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A league of our own: our new sports facilities

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By studying one of our sports courses, you’ll have access to our well-equipped facilities in Darwin Building, which is part of The John Dawson Sciences Complex. In recent years Darwin Building underwent a £6.8 million refurbishment.

Let's take a look at some of the outstanding facilities you can use:

Biodex Room

We have two Biodex machines, which we use to assess human movement, range of motion, strength and power. These machines are particularly useful for rehabilitation following injury. We can identify problems in muscle performance, isolate specific muscle groups and control the speed of movement and range of movement so that rehabilitation exercises can be performed within a pain-free range of movement. We can even use the Biodex machine to compare imbalances between injured and non-injured limbs.

A Biodex machine which is used to measure muscle strength

Clinical and Rehabilitation and Exercise Therapy Suite

We even have our mini gym within the Darwin Building and here you’ll find cardiovascular and resistance machines, free weights and exercise balls. We use this room to teach you how to instruct a range of cardiovascular, resistance and flexibility exercises aligned to industry-recognised professional standards for gym instructors and personal trainers. This room will also be used for the delivery of rehabilitation programmes run through our Sport Rehabilitation and Conditioning Clinic.

Free weights in the Clinical and Rehabilitation and Exercise Therapy Suite

Clinical Biomechanics Lab

Here you’ll be able to look at the biomechanics of sports performance and you can even do a 20-meter sprint. You’ll find equipment that measures motion, muscle activity and forces on the body during high-intensity sports and the activities of daily living. We have Vicon®, a 3D motion capture system that allows you to capture, analyse and assess individual sports movements from different joints and angles to inform coaching, injury diagnosis and assessment, rehabilitation and recovery.

You can capture live-action images for match tagging and coaching feedback, using software such as Kinovea® and LongoMatch®. Test your reaction speed with our Batak® reaction walls and use the Novel® Pedar systems to analyse foot pressure.

Vicon cameras in the Clinical Biomechanics Lab

Human Performance and Human Physiology Labs

We have three Human Performance and Human Physiology labs. We use these for cardiorespiratory exercise testing, muscular strength and endurance, balance and flexibility and other health and fitness-related components. You’ll have access to breath-by-breath gas analysis systems, ECG monitoring, treadmill, rowing and cycle ergometers for fitness testing. This means you can conduct experiments to establish maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max), metabolic thresholds (lactate and ventilatory thresholds) and fingertip capillary blood sampling to monitor haemoglobin, haematocrit, blood lactate, glucose and cholesterol markers. We also have equipment to measure body composition and hydration status.

The Human Physiology Lab, which includes a treadmill

Sports Medicine and Anatomy

Our School of Medicine anatomy lab is equipped with skeletons, anatomical models, 3D software, online material and human subjects. There is even an Anatomage Table, which allows you to dissection the human body so you can see the structures within such as the bones, muscles and nerves. This facility is used by BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science and BSc (Hons) Sport and Rehabilitation Therapy students.

Anatomical models in the anatomy lab

Environmental Chamber

If you want to experience what it would be like to exercise in hot or cold environments, then our environmental chamber can do just that. We can even adjust the oxygen levels in the chamber to simulate an ascent to high altitude, we can take you as high as the Everest Base Camp. You can monitor physiological responses to understand how these environments may impact a person's ability to function both physically and mentally, and how well you adapt in these extreme environments.

A student stood next to the control panel for the environmental chamber


Just a few minutes’ walk from Darwin Building you will find CitySpace. Inside, we have a sports hall, fitness suite, strength and conditioning room and climbing wall. If you study BA (Hons) Physical Education and Youth Sport or BSc (Hons) Sports Coaching you'll spend a lot of time here developing your coaching and teaching skills across a range of different sports. This facility is also used for sports team training and offers a range of recreational sporting activities.

Student playing sport in the sports hall

Learn more

To find out more take a virtual tour of the facilities.

Published: 3 June 2021