University of Montana Western Assistant Professor Laura Young recently announced the addition of new cycle ergometers for the university’s Health and Human Performance (HHP) Department.
A cycle ergometer (bike) is a stationary cycling machine used in fitness testing to estimate exercise intensity from the revolutions per minute and the resistance to pedaling.
“The new bikes will allow our HHP students the opportunity to perform clinical and performance testing of cardiovascular fitness and power output,” Young said. “Students will use the bikes in exercise physiology lab activities as well as to gather information for student research projects.”
Young recently conducted a “wingate test” with her exercise physiology class. A “wingate test” is a 30-second all out maximal anaerobic power test that is often used to test athletes’ strength and power, Young explained.
“This test can give insight into the type of muscle fibers a person has, either slow twitch or fast twitch, which is particularly useful knowledge for athletes to have,” Young said. “A high concentration of fast twitch fibers are typically seen in endurance athletes, which don’t necessarily produce large amounts of immediate power but can maintain the power they do have for a long period of time.”
In addition to being used for sports performance, the bikes are used to teach clinical exercise testing and prescription for populations such as those with a physical disability, the elderly, or those with health issues who might not be able to assess their cardiovascular/aerobic fitness level with traditional methods.
Young explained the importance of her HHP students learning to use equipment such as these bikes, which are common in hospitals, physical therapy clinics, cardiac/pulmonary rehabilitation centers, along with learning nationally recognized clinical testing methods.
“We believe this new equipment will enhance the quality of undergraduate research produced by our students, allowing them to gain valuable experience before pursuing graduate studies in the field,” Young said.
In addition, Young explained that the department is working to develop partnerships across campus and in the community to use the new equipment to provide fitness assessments for interested individuals. “This information can be incredibly helpful for individuals pursuing health and fitness goals and provides our students with opportunities to put their skills to work in real-world settings,” Young said.
A first-year assistant professor at Montana Western, Young earned her Ph.D./RDc with an emphasis in exercise physiology and nutrition from the University of Utah.
— Montana Western —