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Fully Funded PhD Studentship - Assessing the validity of training dose and response measures during individual training sessions and training periods

   The School of Sport

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  Dr D Weaving  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

This is a unique opportunity for an enthusiastic and high achieving individual with a passion for exercise physiology and data to be embedded within a wearable technology company whilst developing and conducting innovative research across a vibrant University community.

‘Assessing the validity of training dose and response measures during individual training sessions and training periods’

Across a training programme, individuals can complete different exercise modes such as continuous-, high-intensity-interval-, sprint-interval-, team-sport-specific- and resistance-based-training. Within and between these modes, different activities at varying intensities (e.g., speed, power output, force), durations and frequencies are completed – referred to as the external volume of training. This results in varied physiological (e.g., oxygen consumption, heart rate) and neuromuscular intensities and durations – collectively referred to as the internal volume of training. The magnitude of internal response is moderated by a variety of individual characteristics (e.g., physiological capacity at commencement of exercise) and the external intensity and volume completed. Over acute (i.e., 1 to 7 days) and chronic (e.g., > 1 week) periods, positive (e.g., adaptation – VO2MAX) and negative (e.g., fatigue – reduced neuromuscular function) training effects occur as a result of the internal volume accumulated and its distribution over time (Jeffries et al., 2021). Considering this, the valid, reliable and practically feasible monitoring of training prescription and training responses across these exercise modes is considered a major challenge within applied sport science.

Although laboratory based measures provide valid and precise measurements of the intensity and volume of exercise they are often inaccessible to regularly measure an individual’s training programme. Consequently, it has become commonplace to quantify the external and internal intensity and volume of training using objective (e.g., wearable technology) and subjective (e.g., perceptual ratings) measurements that can be implemented in the ‘real world’ environment. Such measurements for running and cycling based modes include heart rate based training impulse (TRIMP) (e.g., individualised training impulse; Manzi et al., 2009) and breathing frequency (Nicolo et al., 2017). Equally, during resistance training monitoring, the type of exercise, load lifted, number of repetitions and repetition velocity can be monitored (Scott et al., 2016; Weakley et al., 2019). Alongside laboratory measurements of response, there has been growing interest in the use of wearable technology derived measures such as heart rate variability (Manzi et al., 2009) and standardised runs (Leduc et al., 2020; Altmann et al., 2022) to provide practically feasible measurements of acute and chronic training responses.

Understanding the validity of such measurements across individual training modalities is important to improve the precision of training prescription but has yet to be fully explored. Given the lack of a gold standard criterion measure of external and internal volume that is applicable to all training modalities, the validity of such measurements have been investigated by establishing their relationship to acute and chronic training effects – considered the ‘dose-response’ relationship (Manzi et al., 2009; Manzi et al., 2013). In such designs, training intensity and volume is related to pre- and post-changes in measurements of response (e.g., change in neuromuscular function) following single or multiple training sessions. However, it is likely that different measurements are needed to represent different training modes (e.g., interval training vs. resistance training) and the individual and combined contribution of external and internal volume measures to estimate training responses across individual modes has yet to be fully investigated (Weaving et al., 2014).

The overall aim of the project is to evaluate the ‘dose-response’ validity of objective and subjective measures of training intensity and volume with acute and chronic neuromuscular and physiological responses for individual training modes (e.g., high-intensity interval training, resistance training) and across a period of training. A secondary aim is to investigate the moderating effect of an individual’s current physiological and strength capacity to these relationships.

Applicants are encouraged to discuss their proposals with the project lead Dr Dan Weaving ([Email Address Removed])

Further information and information on how to apply can be found here

Funding Notes

Funding will consist of UK full tuition fees for three years and the award of a living stipend at UK Research Council rates (£15,609 per annum pro-rata into 12 monthly payments). Funding will be subject to satisfactory progress.
A laptop will be provided and the opportunity to apply for funding to support the research project.
If you are applying from outside the UK it is important that you are aware of the entry and additional fee requirements by contacting [Email Address Removed] for further information.


Altmann, S., Ruf, L., Neumann, R., Hartel, S., Woll, A. & Buchheit, M. (2022). Assessing the usefulness of submaximal exercise heart rates for monitoring cardiorespiratory fitness changes in elite youth soccer players. Science and Medicine in Football, 4, pp. 1-6. doi: 10.1080/24733938.2022.2060520.
Jeffries, A.C., Marcora, S.M., Coutts, A.J., Wallace, L., McCall, A. & Impellizzeri, F.M. (2022). Development of a revised conceptual framework of physical training for use in research and practice. Sports Medicine, 52(4), pp. 709-724. doi: 10.1007/s40279-021-01551-5.
Leduc, C., Tee, J., Lacome, M., Weakley, J., Cheradame, J., Ramirez, C. & Jones, B. (2020). Convergent validity, reliability, and sensitivity of a running test to monitor neuromuscular fatigue. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 15(8), pp. 1067-1073. doi: 10.1123/ijspp.2019-0319.
Manzi, V., Castagna, C., Padua, E., Lombardo, M., D’Ottavio, S., Masssaro, M., Volterrani, M. & Iellamo, F. (2009). Dose-response relationship of automatic nervous system responses to individualsied training impulse in marathon runners. American Journal of Physiology. Heart and Circulatory Physiology, 296(6), pp. H1733-1740. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00054.2009.
Manzi, V., Bovenzi, A., Impellizzeri, F., Carminati, I. & Castagna, C. (2013). Individual training-load and aerobic fitness variables in premiership soccer players during the precompetitive season. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 27(3), pp. 631-636. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31825dbd81.
Nicolo, A., Massaroni, C. & Passfield, L. (2017). Respiratory frequency during exercise: the neglected physiological measure. Frontiers in Physiology, 11 (8), pp. 992. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2017.00922.
Scott, B.R., Duthie, G.M., Thornton, H.R. & Dascombe, B.J. (2016). Training monitoring for resistance exercise: theory and applications. Sports Medicine, 46(5), pp. 687-698. doi: 10.1007/s40279-015-0454-0.
Weakley, J., McLaren, S., Ramirez-Lopez, C., Garcia-Ramos, A., Dalton-Barron, N., Banyard, H., Mann, B., Weaving, D. & Jones, B. (2019). Application of velocity loss thresholds during free-weight resistance training: responses and reproducibility of perceptual, metabolic, and neuromuscular outcomes. Journal of Sport Sciences, 22, pp. 1-9. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2019.1706831.
Weaving, D., Marshall, P., Earle, K., Nevill, A. & Abt, G. (2014). Combining internal- and external-training-load measures in professional rugby league. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 9(6), pp. 905-912. doi: 10.1123/ijspp.2013-0444.

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