Friday, 5 December 2014

PhD Studentship in intermuscular coordination

The role of intermuscular coordination in the transfer of strength gains to maximal sports performance.

Location: Sport City Manchester and Sheffield Hallam University
£13,863 per annum stipend plus fees
Closing Date: 19th December 12.00pm.

In collaboration with the English Institute of Sport (EIS), the Centre for Sports Engineering Research (CSER) at Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) invites applications for a PhD exploring the role of intermuscular coordination in the transfer of strength gains to maximal sports performance.

Increases in strength, in general, transfer positively to the performance of maximal sports movements. The magnitude of performance gain can vary dramatically across training modalities and sporting movements.

For example, while the majority of training studies demonstrate performance increases with strength gains, some report that strength gains are not accompanied by increases in performance, and others even report a decrease in sports performance.

It is hypothesised that these counter-intuitive findings can be explained by the notion that intermuscular coordination needs to be adapted to exploit the increase in muscle strength. That is, without appropriate adaptation in intermuscular coordination, the increase in muscle strength will not result in improved performance.

This issue raises a host of interesting motor control and biomechanics questions, as well as providing an opportunity to enhance sports performance by improving the transfer of strength gains to maximal sporting movements.

This PhD project will explore the biomechanical, motor control and morphological changes following a period of strength training. Using a maximal cycling model, the effect of strength changes on intermuscular coordination will be investigated both computationally and experimentally.

Adopting an ecological dynamics theoretical framework, the PhD will also seek to use this understanding to design interventions that improve the transfer of strength to performance, possibly utilising biofeedback.

Applicants should have a 1st or 2:1 honours degree (or equivalent) in sports science, biomechanics, engineering or a related area. An MSc. in a related area would be beneficial, as would experience of providing applied support to athletes.

As well as academically talented, applicants should be self-motivated, autonomous and have excellent problem solving abilities. Suitable candidates from outside the UK/EU can apply but non UK/EU students must fund the difference between the International and UK/EU fee. Applicants for whom English is not their first language are required to have an IELTS overall band 6 with a minimum score of 5.5 in all skill areas.

Please send a one-page covering letter outlining your interest and proposed approach with an accompanying CV (maximum length two A4 pages) to by 12 pm (midnight) 19th December 2014.

For further information please email Dr Jon Wheat or Dr Paul Barratt.

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