Archive for August, 2014

Physiological Profiling and Testing

August 18th, 2014 No comments

So what do you do when you think you have hit the limit of your training potential? Struggling to get over or hitting a wall at certain distances? Looking to improve particular aspects of your aerobic training? Physiologic profiling is what. Sounds a bit hi-tech doesn’t it? That’s because it really is. But through the mainstream adaption of machinery, combined with an increased desire for endurance and performance as well as athletes' desire for  a better understanding of their body’s reaction to exercise, physiological profiling has grown in popularity and usage.

What is a physiology profile?

Physiological profiling is essential to the enthusiastic athlete wanting to optimise training and monitor progress. No matter what your sport, physiologists can use cutting-edge equipment to identify important physiological variables in order to identify performance capabilities and individualised training zones.

profilingIn a BASES accredited laboratory a physiologist can identify your exercise economy and lactate threshold by assessing your physiological response to a range of submaximal exercise intensities (running, cycling or rowing). Gathering this information allows them to mark and set specific training zones in order to stimulate the adaptations most necessary to excel in a sport. Using Polar TEAM system® heart rate analysis, real-time and recorded readings allow them to prescribe individualised heart rate ranges for each prescribed training zone.

Following submaximal examination, an online expired air analysis system is used during a maximal exercise step test to allow the measurement of maximal aerobic capacity (VO2MAX).

Depending on the requirements of the athlete, they can then tailor a package to suit individuals' needs and measures. Options include:

  • Baseline blood tests and profiling (hematocrit & haemoglobin, iron & ferritin levels, etc.)
  • Specific measures of body composition using various methods (Bod Pod, skinfold measurements, bio-electrical impedance analysis)
  • Maximal power, strength tests and anaerobic capacity

What do you get from a physiology profile?

Using this type of tailored athlete reports, you and your coach can build a longitudinal physiological data profile in order to monitor progress and identify seasonal trends in physiological condition.

For some sports, particularly marathon running, verbal and report feedback will often include predicting pacing strategies and/or ‘safe paces’ in order to help maximise performance on race day.

The training data allows you to rest assured that every training session is pitched at the correct intensity and all training is optimised.

In other words the generation of a physiological profile will allow you to squeeze out every last drop of performance.

Are physiological profiles for me?

Only you and your body know if you would like to take your performance to the next level. If you are having trouble physiologically or you would like to know how your body reacts to physical pressure then they are certainly something you should think about. The cost of these tests are also coming down too, so they aren’t just the domain of professional athletes.


This article on physiological profiling was put together by Michael Nicol. Michael is the director of the St Mary’s Clinic Twickenham. The St Mary’s Clinic has a state-of-the-art BASES accredited physiological testing centre.

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