Skip to main content

Research & Facilities

The Neuromuscular Research Lab (NRL) is housed in the Sorenson Legacy Foundation Center for Clinical Excellence building, which is a 100,000 square foot interdisciplinary human services center that integrates a broad range of clinics and services for the purpose of clinical training for students and enabling collaborative research through engaging faculty across disciplines.

Student trainees working in the NRL will gain experience in the following areas:

  • Human performance/neuromuscular function¬†assessments
  • Adaptive characteristics of neuromuscular-based physiology, function, and training models
  • Research design and implementation
  • Data analysis and statistics

Mission

The mission of the lab is to perform field-advancing research which, 1) improves the current understanding of the physiological mechanisms underlying neuromuscular-based functional impairment, and 2) improves current exercise/physical activity practices targeted at enhancing neuromuscualar performance and general health in both healthy and functionally vulnerable clinical populations. Our model of research utilizes a heavy student-centered focus in achieving the lab mission which effectively couples students with the valuable processes and outcomes of discovery.

The NRL uses cutting edge technology to investigate the impact of training, aging, fatigue, occupational work characteristics, nutrition, and disease on physiological changes. We are particularly interested in understanding the key neuromuscular physiological factors that are most important for determining optimal functional performance and discovering or developing the most effective training models that induce positive neuromuscular adaptations which are capable of translating well to functional performance.

The USU NRL possesses the facilities, techniques, equipment and proficiency required to conduct high level, experimentally-based research studies. Our research lab possesses the following equipment, assessment, and training capabilities:

Neuromuscular and Performance Assessments

Biodex System 3 Dynamometer

research in progress

Provides controlled measurements of muscle-derived torque, velocity and power production as well as range of motion and muscle stiffness for multiple muscle groups.

Eccentron

analyzing data

This machine uses a motor to elicit eccentric directed muscle actions of the lower limbs. It measures multiple-joint eccentric strength across a range of velocities.

Electromyography

equipment visual

Our wireless electromyography system (Delsys Trigno) measures muscle activation patterns within or across muscles during various types of movements and exercises.

Power

jumping up

We can assess power and movement velocity during a variety of movement tasks using our Tendo Power Analyzer (linear transducer) and jump mat.

Muscle-Tendon-Adipose Dimensions

special computer visual

Our portable B-mode ultrasound (GE NextGen LOGIQ) unit provides reliable scientific measurements of muscle and tendon size, quality, and architecture. It can also provide measures of adipose tissue used to determine body composition.

Exercise Training

leg lifts

The Biodex and Eccentron dynamometers are used to examine the effects of training interventions using controlled isokinetic concentric or eccentric conditions. We also have access to and occasionally use cycle ergometers, treadmills, and a full range of free weights and weight machine equipment for training interventions.

Physical Activity Assessment

smart watch

Polar heart rate (H7) and activity monitors (V800) measure short or long-term heart rate and physical activity over the course of hours or weeks. Our Actigraph (wGT3X-BT) activity monitors use a 3-axis accelerometer to record high resolution physical activity and sleep measures over a days and weeks.

Functional Assessments

Our space, equipment, and expertise are used to perform a multitude of clinically relevant and evidence-based functional assessments including: chair stand, stair climbing, balance, and walking and gait performance tests.

Available through collaboration

  • Bod Pod body composition system
  • Velotron cycle ergometer
  • Parvomedics TrueOne 2400 metabolic measurement system
  • Aquatic therapy pool
  • Instrumented treadmill
  • Motion capture
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
  • Several static and dynamic balance and reactive balance devices
  • Vibration platform
  • Weightroom