My name is Bridget and I am a 3rd Year student in the Bachelor of Exercise Science with a specialisation in Sports Science, and this year we have had the opportunity to begin our industry placements. Placements have been in a wide variety of places including Tennis Australia, Southern Cross Care, Foundation Fit SA and the Australian Athletic Centre.
For me, my favorite placement opportunity so far has been my sports-specific placement. During this placement myself and five other students were involved in pre-season testing for a group of Year 10 and 11 rowers. We held testing over two sessions and conducted Lactate Threshold testing along with anthropometric data for body composition. Lactate Threshold is a measure of the amount of lactic acid that builds up during exercise, giving that feeling of heavy legs that causes you to stop exercising. The higher the intensity you can work at without producing lactic acid is an indicator of aerobic fitness, and we measure it to determine aerobic capacity. Anthropometrics is the study of measurements and proportions of the human body, and we take measurements such as height, weight and limb girths or lengths to measure the changes in body composition throughout a training program.
The tests that we conducted required the athletes to row for four-minute stages, and after each of these stages we would take a small blood sample and use a monitor to analyse their lactic acid concentration. These stages got harder and harder until a final, maximal stage was completed. After this, we again took their lactic acid concentration before monitoring them to make sure their heart rate and blood pressure returned to their pre-exercise state. From their results, we then gave recommendations for individual training programs for each athlete about how best to improve their performance for the upcoming season.
I particularly enjoyed this opportunity because it allowed me to draw on my experience playing sport to interact with the athletes and make them feel comfortable in a testing environment, so that they can get their best results. I also enjoyed the chance to practice my clinical skills that I will use once I graduate, as it gives me the confidence to know that I can succeed.
One of the best things about studying Exercise Science for me is the way it integrates the “how” and “why” of human movement and sport. I’ve always been interested in sport, have played netball for over 10 years and I’ve always had a passion for understanding how my body works and the ways in which everything works together to produce the movements that I do. This degree combines aspects such as biomechanics, physiology and psychology to paint a holistic picture of movement patterns within the body. Combining all of these aspects keeps life interesting as I’m always studying something new and adding it to my understanding of the human body.