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EXSC225 Physiological Bases of Exercise OR EXSC198 Physiological Bases of Exercise

Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

The ability to prescribe and deliver safe, appropriate and effective exercise programs with an evidence-based, best practice approach, to meet the specific health, fitness and/or performance goals of clients, is central to exercise science practice. These knowledge and skills are consistent with the professional standards of several accreditation bodies, including those for Exercise Science. This unit introduces students to current methods of exercise prescription and delivery. It explores methods for various populations including the apparently healthy, those of sub-optimal health, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and athletes. Scientific knowledge and skills are applied in the design, implementation and evaluation of exercise prescription, including integration of learnings from other sub-disciplines of exercise science. Students will be exposed to different methods of delivery, including exercise for individuals and groups and in different environments. The aims of this unit are to provide students with an understanding of the principles of exercise screening, prescription and monitoring, to build exercising testing skills and results interpretation developed in EXSC121 and EXSC198 (EXSC225), in order to prescribe and deliver exercise programs from an evidence-based approach. 

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.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Perform health screening and risk stratification assessments relevant to professional practice in exercise scienceGC1, GC6
LO2Select and conduct exercise tests to meet the specific health, fitness and/or sports performance goals of apparently healthy clientsGC1, GC7, GC9
LO3Prescribe exercise for apparently healthy clients/populationsGC1, GC7, GC9
LO4Deliver exercise programs to apparently healthy clients, and to clients of suboptimal health as prescribed by an appropriately qualified health professionalGC1, GC2
LO5Clearly and coherently communicate information relevant to exercise testing and prescriptionGC11, GC12


Topics will include: 

  •  Health screening and fitness evaluation 
  • Physical activity guidelines (e.g., Resistance training; Flexibility training; Endurance training) 
  • Exercise/fitness testing principles, application and interpretation (field and laboratory) 
  • Training principles 
  • Exercise prescription  
  • General principles 
  • Periodization 
  • Apparently healthy individuals 
  • Athletes and team sports 
  • Writing and delivering programs – individual and group exercise 
  • Monitoring exercise, training and performance 
  • Exercise considerations and contraindications for special populations (e.g., Children; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples; Pregnancy; Elderly; Obesity) 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Learning and teaching strategies include active learning, case-based learning, individual and group activities, cooperative learning, project work, web-based learning, and reflective/critical thinking activities, delivered across 12 weeks. These strategies will provide students with access to required knowledge and understanding of unit content, and opportunities for their application and practical skill development in exercise testing contexts, the prescription of exercise programs to apparently healthy clientele, and the delivery of exercise interventions. These strategies will allow students to meet the aim, learning outcomes and graduate attributes of the unit, as well as professional practice standards. Learning and teaching strategies will reflect respect for the individual as an independent learner. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively within group activities.  

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 are used including: tasks that have been purposefully designed to replicate authentic application of knowledge and skills required in practice. Tasks include: a written report based on case study work to assess application of this learning and its communication; a written report based on project work to assess application of this learning and its communication; and a final exam to assess student learning of unit content and a hurdle task to assess student competency of delivering an exercise session to meet client goals. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Exercise testing protocol  

Enables students working collaboratively to demonstrate their application of knowledge and skills through the design of a testing protocol, conducting exercise tests and interpretation of data. This includes demonstration of reporting and communication skills. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO5

Training program for an apparently healthy client (case study) 

Enables students to demonstrate their application of knowledge and skills by interpreting data and prescribing an exercise program to meet client goals. This includes demonstration of reporting and communication skills. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO5

Final written exam 

Enables students to demonstrate their understanding and application of unit content through questioning and case study. 


LO1, LO2, LO3

Delivery of an exercise activity 

Enables students to demonstrate their application of knowledge and skills delivering an exercise session to meet client goals. This includes demonstration of communication skills. Students will be assessed on their ability to deliver an exercise session/activity to a small group of students. 


LO4, LO5

Representative texts and references

American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) (2013). Health-Related Physical Fitness Assessment Manual (4th ed.) Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins 

American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) (2014). Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription (9th ed.). Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams. 

American College of Sports Medicine (2013). Resource Manual for Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription (7th Ed.). Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams 

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

Coombes and Skinner (2014). ESSA student manual for health, exercise and sport assessment. Mosby and ESSA. 

McArdle, W.D., Katch, F.I., & Katch, V.L. (2014). Exercise Physiology: Energy, Nutrition and Human Performance (8th ed.). Baltimore, MD: Lippincott William and Wilkins. 

Nieman, D. ( 2011). Exercise testing and prescription: A health-related approach (7th ed.) New York, McGrawHill. 

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