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Kinesiology Labs

Exercise & Sport Performance Laboratory

The Exercise & Sport Performance Laboratory (ESPL), located on the lower floor of the Rickel Building in room 035, is a 1,350-square-foot facility devoted to improving sport performance.  Improvements in exercise responses translate to better on-field performance.  As such, a major focus of the research conducted within the ESPL has been on improvements in exercise performance through the manipulation of training variables, i.e., sets, repetitions, intensity, and volume, to alter muscle mechanics, i.e., velocity of shortening. To carry out this research focus, the ESPL houses equipment that is used to train and test strength and power, including a double-sided Power Lift® power rack with utility benches, resistance bands, landmine attachments, technique trays, dip bars, and other attachments; a Power Lift® Glute-Ham Raise; a Biodex® System 3 Pro™ Isokinetic Dynamometer; a Sports Import Vertec jump system; a Monark Ergomedic 894E Peak Bike with Wingate capabilities; a Kinetic Performance GymAware linear position transducer; a Tendo Sports PSA310 Power and Speed Analyzer; and an array of barbells, plates, and bumper plates to suit the needs of any athlete. The newest addition to our lab space is a 10-foot Sorinex rack with 4 built-in linear position transducers and force plate that transmits information to a custom-built encoder for use with our software to measure the kinetics and kinematics of exercise. The lab space allows us to observe both the acute and chronic adaptations to resistance training. The ESPL is capable of collecting performance and physiological data, including biological specimens, i.e., blood and tissue. The ESPL works in collaboration with other laboratories within the Department of Kinesiology, including the Exercise Physiology Lab (EPL), Metabolic Laboratory, and the Motor Behavior Laboratory, as well as the Ben Hogan Sports Medicine Center, which is part of the Texas Health System. These collaborations allow further study into the underlying mechanisms of adaptation. The ESPL can easily house a training study while use of the additional laboratory space makes the collection and storage of specimens easy and safe.

Director: Dr. Jonathan Oliver

Dr. Jonathan Oliver finished his graduate studies at Texas A&M in 2011 and after a one-year post-doc, joined the TCU Kinesiology Department in January of 2013.  His interest is in applied physiology with an emphasis on the effects of resistance training on sport and military performance.  He has conducted studies involving creatine supplementation, the effect of varying intra-set rest intervals on hypertrophic responses, and hormonal changes in response to different resistance exercise protocols.  Current work includes the effect of DHA supplementation on concussion resistance, variations in resistance exercise protocols, and the effect other nutritional supplements on resistance exercise performance and the prevention of muscle damage.


The Physical Activity & Developmental Disability Lab is equipped with a variety of measurement tools for the objective measurement of physical activity and motor development. The lab is also equipped with a DEXA machine allowing for the measurement and assessment of body fat and bone mineral density. The DEXA unit is shared by student and faculty researchers throughout the department.

Generally, the research goal of the laboratory is to better understand health and physical function in individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. A second goal is designing and implementing programs to decrease functional and health disparities in these groups.

Located in Room 256
TCU Rickel Academic Wing
Director: Phil Esposito

Current Project Titles

  • Anthropometric measures as an indicator of cardiovascular health in individuals with intellectual disabilities
  • Test-retest reliability of the Purdue Pegboard in adults with intellectual disabilities
  • Nintendo Wii® balance training for preschool children with Down syndrome
  • The effect of adapted physical education on motor skill development in preschool children with Down syndrome
  • Effect of an 8-week physical activity intervention for adults with intellectual & developmental disabilities

Physical activity and body composition in youth with cerebral palsy

Note: We are not currently admitting students in this area of study. The Sport Psychology Lab is a multipurpose facility centered on the three pillars of the TCU program: research, teaching, and consulting.


The Metabolic Laboratory includes a metabolic kitchen and dining area, computer facilities, several nutrition software programs including Nutrition Data System for Research and Food Processor to analyze nutrient intake and ProNutra software to design metabolic diets of specific nutrient composition, and food models for use in the classroom and in research studies.

The research goals of this laboratory include evaluating the impact of diets of varying macronutrient composition in combination with exercise on cardiovascular risk factors; designing and evaluating interventions that lead to improved weight loss and maintenance; and analyzing the impact of altering the energy density and appearance of a meal and the eating environment on energy intake. The laboratory is also used for conducting class laboratory exercises at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Located in Room 172K
TCU Rickel Academic Wing
Contact: Meena Shah

Exercise Physiology Lab at TCU

The Exercise Physiology Laboratory in the Department of Kinesiology is located in room 259 of the Rickel Academic Wing. The lab is currently shared by three exercise physiology faculty: Dr. Joel Mitchell, Dr. Jonathan Oliver and Dr. Melody Phillips. It contains a variety of basic equipment for the assessment of human physiological function (treadmills, cycle ergometers, metabolic carts, heat chambers, and strength testing devices), as well as a blood chemistry lab equipped to perform basic blood and tissue assays.  We are also in the process of developing a fully-equipped resistance exercise laboratory.

Blood and tissue analysis capabilities include spectrophotometers, fluorometer, osmometer, electrolyte analyzers, centrifuges, an ultra-low freezer, a cell harvester, a laminar flow biological hood, a differential cell counter/hematology analyzer, a microplate reader, an ultrasound device for FMD, cell incubators, a multiplex analysis unit, a DEXA, and numerous small pieces of support instrumentation. In addition, faculty in the lab collaborate with members of the Biology, Psychology, and Nursing Departments to expand our research capabilities through the use of the Core Biology Lab. The latter includes a flow cytometer, an ABI 7500 platform for real time RT-PCR, and other instruments for cellular and molecular-level analysis. With this equipment, we have the ability to conduct a variety of research projects dealing with the investigation of the effects of heat exposure on the stress responses during exercise and ways to mitigate these responses, the effects of exercise as a means of reducing the risk of diseases associated with inactivity, and the relationship between exercise and a variety of immunological responses.

The laboratory is used to conduct class laboratory exercises at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, senior research projects for the undergraduate movement science majors, master’s thesis projects, and faculty research projects. Students at all levels are encouraged to participate in ongoing research in the Exercise Physiology Laboratory, either to satisfy requirements or simply to broaden their research experience.

Located in Room 259
TCU Rickel Academic Wing

Joel B. Mitchell
Jonathan Oliver
Melody Phillips


The Motor Behavior Lab takes a complex systems approach to understand fundamental questions of motor control and learning – (i) how the neuromuscular system coordinates and controls skillful movements in the presence of redundant solutions, (ii)how does the practice environment influence humans’ ability to execute skillful and coordinated movement, and (iii) how does development, aging, injuries, and pathological disorders alter this ability? Our goal is to enhance motor skill performance and learning through the development of novel training paradigms that can be applied to the contexts of athletic enhancement, injury prevention, and movement rehabilitation.

The Motor Behavior Laboratory is equipped with an 8-camera Qualisys Motion Capture System integrated with an AMTI force platform allowing for kinematic and kinetic analysis of postural control and fundamental movement patterns.  Collaborations with the Exercise & Sport Performance Laboratory as well as the Ben Hogan Sports Medicine Center afford access to athletic and rehabilitation populations that aid in addressing our main questions.

Location: Rickel Academic Wing, Room 037

Director: Adam C. King (