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Unit of study_

EXSS3061: Exercise Responses and Programming

This unit examines the muscle metabolic and cardiovascular (CV) adaptations to endurance training (also known as aerobic training) in clinical populations and in healthy adults. To understand these adaptations the fundamental cardiorespiratory responses to exercise are first examined with an emphasis on the determinants of submaximal and maximal oxygen consumption, i.e. VO2, and VO2max. This forms the basis to understand the CV adaptations to endurance training and causes of increase in VO2max in healthy females and males of different ages, and in clinical conditions. In addition the metabolic adaptations to training are examined with an emphasis on how training decreases muscle lactate concentrations during submaximal exercise, and so reduces perceived exertion during exercise, increasing exercise capacity. The unit combines this biological approach with a parallel evidence-based development of practical guidelines for endurance training prescription, and examines the outcomes of endurance training in randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and meta-analyses of RCTs in clinical conditions. Students gain skills a range of different methods to predict VO2max in practical sessions.


Academic unit Movement Sciences
Unit code EXSS3061
Unit name Exercise Responses and Programming
Session, year
Semester 1, 2023
Attendance mode Normal day
Location Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

EXSS1036 or EXSS2032
Assumed knowledge

BIOS1170 or BIOS2170

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Tom Gwinn,
Lecturer(s) Suzie Mate ,
Tom Gwinn,
Administrative staff SHS Education Support Email:
Type Description Weight Due Length
Supervised exam
End of semester exam
Written exam: Format - short answer questions
55% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Online task Quiz 1
Online Quiz
5% Week 03
Due date: 06 Mar 2023 at 23:59
15 min approx - Open for 7 days
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Online task Quiz 2
Online quiz
5% Week 05
Due date: 20 Mar 2023 at 23:59
15 min approx - Open for 7 days
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Online task Quiz 3
Online quiz
5% Week 08
Due date: 17 Apr 2023 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 09
Due date: 24 Apr 2023 at 23:59
graphs/calculations/1000 word discussion
Outcomes assessed: LO6
Online task Quiz 4
Online quiz
5% Week 11
Due date: 08 May 2023 at 23:55
15 min approx - Open for 7 days
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO4 LO5
Assignment group assignment Evidence base review
Review of exercise RTC in clinical population
10% Week 12
Due date: 15 May 2023 at 23:59
2x A4 pages including graphs and tables
Outcomes assessed: LO7
group assignment = group assignment ?

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.

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.

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

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.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Unit overview / Submaximal VO2 / VO2max Lecture (2 hr) LO2
Practical 1: Steady-state exercise: VO2 and CV responses & Tutorial 1. Practical (2 hr) LO2
Week 02 Muscle determinants of VO2 / Whole body CV responses to exercise I Lecture (2 hr) LO2
Practical 2 (Group A - 1/2 of students): VO2 and CV responses to submax and max exercise Practical (2 hr) LO6
Week 03 Screening for exercise risk / Assessment of exercise capacity I Lecture (2 hr) LO1
Practical 2 (Group B - other 1/2 of students): VO2 and CV responses to submax and max exercise Practical (2 hr) LO6
Week 04 Assessment of exercise capacity II / CV responses II / VO2, COmax, age & sex Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Practical 3 Prediction of VO2max from submaximal HR Practical (2 hr) LO6
Week 05 How training increases VO2max / Training changes CV responses to submax exercise Lecture (2 hr) LO4
Tutorial 2 Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 06 Ventilation during exercise I / Ventilation during exercise II Lecture (2 hr) LO2 LO7
Week 07 Effect of bedrest or detraining on VO2max / Clinical evidence for exercise training Lecture (2 hr) LO5 LO7
Week 08 A: Exercise prescription I, B: Exercise prescription II Lecture (2 hr) LO3
Practical 4: Setting endurance training intensity/ Tests of exercise capacity Practical (2 hr) LO6
Week 09 Exercise prescription III / A: Metabolic responses to exercise I Lecture (2 hr) LO2 LO3
Tutorial 3 Tutorial (1 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 10 Metabolic responses to exercise II & III Lecture (2 hr) LO2
Week 11 Metabolic adaptations to training I &II Lecture (2 hr) LO4
Week 12 Metabolic adaptations bedrest & detraining/ Integration CV and metabolic adaptainins to training Lecture (2 hr) LO4 LO5
Tutorial 4 Tutorial (1 hr) LO4 LO5
Week 13 Review and revision Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 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
In 2022 USS feedback students requested to have metabolism content from EXSS2030 made available before Week 9. This has been incorportated into the 2023 resources.


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