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Exercise Science Facilities and Equipment

The University of Mount Union’s Exercise Science Program is housed in the McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex (MAAC), which is well equipped with modern laboratory equipment. Students will be exposed to state-of-the-art equipment in both classroom and laboratory settings, in addition to when they are conducting research independently or alongside Mount Union faculty. Exercise science majors benefit from the following equipment.

Electrocardiogram (ECG), Heart Rate Monitors and Sphygmomanometers
These essential pieces of equipment allow functions of the cardiovascular system such as heart rate and rhythm to be monitored. For example, in EXS 210: Exercise Physiology Practicum, exercise science majors first assess heart rate and blood pressure during submaximal and maximal aerobic exercise. Manual skill and interpretation are required. Higher-level classes within the exercise science curriculum also make use of these ubiquitous pieces of equipment.

Laboratory Treadmills and Cycle Ergometers
Being able to carefully measure the intensity of aerobic (endurance) and anaerobic (power) exercise require specialized pieces of exercise equipment. These are not simple devices from the gym. Calibrated work/power output (e.g. Watts) is necessary when making classroom, clinical or research measures. Courses such as EXS 320: Exercise Testing and Prescription and EXS 310: Advanced Exercise Physiology make regular use of these devices to explore client status and known physiological phenomena.

Metabolic Carts
A metabolic cart, which assesses oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production, is a backbone piece of equipment used in exercise physiology and nutrition labs. It can provide calorie (kcal) expenditure and even the fuel mix of fats and carbohydrates used during rest or exercise. Starting in EXS 210: Exercise Physiology Practicum and progressing through other courses in the curriculum, exercise science majors use the metabolic carts to address many issues. In research-based courses such as EXS 260: Scholarship in Exercise, EXS 470: Senior Research Thesis and EXS 481: Faculty Research Assistant, the effects of training and nutrition interventions can be studied. Caffeine, coffee and energy drinks are a current theme. The lab also has a second, more portable system.

Ballistic Measurement System (BMS)
Strength and conditioning classes and student-faculty research call for deep analysis of resistance exercise movements. The BMS device can allow the assessment of power, bar velocity and rate of force development, among other variables. Via the BMS, exercise science majors witness phenomena like the stretch reflex, nervous system potentiation, preload and the effects of nutrients on muscular performance.

Electromyography (EMG)
The measurement of electrical activity during muscle contraction can be measured by the lab’s EMG device. Courses like EXS 310: Advanced Exercise Physiology and student research projects use the EMG to observe known biological facts and the impact of training or nutrient interventions such as speed/ power exercise or coffee ingestion prior to lifts.

Clinical Analyzers
Students who conduct research with faculty can explore underlying mechanisms behind what they see in lower-level courses. Simple blood variables can offer insight into cardiovascular risks, tissue recovery, carbohydrate metabolism and many other interests. 

Body Composition Devices
Air Displacement Plethysmography (BodPod®) is the most widely-used device to measure body composition (fat and fat free mass) in individuals and athletes. The ability to accurately measure body composition provides important information for individuals and assists the exercise physiologist in determining if exercise and/or nutrition programming is effective in manipulating body composition. This device uses air displacement to determine body volume and density so that calculations of fat and fat free mass can be made.

Bioelectrical Impedance (BIA) is another technique used to assess body composition and total body water. This device uses electrical current conductance delivered to the body and measures the resistance to that current. The greater the resistance, the higher the body fat and/or total body water and vice versa. Skeletal muscle is primarily composed of water, so the more muscle mass, the more body water and therefore, the less resistance to the electrical current.

The MAAC also features a two-story recreation and fitness center, field house, natatorium, auxiliary gymnasium, wrestling center, indoor track and tennis courts, as well as Clay Exercise Science Center, athletic training facility, classrooms, laboratories, office spaces and an area dedicated to student recruitment.

Schedule a campus visit to learn more in person.