Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

Sports scientists and strength and conditioning coaches working with high performance athletes require the ability to prescribe and deliver safe and effective exercise programs with an evidence-based, best practice approach, to meet specific performance goals. This unit develops an in-depth understanding of the theoretical concepts and practical application of capacity assessment and program design as they relate to high performance athletes. Specifically, the aim of this unit is to develop students' knowledge and skills relating to the use of contemporary methods of field and laboratory based testing in a number of areas including aerobic/anaerobic capacity, repeated sprint ability, and strength and power. In addition, this unit will explore innovative practices in training program design across the spectrum of capacities required for performance in various athletic events.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Deliver athlete assessment protocols in field and laboratory settings, displaying appropriate standards of technical conduct (GA5)

LO2 - Analyse and interpret data from appropriately selected athlete assessment protocols (GA5, GA7, GA8)

LO3 - Report the outcomes of athlete assessment protocols and their application, for dissemination in written and/or oral forms to individuals and groups and to specialist and non-specialist audiences (e.g. athlete; coaching staff; medical/rehabilitation staff) (GA5, GA9)

LO4 - Plan and deliver meaningful interventions for athletes, directed at enhancing performance and reducing the likelihood of injury or illness (GA5, GA9)

Graduate attributes

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics will include: 

  • Biological basis of adaptation 
  • Physiological testing for high performance athletes 
  • Strength & Power profiling 
  • Periodisation 
  • Contemporary exercise prescription for high performance 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

ACU Online

This unit uses an active learning approach to support students in the exploration of knowledge essential to the discipline. Students are provided with choice and variety in how they learn. Students are encouraged to contribute to asynchronous weekly discussions. Active learning opportunities provide students with opportunities to practice and apply their learning in situations similar to their future professions. Activities encourage students to bring their own examples to demonstrate understanding and application, and to engage constructively with their peers. Students receive regular and timely feedback on their learning, which includes information on their progress.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to best enable students to achieve unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes, standards-based assessment is utilised, consistent with University assessment requirements. A range of assessment strategies has been purposefully designed for the assessment of learning outcomes reflecting the principles of authentic assessment design and include:

  • Assessment Task 1: individual video-based practical task; requiring students to demonstrate their understanding of a variety of tests, as well as their ability to interpret results of testing and how this influences training prescription; and
  • Assessment Task 2: building on assessment task 1, this task requires the student to design and present a 12-week period of physical training program, including a justification of the training plan, in order to assess depth and breadth of understanding and application of unit content. 

Students must achieve a cumulative grade of at least 50% across all assessments.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment 1 - Video-based practical task - Interpretation of a Testing Battery Assessment

Enables students to demonstrate their ability to conduct a test of physical capacity in a scientifically valid and reliable manner and critically evaluate data from a selection of physical assessments to inform the training program.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9

Assessment 2 - Training Program 

Enables students to demonstrate their ability to use contemporary evidence in the design of a realistic training program. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

Australian Institute of Sport, Tanner, R. and Gore, C. (2013). Physiological tests for elite athletes (2nd ed.). Champaign: Human Kinetics.

Buchheit M, Laursen P.B. High-intensity interval training, solutions to the programming puzzle: Part I: cardiopulmonary emphasis. Sports Med. 2013;43(5):313-338.

Buchheit M, Laursen P.B. High-intensity interval training, solutions to the programming puzzle. Part II: anaerobic energy, neuromuscular load and practical applications. Sports Med. 2013;43(10):927-954.

Cardinale, M., Newton, R., & Nosaka, K. (2011). Strength and conditioning biological principles and practical applications. Wiley.

García-Pinillos F., Soto-Hermoso V.M., and Latorre-Román P.A.. How does high-intensity intermittent training affect recreational endurance runners? Acute and chronic adaptations: A systematic review. J Sport Health Sci. 2017;6(1):54-67.

Haff, G., Triplett, N. T., and National Strength & Conditioning Association issuing body. (2016). Essentials of strength training and conditioning (Fourth edition.). Human Kinetics.

Joyce, D., Lewindon, D., Prisland, A., and Kay, J. (2014). High-performance training for sports. Human Kinetics.

Lopez P., Radaelli R., Taaffe D.R., et al. Resistance Training Load Effects on Muscle Hypertrophy and Strength Gain: Systematic Review and Network Meta-analysis. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2021;53(6):1206-1216.

Refalo M.C., Hamilton D.L., Paval D.R., Gallagher I.J., Feros S.A., and Fyfe J.J. Influence of resistance training load on measures of skeletal muscle hypertrophy and improvements in maximal strength and neuromuscular task performance: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of sports sciences. 2021:1-23.

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