Thursday, 22 May 2014

Académica de Coimbra welcome UCLan SENS

UCLan SENS' Dr Howard Hurst is currently in Portugal working with one of the country's top football teams.

Dr Hurst has accompanied Master of Research student Matt Beenham to Académica de Coimbra to look at the effectiveness of small-sided training games in football for replicating match intensities.

The duo are conducting a series of tests on the squad who finished eighth in Primeira Liga last season.

To find out more about Dr Hurst please click here.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Research paper scoops top award

Sport Technology Course Leader Dr Jonathan Sinclair has received a prestigious award from the Journal of Human Kinetics.

Dr Sinclair's collaboration with Dr Paul Taylor from UCLan's School of Psychology and Dr Lindsay Bottoms from the University of East London saw them awarded Paper of the Year 2013 from the Journal’s committee.

The paper, entitled 'The Appropriateness of the Helical Axis Technique and Six Available Cardan Sequences for the Representation of 3-D Lead Leg Kinematics During the Fencing Lunge', was the culmination of work carried out in our biomechanics laboratory in Darwin Building.

Dr Sinclair & Dr Bottoms conduct extensive research into Fencing – both biomechanics and physiology - and have strong links to British Fencing, with Dr Bottoms representing GB in the sport.

To access the paper please click here.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Student travels Down Under with Warriors

Mark (centre) with Sean O'Loughlin & Pat Richards
PhD student Mark Quinn travelled to the World Club Challenge in Australia as part of a research collaboration between UCLan SENS, Wigan Warriors and the Rugby Football League (RFL).

The World Club Challenge is an annual rugby league football match played between the champion clubs of the Australasian National Rugby League and the European Super League.

Wigan have won the Challenge three times and after securing the League and Cup double in 2013 they earned the right to play Sydney Roosters in this year’s competition.

We spoke to Mark on his return to the UK to find out more:

"I'm currently Warriors' Head of Sports Science. The purpose of the trip was to travel with the team to assist with preparations leading up to the game and during it.

"I also conducted a piece of research on behalf of UCLan, looking into the physiological demands of the World Club Challenge.

"This is one of the greatest challenges you can face as a rugby league player, not simply because it’s a game between the two best club sides in the world, but through the various demands placed on the athletes.

"They travel through 12 time zones, play rugby under a different climate (from a freezing UK winter to the end of an Australian summer) and are away from family, friends and home comforts for over two weeks.

"The research assessed the effects of some of these demands. Global Positioning System (GPS) data was collected for the World Club Challenge game.

"This is an athlete tracking system that provides us with information on the distance covered, speeds run at, number of accelerations, information on collision and physical contact. We can compare this data against regular Super League, NRL and international rugby league games.

"To look into the effect of training and travel, players completed daily wellbeing questionnaires to assess their body soreness, their quality of sleep and general mood.

"Urine osmolality testing assessed the hydration status of the players which became a particular concern due to the warm weather.

"Importantly the trip helped to build relationships with NRL teams in order to further assess the physical demands of rugby league through seasonal assessments of GPS data.

"Furthermore, there will be a full analysis of the tour itinerary, the recovery methods in travel & training, the diet & supplementation and wellbeing of players to identify the best methods to be optimally prepared for a game of this standard.

"Despite Wigan losing the game this research will hopefully help future teams in the preparation of long distance tours in the future."

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

UCLan SENS research spans the globe

Professor Nicola Lowe's research activities continue to take her across the globe. During the past two weeks Professor Lowe has attended meetings in Bulgaria and the USA, submitting presentations on the progress of her work.

Professor Lowe's first trip saw her travel to Plovdiv, Bulgaria, to meet with fellow chairs of the COST Action Network.

The meeting was a chance for around 40 COST Action leaders from across Europe to meet and discuss developments within their Networks.

Professor Lowe chairs Zinc-Net - a European Commission funded project looking at the role of zinc in human biochemistry and physiology.

Next stop was the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Washington DC, USA, to meet with the BOND panels to report on their respective findings to the project coordinators.

Professor Lowe is one of five international experts on the 'zinc' panel. Other expert panels include Iron, Iodine, Folate, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin A. She presented the recommendations of the Zinc panel regarding current biomarkers for zinc (to measure human zinc status) and areas for future research and development.

For more details about the BOND project please click here.

Monday, 5 May 2014

UCLan SENS carries out cycle study

UCLan SENS is conducting research into the physiological and biomechanical influence of different Mountain Bike wheel sizes.

There is currently a lot of industry debate as to which wheel size 26", 27.5" or 29" is most efficient, therefore the Division is trying to determine this in a controlled simulated race environment. The study is being supported by US-based Santa Cruz Bicycles who have provided three bikes to test on.

Testing is set to take place at the National Cycling Centre MTB trail in Manchester, and will involve Cross Country MTB racers completing a series laps on each of the three wheel sizes whilst being monitored on oxygen uptake, energy expenditure, speed and muscle activity.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Graduate looks to expand his business

Our programmes provide a platform to many varied careers and opportunities.

UCLan SENS graduate Sam Marsh recently received national exposure for his invention which turned a tyre into a high intensity interval training device. The Jigsaw Flipper was subsequently incorporated into Wigan Warriors Academy teams' training sessions. We spoke to Sam to find about more.

Tell us about your time at UCLan and why people should study here?

The University is fantastic - big enough to feel like it's a great institution, but small enough that you seem to know everyone. I had the pleasure of playing Rugby Union during my time there and I'll stay in touch with the team for the rest of my life.

I graduated with a 2:1 in Sport and Exercise Science, and enjoyed a placement at McLaren's Formula 1 team in the health and wellbeing centre during my studies which inspired my dissertation topic. UCLan is like no other University.

I've never heard of lecturers who will happily meet with you outside of lectures and are generally happy to help with any problems you may face - plus their knowledge is incredible.

What did you enjoy?

The family feel of the campus and how there was never a dull moment. Joining the Rugby team was by far the best thing I did - I had the pleasure of being part of the team for three years. My course was fantastic and gave me the knowledge I needed to go off on my own and start my company.

What are you doing now?

I'm currently the Managing Director of Jigsaw Fitness Ltd. We design and build innovative fitness equipment for anyone from athletes to inactive people. We aim to engage through competition and by generating scores during functional training sessions. I started the company during my 2nd year at UCLan in 2012 and have since taken three products to market. We currently have some very exciting clients including the English institute of Sport.

What sort of challenges do you face?

I'm constantly questioned about the size of my company and if it will be able to sustain a large order which it certainly can! The business is relatively new to me, so I'm learning everything as I go along. I have a great support network around me including Neil Simpson from the UCLan Northern Lights team. He's incredibly helpful and always understands when I have a mad idea.

I'm also very lucky to have a father who is an entrepreneur - he is fantastically intelligent and guides me through everything. He also studied at UCLan and now has an international market-leading fuel management company.

What do you like about your role?

I love the freedom it allows me - I get to work from wherever I want. There are obviously drawbacks, but I'm very strong minded and love to be creative and innovative in whatever I do.

Working for someone wouldn't be the right thing, because I'd be a nightmare. Every day I'm building towards my goal and hopefully making a difference. The only person that can stop me is me.

What are your long-term aspirations?

I have many more ideas for other companies, and I'm aiming to launch my second later this year. I'd love to be able to have made a difference, by inspiring inactive people who find exercise boring to give it a go and have some fun with our equipment.

My industry is currently fairly stagnant and innovation seems to come in the form of fitting Social Media to products, rather than allowing the user to enjoy moving and using the product itself.

I’d like to be successful with what I've done, by building some truly remarkable products and experiences for people to enjoy. I have so many ideas of things I want to do across such a wide selection of markets. It's a very exciting time and I'd like to thank UCLan for its input along my journey.