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Professional Services



Comprehensive Gait Analysis:

This is a comprehensive functional and biomechanical evaluation, as well as a rehabilitation and consultation service, for anyone who is looking to improve his/her running performance, or for athletes with lower body (for example, foot, ankle, or knee) musculoskeletal injuries. The analysis is performed on a state-of-the-art treadmill equipped with force sensors and cameras that provide meaningful biomechanical data and real-time biofeedback. Each athlete receives a personalized performance plan, including specific stretching and strengthening exercises, shoe/orthotic recommendations, and corrective exercise techniques. Our expert professionals will work one-on-one with the athlete to help achieve his/her specific running goals.

Sweat Fluid and Electrolyte Losses and Physiological Strain in the Heat Assessment:

This is an individual evaluation of an athlete in a specific environment using a temperature, humidity, and exercise intensity that elicited performance or health problems (for example, premature fatigue, heat exhaustion, or muscle cramps) or to simulate upcoming training or competition conditions. Sweat fluid and electrolyte (sodium, potassium, and chloride) losses will be determined and cardiovascular and thermal strain (heart rate, core body temperature, and physiological strain index) will be evaluated. Individual-specific hydration and dietary strategies are provided, so that each athlete can more optimally prepare for, manage, and recover from sweat fluid and electrolyte losses incurred during training or competition.

Fitness Testing (VO2max):

VO2max (maximal aerobic capacity) is the best measure of an athlete’s cardiorespiratory fitness. Also referred to as aerobic capacity, VO2max reflects the body’s ability to deliver and use oxygen to meet the energy demands of exercise. A high aerobic capacity is especially important in endurance-type activities (for example, distance running, cycling, and swimming); however, it is also important to enhance recovery between brief intermittent bouts of high-intensity activity in other sports (such as soccer, tennis, basketball, and football) during practice and competition. This is a progressive incremental workload exercise test using a treadmill or bicycle, depending on the athlete’s primary sport or preference

Fitness Testing (Lactate Threshold):

Lactate threshold (LT) reflects the exercise intensity at which the production of lactate in the blood increases sharply. LT is a very good predictor of sustained endurance capacity and performance and is also helpful in determining an athlete’s appropriate training intensity zones. A high LT is especially important in endurance-type activities (distance running, cycling, and swimming). Tracking changes in LT can assist an athlete in assessing the effectiveness of his/her training over several months. This is a progressive incremental workload exercise test using a treadmill or bicycle, depending on the athlete’s primary sport or preference.

Sport Nutrition Assessment and Consult:

Sport-specific nutrition interventions can help an athlete maximize power and endurance, as well as overall health and performance. The intervention consists of a 3-day dietary analysis and consult, including an assessment of daily eating patterns, training dietary habits, and nutrition tactics used during training and competition, including preparation and recovery. Through a one-on-one consultation with our sports dietitian, individualized strategies to maximize training and performance are developed. The dietitian also helps the athlete accommodate any specific allergies or chronic health conditions he/she may have. The goal is to help each athlete effectively fuel his/her body for optimal performance and health.

Resting Energy Expenditure (REE) and Body Composition Evaluations:

Determining your REE, or roughly the minimum number of calories your body needs each day to function properly at rest, is extremely important when trying to personalize your nutrition and fitness strategies. Body composition (relative percentage of body fat and lean body mass) and REE are closely linked to one another and provide a foundation for establishing your nutrition and fitness goals. Body fat percentage is estimated from multiple skinfold measurements and REE is determined from measuring oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange while at rest.

Cycling Spin-Scan Analysis:

Cyclists and triathletes can optimize their pedal stroke via a comprehensive computerized analysis on their bikes using the RacerMate® CompuTrainer™. The spin-scan evaluation calculates bi-lateral cycling efficiency of the leg musculature, as well as left vs. right power split and average torque angle. The individualized analysis also includes instantaneous, average, and peak power output, revolutions per minute, and speed.

Heat Tolerance Testing:

This is an evaluation of an athlete’s current tolerance to exercising in the heat. Athletes should consider having this test performed if he/she has had a heat-related illness, especially exertional heat stroke, or a long period of no exposure to the heat. This test can also be used to evaluate an athlete’s thermal and cardiovascular responses while wearing a particular clothing or uniform configuration during physical activity.

Athlete Field Evaluations:

One or more athletes are evaluated during training, practice, or competition for hydration status (pre- and post-session), fluid intake, and sweat fluid and electrolyte (sodium, potassium, and chloride) losses. Individual-specific hydration and dietary strategies are provided for each athlete, so that each athlete can more optimally prepare for, manage, and recover from fluid and electrolyte losses incurred during training and competition. Thermal strain (core body temperature, heart rate, and physiological strain index) can be monitored in selected individuals.

Presentations and Workshops:

The National Institute for Athletic Health & Performance will meet with coaches, support staff (e.g., athletic trainers and administrators), and teams to discuss sport-specific training and competition challenges and nutrition/hydration needs that can help the athletes to optimize training, performance, and recovery. There will be a particular emphasis on the challenges and solutions to training and competing optimally in the heat, while reducing the risk for heat- and fluid/electrolyte-related problems (e.g., muscle cramps, pre-mature fatigue, exhaustion, and hyponatremia).

For more information regarding these services and pricing contact the National Institute for Athletic Health & Performance and Center for Youth Sports & Health at (605) 328-4750.

Posted Date: May 2011

Professional Services

The National Institute for Athletic Health & Performance (NIAHP) focuses on new research to address training, competition and rehabilitation challenges for youth, intercollegiate, professional and recreational athletes.

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