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(EXSC198 Physiological Bases of Exercise OR EXSC225 Physiological Bases of Exercise ) OR EXSC222 Functional Anatomy

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 individuals, 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 is based on scientific principles and practices of strength and conditioning. It provides students with a fundamental framework to design, implement and coach resistance training, within a safe and ethical context. Practical experience of resistance training is embedded within this unit. A range of methodologies will be presented and how these can be integrated within an individual's lifestyle to achieve a training goal or outcome. The aim of this unit is to provide students with the knowledge, understanding and skills, integrated with other sub-disciplines in exercise science, to conduct and interpret strength and power assessments, and prescribe and deliver resistance training programs to apparently healthy individuals and groups across the lifespan.

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
LO1Explain the underlying biological mechanisms of adaptation and biomechanical principles to resistance trainingGC1
LO2Explain, demonstrate and coach a variety of exercises commonly used in the strength training environmentGC2, GC3, GC4, GC7
LO3Use strength and power assessments appropriate to the health, fitness and/or performance goals of apparently healthy individualsGC1, GC7
LO4Apply principles of resistance training to design and evaluate periodised resistance training programs that meet the specific goals of apparently healthy individuals across the lifespanGC2, GC7


Topics will include: 

  • Resistance training and resistance training facility introduction: Basic resistance training etiquette, spotting technique, nomenclature, safety and ethical issues.  
  • Key adaptations and benefits of resistance training. 
  • Concepts and principles of resistance training including human torque curves, force-velocity relationship, length-tension curve, current theories of resistance training from the scientific literature, application of biomechanics and exercise physiology knowledge to resistance training. 
  • Methods of resistance training (e.g. free weights, machines, plyometrics, body weight, weighted implements, bands & chains) 
  • Strength and power assessment (e.g. repetition maximum testing)  
  • Proprioception  
  • Needs analysis  
  • Program design (short-term programming for various goals, e.g. strength, power)  
  • Program design (long-term/periodisation) 
  • Concepts of program design and resistance training for apparently healthy individuals across the lifespan (e.g. children; older adults) 
  • Contemporary issues in resistance training  
  • Delivering individual and group training 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Learning and teaching strategies of this unit 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. 

This unit includes active learning, case-based learning, individual and group activities, cooperative learning, web-based learning, and reflective/critical thinking activities, delivered in 12 x 2 hr lectures and 12 x 2 hr practical session. Practical sessions will teach students how to demonstrate and coach a range of fundamental resistance training exercises in addition to developing basic training program design skills. 

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: an open-book examination to assess student learning of unit content; a written report based on case study work to assess application of this learning and its communication; a closed-book examination to assess student understanding and application of unit content; and a practical skills assessment to assess competency in skills required for professional practice (hurdle task).  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Online open-book Examination 

Enables students to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of unit content. 



Written assignment - Resistance 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. 


LO3, LO4

Closed-book Examination 

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


LO1, LO3, LO4

Practical skills competency assessment 

  • Part A – online technique competency quiz 
  • Part B – lab based practical skills competency assessment 

Enables students to demonstrate competency in skills required for professional practice. 



Representative texts and references

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

National Strength and Conditioning Association, Haff, G., & Triplett, T. (2016). Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning (4th ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. 

Bompa, T. (2009). Periodization : Theory and Methodology of Training (5th ed.). Champaign, Illinois: Human Kinetics. 

Cardinale, M., Newton, R., Nosaka, K. (Ed) (2011). Strength and Conditioning-Biological Principles and Practical Applications. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell 

Komi, P.V. (Ed) (2003). Strength & Power in Sport (2nd ed.). London, UK: Blackwell Scientific Publications.  

NSCA (2008). Exercise Technique Manual for Resistance Training (2nd ed.). Champaign, Illinois: Human Kinetics. 

Zatsiorsky, V.M. & Kraemer, W. J. (2006). Science and practice of strength training (2nd ed.). Champaign, Illinois: Human Kinetics. 

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