-credit courses.