Sports Lab

Modern Medicine = Maximum Performance

Whether it’s injury treatment or performance management you’re looking for, we have the expertise to help you to Reach your Potential.

The philosophy of Beacon Hospital’s Sports Lab is to develop athletic performance through the use of modern medicine, alongside clinical expertise. If you are suffering from any injuries or problems, we treat the underlying cause of the problem, not just your symptoms. Our new state-of-the-art, high performance Sports Lab with Vo2 max and body composition testing, provides both elite and amateur athletes the ideal environment to optimise performance. We also cater to the general population providing expert advice on creating a healthier lifestyle and assisting you in Reaching your Potential.

We believe in a team based approach to injury prevention and management with rapid access to highly skilled professionals specialising in Sports Medicine, Orthopaedics, Musculoskeletal Radiology and Sports Rehabilitation. Our team is led by Dr Alan Byrne, internationally renowned Consultant in Sports and Exercise Medicine.

Chris Simpson on the Sports Lab

Physiological Performance Testing

Physiological performance testing is important for anyone interested in their health and wellbeing. It is equally important to someone returning to exercise or looking to improve their health as it is to an athlete looking to maximise their performance. Physiological exercise testing ensures that whatever exercise goals you have, be it your first Park run or to improve your marathon or Ironman personal best, our experts can tailor your training plan based on your individual physiological performance. Therefore, optimising the time available for training. It is not just for professional/high performance athletes. The tests are standardised, accurate, reliable and reproducible. Ensuring that as training/performance develop the client can retest and measure, accurately the degree of improvement. Ensuring that the next phase of training in based on the most accurate and up to date results.
  • Body Composition Analysis

    The reality of weight management for both the athlete and non-athlete is very simple, and is dependent on the number of calories you consume verses the number of calories you burn.
    This Energy Balance Equation will determine an individual’s body composition. This body composition is a major factor for everyone’s health, wellbeing and performance. At Beacon Hospital we cater for the needs of elite, amateur and non-athletes, helping you to manage your health and Reach Your Potential.

    The Energy Balance Equation allows our experts to assess each client in terms of:

    • Body Fat %
    • Fat Free Mass/Lean Muscle Mass
    • Body Mass Index
    • Hip to Ratio
    • Resting Metabolic Rate

    All of these parameters play an important role in maintaining good health as well as optimising sporting performance.

  • Cardio-Pulmonary Exercise Test (Vo2 Max)

    This test can be conducted to maximal or sub maximal exercise capacity depending on each client’s history or athletic background.

    The test can be conducted on a treadmill, cycle ergometer or Wattbike.

    The test consists of exercising continuously for between 8 to 12 minutes, while connected to an ECG monitor with a mask over the nose and mouth connected to a gas analyser.

    The exercise intensity will be very low to begin with, progressing to the required intensity i.e. sub max or maximal effort.

    Parameters measured during the test include, Vo2 Max, Lactate (anaerobic)Threshold, Heart rate training zones, Substrate utilisation and energy expenditure.

    The Most Important Reasons for Having a Cardio-pulmonary Exercise Test

    • CEPET is regarded both clinically and within sport and exercise science as the “gold standard” in metabolic measurement.
    • To identify and monitor an individual’s ability to perform sustained exercise at a given intensity.
    • The most accurate method to establish an individual’s heart rate training zones.
    • The most accurate method to establish energy requirements and substrate utilisation at any given exercise intensity.
    • Vo2 Max refers to the maximum amount of oxygen an individual can utilise during intense or maximal effort.
  • Wattbike Analysis

    For cyclists and triathletes, a Wattbike analysis can be very useful as a method of measuring and improving cycling efficiency and performance.

    Data relating to:

    • Average and peak cadence
    • Average and peak power
    • Left to right leg balance
    • Pedal stroke efficiency
    • Heart rate
    • Speed
    • Distance

    Can all be accurately measured using the Wattbike.

  • Functional Threshold Power Test

    More and more cyclists and triathletes are incorporating power meters into their training. We offer the standardised power test as used by British Cycling and many top teams. As with the cardio-pulmonary exercise test the FTP test provides a standardised and individual test that can be accurately reproduced any number of times to re-evaluate an athlete’s progress to ensure they are gaining the optimal effect from their training.

    What the FTP Test Involves:

    Following setup on the Wattbike and attachment of heart rate monitor/ECG, a warm up is undertaken. After this the athlete rides an all-out 20-minute time trial to their best effort.

    • Data produced includes,
    • Average and peak power
    • Average and peak cadence
    • Left to right leg balance
    • Pedal stroke efficiency
    • Heart rate data
    • Speed
    • Distance
    • Functional Threshold Power
    • Power to weight ratio

    These parameters are used to identify strengths and weaknesses in the athlete’s performance and can be used to design specific, individual training programmes to ensure the athlete continues to progress. The effectiveness of each programme can be monitored by carrying out a standardised retest.

  • Resting Metabolic Rate Test

    This test involves the client fasting for a period of 4 hours, then lying still on a couch while connected via a face mask to a gas analyser for 15 minutes.

    The data produced from this test includes,

    The clients resting metabolic rate i.e. how many calories per day an individual burns before lifestyle/training etc are accounted for.

    Unfortunately, most people tend to overestimate the number of calories they burn thorough their activities of daily life and training and under-estimate their calorie intake.

    RMR can account for 65 to 80% of calories burned by an individual each day. This is what is referred to as our metabolism and is therefore important to know what it is and is it high or low.

    This can have important implications on diet, weight management and athletic performance.

  • Consultation / Follow Up

    Before your Physiological Performance Testing a full brief will be provided, explaining the procedure and tailoring the tests to provide you with relevant information.

    Following completion of the Physiological Performance Testing, a full debrief and explanation of the clients results and their implication for training/exercise performance will be provided, by our experienced coaches. Our coaches have over 20 years of experience in a wide variety of sports and can help you understand the results of your tests. It can often be difficult to understand what data is important, our coaches can assist you in determining what data is relevant to you in order for you to Reach your Potential.

    The opportunity to enrol on an individually tailored training programme, delivered by our experienced team via Training Peaks, based on your test results will also be provided. Training Peaks is a mobile based training platform which allows our experienced coaches to remotely monitor your training. Your coaches can provide feedback on your performance while also tailoring the programme to ensure you your development.


  • Isokinetic Strength Testing

    Isokinetic Strength testing is an extremely accurate way of measuring the strength/power and strength variables of a given area of the body. Here we use the biodex system, which involves using state-of-the-art machinery which provides varying levels of resistance to the tested body part to obtain objective measures of strength of that area of the body. This can be used to assess rehabilitation needs, rate of progression and identify particular weaknesses which may predispose the athlete to injury. This method of strength testing is used extensively in research and rehabilitation in a sports setting.

    Further to isokinetic strength testing we also conduct functional strength exams for injured athletes or those looking to enhance performance.

Chris Simpson, Exercise Physiologist

Chris Simpson, Exercise Physiologist

Chris holds a BSc (Hons) in Sport and Exercise Science from the University of Leeds.

He is an Ironman Certified Coach and is currently studying an MSc in exercise and nutrition science at the University of Chester.

Chris is a member of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Scientists and an Associate Member of the British Association of Sports and Exercise Medicine.

Over the last 20 years Chris has developed his experience in cardio-pulmonary exercise testing, both in sports and exercise and well as the clinical setting. This includes studying in the UK with the Royal College of Anaesthetists and University of California Los Angeles.

Chris grew up playing Rugby League and basketball to representative level before making the switch to endurance sports. Over the next 30 years he competed in multiple Ironman, 70.3, Etape du Tour and marathons in addition to many other endurance events.

Over the last 20 years Chris has actively been involved in coaching other endurance athletes, these include complete novice athlete to professional sportsmen and women.

Centre for Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine