New lab great addition to ASC HPPE Department

(12-11-2009)

Dr. Tracey Robinson, Adams State College associate professor of human performance and physical education, signals Matt Gersick, graduate assistant, to increase the treadmill to ten miles per hour as test-subject, Cassie Mitchell, gives a thumbs-up. The assistant uses a lance to draw another blood sample from Mitchell's finger as she adjusts her pace to keep up with the machine, located in the new Adams State Human Performance Lab.

A device was placed over Mitchell's head at the beginning of the VO2max test, and as she runs her oxygen intake, CO2 output, and heart-rate is monitored. Every three minutes Gersick, Adams State graduate from 2009, takes a blood sample to track Mitchell's lactate levels. The exercise is a hands-on opportunity for students in Robinson's exercise physiology class.

Mitchell, a HPPE junior and cross-country and track athlete, received extra credit for volunteering for the test. "The new facility is one of the nicest I've ever been to," she said. The students have completed other tests including body composition, and a Wingate bicycle test for anaerobic power. Andy Romero, a senior sports psychology major, said he believes the hands-on opportunities will prove beneficial for his resume. "Next semester I will work in the lab and I am looking forward to the experience."

When Robinson adds an incline program to the treadmill, Mitchell uses a towel to wipe her forehead as she maxes out. With encouragement from her testers and fellow students, she makes it for three additional minutes before they start to slow the machine and decrease the incline. One student stands behind the treadmill, his hand outstretched, providing support if needed. Mitchell ran for approximately 20 minutes.

The lab was upgraded with the remodel of Plachy Hall last year, now there is enough space in the room for 20 students, computers, stationary bikes, treadmills, and spacious countertops and cupboards. The treadmill faces a bank of windows looking out onto campus. Robinson said it is a big improvement over the old lab. "We used to cram the students into a hot, windowless room upstairs."

Robinson has been using the new roomier lab facility to test many Adams State student-athletes this past semester, particularly tracking body composition changes across time due to training. Robinson also hopes to offer VO2max testing, fitness age testing, body composition testing and other athletic testing to Adams State and the greater community in the near future.

For more information on the Human Performance Lab or to schedule a tour contact Dr. Robinson at 719-587-7663.

By Linda Relyea