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Unit of study_

EXSS3061: Exercise Responses and Programming

Semester 1, 2022 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

This unit provides students with a broad understanding of the physiological responses and adaptations to exercise. The unit describes the basic metabolic, cardiovascular and respiratory responses and adaptations to exercise training in healthy, asymptomatic individuals. It outlines the different modalities of exercise testing for quantification of functional capacity, exercise prescription and training. It examines physical deconditioning and the associated physiological deterioration. It also provides an introduction to clinical populations who would benefit from exercise training. Students apply and integrate theoretical knowledge through practical and tutorial classes. Students will develop skills to measure physiological responses to exercise and cardiorespiratory fitness. Based on best-practice guidelines, students will design an exercise program for a healthy individual.

Unit details and rules

Unit code EXSS3061
Academic unit Movement Sciences
Credit points 6
EXSS2027 or EXSS3023
Assumed knowledge

BIOS1170 or BIOS2170

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Tom Gwinn,
Lecturer(s) Tom Gwinn,
Glen Davis,
Tutor(s) Suzie Mate,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Record+) Type B final exam End of semester exam
Written exam: Format - short answer questions
55% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5
Online task Quiz 1
Online Quiz
5% Week 03
Due date: 07 Mar 2022 at 23:59
15 min approx - Open for 7 days
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO1
Online task Quiz 2
Online quiz
5% Week 05
Due date: 21 Mar 2022 at 23:59
15 min approx - Open for 7 days
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO1
Online task Quiz 3
Online quiz
5% Week 07
Due date: 04 Apr 2022 at 23:59
15 min approx - Open for 7 days
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO4
Assignment group assignment Practical report
Data analysis from incremental exercise test
15% Week 08
Due date: 15 Apr 2022 at 23:59
graphs/calculations/1000 word discussion
Outcomes assessed: LO6
Online task Quiz 4
Online quiz
5% Week 11
Due date: 09 May 2022 at 23:55
15 min approx - Open for 7 days
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO5 LO4
Assignment group assignment Evidence base review
Review of exercise RTC in clinical population
10% Week 12
Due date: 20 May 2022 at 23:59
2x A4 pages including graphs and tables
Outcomes assessed: LO7
group assignment = group assignment ?
Type B final exam = Type B final exam ?

Assessment summary

4 x Online Quizzes. Each quiz will examine the previous two weeks lecture and tutorial content. Each quiz will take approximately 15 min or less to complete.

Practical report: This report will involve data presentation (graphs, tables) calculations and analysis of the responses to exercise from the VO2max practical in either Week 8 or 9. A detailed rubric will be available on Canvas. This is a group assignment: the groups are defined by the 4-5 students who formed a sub-group to collect data from a student performing a max test

Evidence based report: Students will review and summarise a single published controlled trial examining the effects of an exercise training program (moderate intensity continuous exercise, high intensity interval training  or sprint interval training) in either a healthy, aged sample or a sample with a medical condition. Length: 2 x A4 pages. A detailed rubric will be available on Canvas. This is a group assignment: Students will work in groups of 4-5 students.

Final exam: The exam will cover all material in the unit from both lectures and tutorial classes. The exam will have a mixture of multiple choice questions and short answer questions.

Assessment criteria

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Student performance in assessment tasks demonstrates mastery of the learning outcomes at a very high standard


75 - 84

Student performance in assessment tasks demonstrates mastery of the learning outcomes at a high standard


65 - 74

Student performance in assessment tasks demonstrates mastery of the learning outcomes at a good standard


50 - 64

Student performance in assessment tasks demonstrates mastery of the learning outcomes at an acceptable standard


0 - 49

When the student doesn’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

Late penalties for the practical report and Evidence-based report: Assignments submitted after 11:59 pm on the due date will be penalised by 5% of the maximum awardable mark for each calendar day after the due date. If the assessment is submitted more than ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 A: Overview/Muscle VO2, B: Screening for exercise risk Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Practical 1: Steady-state exercise: VO2 and CV responses & Tutorial 1. Practical (2 hr) LO2
Week 02 A: CV responses to exercise I, B: Exercise testing I Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Practical 2 (Group A - 1/2 of students): VO2 and CV responses to submax and max exercise Practical (2 hr) LO6
Week 03 A: CV response to exercise II, B: Exercise testing II Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Practical 2 (Group B - other 1/2 of students): VO2 and CV responses to submax and max exercise Practical (2 hr) LO6
Week 04 A: VO2max, COmax, performance age and sex, B: Exercise testing III Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Practical 3 Prediction of VO2max from submaximal HR Practical (2 hr) LO6
Week 05 A: VO2max: How trainining works, B: VO2max: bed rest /training in elderly & clinical conditions Lecture (2 hr) LO2 LO4
Tutorial 2 Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 06 A: Ventilation during exercise, B: Clinical evidence base for exercise training Lecture (2 hr) LO4 LO7
Tutorial 2 Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 08 A: Exercise prescription I, B: Exercise prescription II Lecture (2 hr) LO3
Practical 4: Setting endurance training intensity/ Field tests of endurance capacity Practical (2 hr) LO6
Week 09 A: Metabolic responses to exercise I, B: Exercise prescription III Lecture (2 hr) LO2 LO3
Tutorial 3 Tutorial (1 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 10 A: Metabolic responses to exercise II, B: Cardiac & pulmonary rehab programs in Sydney Lecture (2 hr) LO2 LO7
Week 11 A: Metabolic adaptations to training I: B: Metabolic adaptations to training II Lecture (2 hr) LO4 LO7
Week 12 A: Metabolic adaptations to training III, B: Endurance training in traumatic brain injury Lecture (2 hr) LO2 LO4
Tutorial 4 Tutorial (1 hr) LO4 LO5
Week 13 A: Health benefits of physical activity, B: Review Lecture (2 hr) LO4

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

Recommended textbook for background reading. (Not recommended for purchase): Exercise Physiology: Theory and application to Fitness and Performance. Powers, SK and Howley, ET. 8th Ed. (2012) McGraw-Hill.


Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Understand considerations for safe cardiorespiratory fitness assessment for a variety of client groups
  • LO2. Describe and explain the individual and integrated physiological responses of the cardiovascular, respiratory and metabolic systems to acute exercise of differing intensities
  • LO3. Describe and explain combinations of dosage variable for effective exercise prescription to increase endurance capacity
  • LO4. Describe and explain the adaptations in cardiovascular and metabolic systems responsible for increased endurance capacity, and associated health benefits, following exercise training in young adult and elderly healthy individuals and in individuals with a variety of chronic medical conditions.
  • LO5. Describe and explain the adaptations in cardiovascular and metabolic systems responsible for decreased endurance capacity following disuse, bed rest and aging.
  • LO6. Perform cardiorespiratory fitness assessments and interpret the physiological responses of an individual during exercise
  • LO7. Evaluate the evidence-base for endurance training for clinical populations in terms of positive performance and health outcomes through review of published randomised-controlled trials and meta-analyses.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

In 2021 USS feedback students requested to have increased tutorial exercises on aspects of exercise assessment and prescription. This has been incorportated into the 2022 tutorials.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.