Innovative new program provides targeted focus, real-world training opportunities in human performance
One of Ohio University’s newest academic programs within the College of Health Sciences and Professions (CHSP) has also developed one of more unique exercise physiology curriculums when compared to its national peers.
CHSP’s Human Performance track, part of its Master of Science in Exercise Physiology program within the School of Applied Health Sciences and Wellness, is a new summer-to-summer, 34-hour program that will prepare students for a variety of possible careers, including strength and conditioning for sports and tactical populations, sports analytics, coaching, sport technology, performance equipment sales and more.
The program, which prides itself on bridging the gap between classroom knowledge and meaningful professional application, is especially unique because of its targeted focus on human performance.
“There’s very few that focus so much in human performance. Many other programs are created to be more generalized. “We shape the students’ academic and practical experiences with human performance in mind,” said Anssi Saari, assistant clinical professor and coordinator of the Human Performance program. “With the knowledge of exercise physiology, you learn how to leverage that into new skills and practices that are used to improve physical performance in the real world.”
The Human Performance track specializes in delivering experiences that provide practical knowledge both on the field, via testing of Ohio University athletes and in the weight room; the track will also leverage data from wearable measurement tools and other scientific tests.
“These real-world, hands-on opportunities are immeasurable in terms of value to students,” Saari said. “Actively participating in the field with practitioners and athletes and learning how to interact with them effectively, how to relay information about training load and physiological stress placed on an athlete – all of that plays into the experience.”
Human performance goes beyond athletic ventures as well. The track also benefits from a tactical relationship with Ohio University’s ROTC program.
The Human Performance track is comprised of the fundamentals of what contributes to performance. That may be different for an endurance-based athlete versus an athlete that requires repeated and explosive activities. The track establishes the physical needs for these athletes and performers.
“If we know we have individuals who rely on muscular endurance or aerobic capacity, how do we develop that capacity for that individual? How do we program training sessions in a systematic way so they keep improving in that physical aspect? Those are the types of questions we prepare our students to answer in this track,” said Saari.
The track will also review how external loads, such as running and jumping, contributes to performance on a day-to-day basis and how those activities relate to recovery quality and time.
At the disposal of every student is the Human Performance Center, separate laboratories that provides the practical components of the track.
“We teach the theoretical aspects of training and then go right to the labs and put those advanced concepts into practice. For example, we can use linear position transducers to understand how fast a movement is produced and at a certain load. Then, we can evaluate if the literature matches up in practice. Our state-of-the art biomechanics labs allow us to explore these concepts at the highest levels,” Saari said.
Applications are currently being accepted for the first cohort, which begins May 11, 2020.