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2021/22 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

SPSC2230 Muscle Function and Adaptation

10 creditsClass Size: 140

Module manager: Scott Bowen

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

Pre-requisite qualifications


Module replaces

SPSC2321: Exercise Physiology: Pushing the Physiological Limitations to Performance, 20c, S1&2

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module covers the driver of all movement – muscle. Structure, evaluation and adaptation are covered developing an understanding of skeletal muscular operation, how training can be used to improve muscular performance and induce hypertrophy as well as sources of fatigue and failure in muscular efforts. Additionally practical activities will develop your understanding of how to assess skeletal muscle performance.


This module develops an understanding of the operation of key muscles for human movement but also extends this to investigate adaptation of skeletal muscle to exercise training. Key elements are anatomy from gross structure to microstructure, normal exercise responses, assessment of muscular power and endurance, adaptation to chronic training and identification of limitations to muscular function.

Learning outcomes
On completion of the module students will be able to:
1. Identify and describe the actions of the major muscles and tendons of the leg;
2. Compare and contrast the functioning of different skeletal muscle fibre types appraising the relative contributions of them to different modalities;
3. Describe the signals and pathways that drive adaptation of skeletal muscle in response to exercise training contrasting responses to different training approaches;
4. Analyse the limitations to skeletal muscle function identifying sources of fatigue and how these may vary;
5. Interpret data to evaluate the functional capacity of muscular function in an individual.

Skills outcomes
Handling of subjects in an exercise environment.


- Gross anatomy of the leg and a revisit of general muscle anatomy down to the fibre and myofilament.
- Muscle types and sub-structures (fibre types, glycogen storage and mitochondrial properties)
- Muscular force production and assessment of strength and power – recruitment of muscle and key parameters of force and power
- Fatigue and limits to muscular force
- Muscle damage and recovery – muscle soreness, remodelling and repair
- Signals driving muscular adaptation – mTOR, AMPK etc and the molecular pathways of adaptation
- Optimising hypertrophy – training, nutrition and pharmacological based approaches to improve or preserve muscular performance
- Muscle pathophysiology – sarcopenia, McArdles syndrome and conditions that limit muscle function

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours15.00
Private study hours69.00
Total Contact hours16.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

Online activities around analysing muscle fatigue and power-duration curves as well as exploration of anatomy during exercise will be used to supplement the theoretical and practical content.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Online exercises will be followed by in-class general feedback as well as have an element of automated feedback. The in-course portfolio of practical-based analysis of lab data will receive individual written feedback.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
PortfolioWorksheets on practical activities and data analysis30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)30.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment24 hr 00 mins70.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)70.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 03/12/2021


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