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Sport and Exercise

This emerging research area covers a variety of sub-disciplines (biomechanics, performance analysis, physiology, nutrition, psychology) within the sport and exercise sciences subject area. The research has two primary areas of focus: the optimisation of performance and the prevention and rehabilitation of sports injuries. To enhance performance we focus on determining the optimal variations and types of exercise to enhance athletic performance and identifying the key performance characteristics of a variety of sports and how to improve these key characteristics. To minimise injury risk we focus on identifying the aetiology of common musculoskeletal injuries, screening for injury risk factors and validating interventions to reduce such risk factors, along with identifying appropriate methods of rehabilitation post-injury and methods of screening to determine the effects of the rehabilitation programme on athletic performance and subsequent injury risk.

Assessment of injury risk, assessment and management of injuries is led Dr Lee Herrington, with input from a range of other members of the team. This area of research has links with the Knee, Ankle and Foot research group led by Professor Richard Jones and Professor Chris Nester. The research focuses on the use of laboratory and field-based methods of assessment of injury risk (primarily knee, hamstring and tendon injuries), exercise-based interventions to reduce the risk of injury and the appropriate management and rehabilitation of injuries once they occur.

Determinants of change of direction performance is led by Dr Paul Jones with input from a range of other members of the team and overlaps with the ‘assessment of injury risk’ theme as many of the aforementioned injuries investigated occur during deceleration and change of direction tasks. The research focuses on identifying the primary kinetic and kinematic determinants of change of direction performance and the associated risk of injury, while identifying specific components that can be trained to enhance change of direction performance and reduce injury risk.

Lower limb muscle-tendon function during athletic tasks is led by Dr John McMahon with input from a range of other members of the team. The research focuses on quantifying lower limb muscle-tendon loading and interactions during various athletic tasks and the effects of task intensity on the lower limb muscle-tendon function. This research theme also explores associations between muscle architecture and athletic performance, in addition to the effect of training interventions on muscle architectural properties. The findings of this research has implications for training strategies used to enhance performance in specific athletic tasks and reduce injury risk.

Biomechanical assessment of strength, power and rehabilitation exercises is led by Dr Paul Comfort with input from a range of other members of the team. The research focuses on the comparison of commonly performed exercises to determine the ideal use of each exercise and their derivative exercise, including the effect of loading during such tasks (e.g. our research into the clean and its derivatives). In addition the research theme also investigates muscle activity and limb and joint loading during common ‘rehabilitation’ exercises to identify appropriate progressions and regressions for the rehabilitation of different injuries and therefore links with the ‘management of injuries’ theme led by Dr Lee Herrington.

National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) Doctoral Research Grant – Lower limb component stiffness: Effects of chronic and short-term training

Manchester City Football Club – Assessment of change in hamstring strength and muscle architecture across a season

Ellena Turner – Physical and match performance of female soccer

Adam Grainger – Restoration of performance in rugby union

Chris Thomas – The effects of muscle asymmetry on injury risk and performance during change of direction tasks

Mark Jarvis – Quantification of plyometric intensity

Oliver Logan – Biomechanics and motor learning of dynamic lifts

Ahmed Aldukhail – An investigation into the relationship between strength, flexibility and anthropometrical discrepancies on lower limb asymmetry in athletes

1. Jones, P.A. Herrington, L.C. and Graham-Smith, P. (2016). Biomechanical determinants of knee joint loads during pivoting in female soccer players. Clinical Biomechanics. 31: 107-122. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2015.09.012

2. Jones, P.A. Herrington, L.C. and Graham-Smith, P. (2015). Technique determinants of knee joint loads during cutting in female soccer players. Human Movement Science. 42; 203-211.

3. Jones, P.A. Herrington, L.C. Munro, A.G. and Graham-Smith, P. (2014). Is there a relationship between landing and changing direction in terms of ‘dynamic valgus’? American Journal of Sports Medicine. 42 (9) 2095-2102.

4. Comfort, P. Jones, P.A. Smith, L.C. and Herrington, L. (2015). Joint Kinetics and Kinematics During Common Lower Limb Rehabilitation Exercises. Journal of Athletic Training. 50(10): 1011-1018.

5. Herrington, L. Munro, A. Comfort, P. (2015) A preliminary study into the effect of jumping–landing training and strength training on frontal plane projection angle. Manual Therapy  20 (5): 680-685.

6. Lloyd, R. Faigenbaum, A. Stone, M., Oliver, J. Jeffreys, I. Moody, J. Brewer, C. Pierce, K. McCambridge, T. Howard, R. Herrington, L. Hainline, B. Micheli, L. Jaques, R. Kraemer, W. McBride, M. Best, T. Chu, D. Alvar, B. Myer, G. (2013) Position statement on youth resistance training: the 2014 international consensus. British Journal of Sports Medicine 

7. Evans, A.L. Slater, M.J. Turner, M.J. & Barker, J.B. (2013). Using Personal-Disclosure Mutual-Sharing to enhance group functioning in a professional soccer academy. The Sport Psychologist, 27(3), 233-243.

8. McMahon, J.J. Jones, P.A. & Comfort, P. (2016) A correction equation for jump height measured using the just jump system. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance. Published Ahead-of-Print.

9. Pearson, S.J. & McMahon, J. (2012). Lower limb mechanical properties: determining factors and implications for performance. Sports Medicine. 42:(11), pp. 929-940.

10. Styles, W.J. Matthews, M.J. & Comfort, P. (2015). Effects of strength training on squat and sprint performance in soccer players. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. E-pub ahead of print.

11. Suchomel, T.J. Comfort, P. & Stone, M.H. (2015). Weightlifting pulling derivative: Rationale for implementation and application. Sports Medicine. 45 (6): 823-839. 

12. Comfort, P. Jones, P.A. McMahon, J.J. & Newton, R.U. (2015). Effect of knee and trunk angle on kinetic variables during the isometric mid-thigh pull: test-retest reliability. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance. 10 (1): 58-63. 

13. Comfort, P., Haigh, A. & Matthews, M.J. (2012). Are changes in maximal squat strength during pre-season training reflected in changes in sprint performance in rugby league players? Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 26 (3): 772-776. 

14. Sindall, P. Lenton, J.P. Tolfrey, K. Cooper, R.A. Oyster, M. and Goosey-Tolfrey, V.L. (2013). Wheelchair Tennis Match-Play Demands: Effect of Player Rank and Result. Int J Sports Physiol Perform, 8(1), 28-3

15. Sindall, P. Lenton, J.P. Whytock, K. Tolfrey, K. Oyster, M.L. Cooper, R.A. and Goosey-Tolfrey, V.L. (2013). Criterion Validity and Accuracy of Global Positioning Satellite and Data Logging Devices for Wheelchair Tennis Court Movement. J Spinal Cord Med, 36(4), 383-93.

We welcome self-funded PhD students aligned to any of the individual research staff themes of research.

The team

Dr Paul Comfort

Strength & Conditioning, Biomechanics, Sports Science

Dr Stephen Atkins

Sport and exercise sciences

Dr Andrew Evans

Sport Psychology

Dr Lee Herrington

Physiotherapy, Sports Rehabilitation

Dr Paul Jones

Biomechanics, Sports Science

Mr Martyn Matthews

Sports Science

Dr John McMahon

Biomechanics, Sports Science

Dr Allan Munro

Sports Rehabilitation

Dr Stephen Pearson

Sport and Exercise Physiology

Mr Paul Sindall

Exercise Physiology

Ms Laura Smith

Biomechanics, Sports Science