Human Performance Laboratory

2 January 2017


On Tuesday 29 November, our Upper Sixth Sports Scientists took a trip to the Human Performance Laboratory based at the Porsche Centre in Silverstone.

Throughout the morning they carried out various practical experiments that are covered in their A Level course. This included the VO2 max test, where Philippa Stacey (Upper Sixth, Nugent) and Oliver Pell (Upper Sixth, Bruce) had to run on a treadmill for as long as they could, with the speed increasing every three minutes and with their breath being analysed every second. During this test they also carried out a lactate analysis, where the subject has a small blood sample measured every three minutes, looking at the effect of increasing exercise on their lactic acid levels.

A sweat test was carried out, looking into the composition of the subject’s sweat which allows them to plan their hydration and nutrition prior to and during exercise. The results were very insightful for Jack Foreman (Upper Sixth, Cobham) who finally had a reason for why he always cramps up towards the end of his matches.

The final test was carried out by Thalia Felton (Upper Sixth, Queen’s) who had to run in a heat chamber where the temperature went up to 40 degrees C for 30 minutes. Her core temperature, water consumption, sweat loss and heart rate were all measured to see how she coped with this and what practical implications this would have when she comes to exercising in extreme heat.

All the pupils had a fantastic time and several were inspired to follow this area of exercise physiology in their Further Education studies. We will be running a similar trip for the Fifth and Lower Sixth Forms in the New Year.

Phil Arnold, Head of Sports Science