On Tuesday 4th June, 15 students from Harrow Way went on a GCSE P.E trip to Bath University.Â Some students had the opportunity to try out specialist fitness testing equipment used on some of the top athletes in the country.
When we arrived at the University we met a sport physiologist called Jonathan who works there. Charlie Donnelly nominated himself to have a go at the maximum VO2 test. The test would normally cost Â£111 for a member of the public to do to cover costs for the specialist equipment. Before Charlie could do the test, the physiologists at the university had to establish any health issues Charlie may have which could prevent him from doing the test. They then placed a heart monitor on Charlieâ€™s chest to measure his heart rate which would be transmitted to a watch which we could all see. They took blood samples of Charlie before the test and during to measure the content of lactate in his blood. An oxygen mask was attached to his face to measure his maximum VO2 levels during the test. Charlie did really well in the test; he was running for a full 24 minutes with the treadmill progressing in speed at regular 4 minute intervals. Charlie managed a maximum VO2 level of 48, a really good effort considering professional footballers usually achieve 55-60 and the likes of Mo Farah would usually achieve around 80 at peak fitness.
All of the students had a go at the bench press, used to test your strength. After doing the VO2 test, Charlie did the test and achieved the best result out of all the students with a peak of 71kg and an average of 65kg. There was time for one more fitness test which Ollie Patching participated in. It was a test to measure power on a bike. Ollie had 30 seconds to pedal as fast as he could. This is an anaerobic test compared to the VO2 test which was aerobic. Ollie reached a peak power of 588W and took 5.48 seconds to reach this peak. Jonathan told us that Olympic gold medallist and world sprint champion Sir Chris Hoy would achieve a peak power of around 2,500W!
After testing the equipment the students were taken on a tour of Bathâ€™s excellent sports facilities. The content of the facilities at the university consisted of a 50 metre (Olympic length) swimming pool and one of the only 100 metre indoor tracks in the country. There were many indoor and outdoor tennis courts and an athletics track with a football pitch in the middle. There are many other facilities outside including AstroTurf pitches and a practise Bobsleigh start. Indoor facilities included a modern pentathlon area, a large gym, various different sports halls for different sports and a specialist judo hall.
During the lunch break, some students noticed the current commonwealth and world champion in the 400m hurdles, Dai Greene in the CafÃ©. They took this opportunity to talk to him and get his autograph. He is just one of the many professional athletes who use Bathâ€™s sports facilities. After lunch, Jonathan gave a lecture to the students about his role as a sports biologist and about the theory side of sport. Everyone enjoyed the trip to Bath and the chance to witness such great sports testing equipment and facilities.
By Robbie Taylor and Emma Jones