Using science to understand the performance of elite athletes like Mo Farah



Sport Science

By way of celebrating this year’s Sports Personality of the Year Awards and the fact that the Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences is 20 years old, we thought it was a great opportunity to shout about all things Sport and Exercise Sciences at Liverpool John Moores University.

Helping elite athletes achieve their goals

This year it was Liverpool's turn to host the biggest awards night in the sporting calendar, BBC Sports Personality of the Year. Professor Dave Richardson, Director of the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at LJMU, had this message for winner, Mo Farah: “Congratulations to Mo Farah. Ensuring the best possible performance from elite athletes, whether you’re a psychologist, nutritionist, or strength and conditioning expert, is exactly what we do at LJMU. We were delighted to work with the BBC to compare the high level performance and training regimes required to be a champion.”

How would you measure up?

BBC Sport worked with the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences to find out how members of the public measured up against Mo Farah’s speed on the track and the workout regime of Anthony Joshua. See how they did:

Sport and exercise sciences

11 things you might not know about the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences

  1. It is ranked as the top institution in the UK for Research Quality in Sport and Exercise Sciences according to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) in 2014* (the system that assesses the quality of research in UK higher education institutions)

  2. It was the first institution in the world to host a single honours degree programme in sport science back in 1975

  3. The School houses its own Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences (RISES) which is celebrating its 20 year anniversary. Founded by the late Professor Tom Reilly, it has been at the international forefront of sport and exercise science research

  4. Among the inspirational and high profile academics working in the School is Professor Greg Whyte who trains, motivates and coaches celebrities such as David Walliams, John Bishop, Jo Brand, Davina McCall and Eddie Izzard to complete some of the toughest challenges for Sport and Comic Relief. Greg has also been named among the Top 10 Communicator Scientists in the UK by the Science Council and he received an OBE in 2014

  5. The School has been named the ninth best department in the world and the sixth best in Europe in the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) 2017 for the sports sciences subject area

    Sport Science
  6. As a way of celebrating 20 years of RISES, the Institute published stories from PhD students from each year since its inception

  7. The School collaborates with key partners on award-winning public engagement projects including CBBC, Commonwealth Games, Universities UK, Girls Schools Association, through its Face2Face with Sport Science programme

  8. 99% of recent graduates from the School were in jobs or further study six months after graduating

  9. The Physical Activity Exchange is leading a pioneering health revolution to tackle sedentary behaviour, combat obesity and prevent chronic disease linked to low rates of physical activity

  10. Applied and world of work skills are embedded into all programmes at both an undergraduate and postgraduate level; students are given relevant placement opportunities in order to gain real-world experience that is highly regarded by employers

  11. The Football Exchange works with the Premier League and football governing bodies including Manchester United, Liverpool Football Club, The FA and Read Madrid, to deliver high quality research-informed solutions to real-world problems in football

* Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014. Research Quality Index data provided by Research Professional and available via Research Fortnight.
** LJMU Graduate Destinations Report 2016


Do you have an interest in sport, exercise and physical activity? Why not study in the best place in the country for sport and exercise science? Find a course that suits your interests and goals.



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