Exercise Physiology, Intervention, and Collaboration (EPIC) Lab
UCF Division of Kinesiology
The Exercise Physiology Intervention and Collaboration (EPIC) Laboratory is a student-centered research laboratory that examines muscle function and cognition under various conditions. Faculty and students within the EPIC lab examine how different exercise adjuncts (blood flow restriction, altitude simulation) and nutritional supplements affect muscle growth and recovery, neuromuscular function, and cognition during fatiguing resistive and aerobic exercise. The laboratory is particularly interested in studying how these interventions can be applied to mitigate the adverse effects that long-term spaceflight exhibit on muscle function as well as nutraceutical modulation of cognition under conditions of physical and mental stress.
Ongoing Research Projects
The Chronic Effects of Low-Load Blood Flow Restriction and Standard of Care Resistance Exercise on Muscle, Neuromuscular, and Perceptual Reponses Among Individuals Living with Multiple Sclerosis.
The primary purpose of this study is to compare the effectiveness of the current standard of care versus low-load resistance exercise with blood flow restriction among individuals living with multiple sclerosis. As a secondary purpose, we are examining subjective indices to examine which exercise modality is most likely to promote long-term adherence and engagement.
The Acute Effects of Low-Load Blood Flow Restriction and Standard of Care Resistance Exercise on Indices of Neural and Muscle Function and Perceptual Outcomes Among Individuals Living with Multiple Sclerosis.
The primary purpose of this study is to examine the spinal and neuromuscular responses between the current standard of care and low-load resistance exercise with blood flow restriction. Furthermore, we are quantifying indices of enjoyment, exertion, and comfort to understand how these exercise interventions facilitate mood and behavioral outcomes related to exercise.
The Effects of Acute Blood Flow Restriction on Maximal Strength
The purpose of this study is to assess maximal strength output when using blood flow restriction (BFR) vs non BFR. This study consists of 3 visits: 1 consent and familiarization visit (90 minutes) and 2 strength assessment visits (90 minutes each). The total time commitment for this study is about 4 1/2 hours.
Optimal Repetition Scheme on neuromuscular function with low-load blood flow restriction
The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of 3 different blood flow restriction (BFR) repetition schemes on neuromuscular function, muscle thickness, muscle fatigue and rating of perceived exertion in trained males and females. This study involved 5 visits: 1 Consent, Medical Health History Questionnaire & Familiarization visit, 1 Strength Testing visit, and 3 Training visits. The total time commitment for this study is 4 hours and 30 minutes.
Blood Flow Restriction, Muscle Function, and Exercise-Induced Hypoalgesia
The primary purpose of this study is to use assessment techniques to better understand the physiological responses that occur during resistance exercise with blood flow restriction compared to traditional high-load resistance training. Secondary objectives include assessing local and systemic hypoalgesia responses before and after resistance exercise and heart rate variability response during exercise.
Aerobic vs Anaerobic Thresholds
The primary purpose of this study is to compare different methods to assess anaerobic thresholds in healthy adults. Specifically, comparing methods that assess different systems related to exercise including the cardiovascular system (heart rate and HRV), pulmonary system (ventilatory threshold), and neuromuscular system (PWCFT).
The effects of ATP (adenosine 5’- triphosphate disodium) supplementation vs. Placebo on measures of mood, reaction time and cognitive performance.
The purpose of this study is to examine whether adenosine triphosphate (ATP) supplementation improves cognitive performance or mitigates cognitive decline when compared to placebo. The brain is the most metabolically active organ in the body and as such is particularly vulnerable to disruption of energy resources. As such, interventions that sustain adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels may have importance for improving neuronal dysfunction and loss. A number of metabolic agents have been shown to have beneficial effects on cognitive function through an ATP generating pathway, however, there is limited research examining the effects of direct ATP supplementation. In this study, we will be utilizing an exhaustive bout of aerobic exercise to induce cognitive function and will examine the effects of ATP supplementation pre- and post-exercise. This study will use the Dynavision visuomotor reaction time device, Neurotracker multiple object tracking assessment and the Automated Neuropsychological Assessment Metrics Cognitive test battery to assess cognitive function. This project will help us to better understand if supplemental energy substrate is able to help mitigate cognitive decline under stressful physical conditions.
Local vs Systemic Hypoxia: Effects on Neuromuscular Function, Muscle Fatigue, Muscle Swelling and Cognition.
The purpose of this study is to examine how changes in muscle oxygenation influence performance in young adults. Typically, changes in muscle oxygen occur when traveling to unique environments (altitude or spaceflight for example). In a laboratory setting, we can manipulate muscle oxygenation through the utilization of blood flow restriction (local hypoxia within a given muscle) or using altitude simulators (systemic or whole-body hypoxia). This study compares the differences between local (blow flow restriction) and systemic (simulated altitude) hypoxia on neuromuscular function, muscle fatigue, and cognition. Participants visit the laboratory on three different occasions and perform leg extension exercise under three randomized conditions (blood flow restriction, simulation altitude, and control). We are evaluating muscle function among these conditions using surface electromyography, interpolated twitch technique, near infrared spectroscopy, ultrasound, strength assessments, and cognitive tests. The outcomes of this study will help us better understand neuromuscular mechanisms under different environments and how muscles respond to these various stimuli.
The Effects of a Cooling Vest on Neuromuscular, Muscle, and Cognitive Function
The purpose of this study is to examine the effect of a cooling garment on exercise performance, neuromuscular function, and cognition. Thermal stress can negatively affect exercise performance by decreasing power and time to exhaustion. Exercise or work in extreme environmental conditions, such as a spacesuit, can induce thermal stress. Cooling interventions can be used to mitigate heat-induced decreases in work capacity and reduce the probability of life-threatening conditions. This study uses metabolic data, electromyography, near infrared spectroscopy, ultrasound, and cognitive tests to assess how a cooling garment may affect exercise performance during a 10-kilometer (10km) time trial. This project is part of a larger collaboration with the Florida Space Institute.
Meet Our Team
Adam J. Wells, Ph.D., CSCS*D, SCYM(ASCP)CM
Ethan Hill, Ph.D., CSCS, ACSM-EP
Selected Relevant Publications
Our laboratory makes a concerted effort to publish our findings in respected academic journals and present at regional, national, and international conferences. In addition to contributing to collective body of knowledge in a given field, presenting original data at conferences is a fun way for the lab’s students to enhance their self-confidence and network with other scientists.
- Wells AJ, Johnson, BDI. Test-retest reliability, training and detraining effects associated with the Dynavision D2™ Mode A visuomotor reaction time test. Journal of Sport Rehabilitation. Accepted June 18th, 2021. Article In Press
- Hill, E.C., Housh, T.J., Keller, J.L., Smith, C.M., Anders, J.P., Schmidt, R.J., and Johnson, G.O. Patterns of responses and time-course of changes in muscle size and strength during low-load blood flow restriction resistance training in women. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 121:1473–1485, 2021.
- Hill, E.C., Housh, T.J., Keller, J.L., Smith, C.M., Anders, J.P., Schmidt, R.J., Johnson, G.O. Acute changes in muscle thickness, edema and blood flow are not different between low-load blood flow restriction and non-blood flow restriction. Clinical Physiology and Functional Imaging. Published ahead of print, 2021. DOI: 10.1111/cpf.12720.
- Hill, E.C. Eccentric, but not concentric venous blood flow restriction resistance training increases muscle strength in the untrained limb. Physical Therapy in Sport 30;43:1-7, 2020. DOI: 10.1016/j.ptsp.2020.01.013
- Keller, J.L., Hill, E.C., Housh, T.J., Smith, Anders, J.P., C.M., Schmidt, R.J., Johnson, G.O. The acute and early-phase effects of blood flow restriction training on ratings of perceived exertion, performance fatigability, and muscular strength in women. Isokinetics and Exercise Science. Published ahead of print, 2020. DOI: 10.3233/IES-204198
- Anders, J.P., Keller, J.L., Smith, C.M., Hill, E.C., Housh, T.J., Schmidt, R.J., Johnson, G.O. The effects of asparagus racemosus supplementation plus 8 weeks of resistance training on muscle strength and endurance. Functional Morphology and Kinesiology 5(1) 4, 2020.
- Coker NA, Wells AJ, Gepner Y. The effect of heat stress on running performance in collegiate male soccer players. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 34(4), 1141-1149, 2020.
- Varanoske AN, Coker NA, Johnson BDI, Belity T, Wells AJ. Influence of muscle depth and thickness on ultrasound echo intensity of the vastus lateralis. Acta Radiologica, 2020. doi: 10.1177/0284185120958405 Online Ahead of Print.
- Varanoske AN, Coker NA, Johnson BDI, Belity T, Wells AJ. Muscle quality, as measured by ultrasound-derived echo intensity, does not affect changes in cross-sectional area of the vastus lateralis following recumbent rest in resistance-trained males. Journal of Diagnostic Medical Sonography, 37(2): 157-168, 2020.
- Varanoske AN, Coker NA, Johnson BDI, Belity T, Mangine GT, Stout JR, Fukuda DH, Wells AJ. Effects of rest position on morphology of the vastus lateralis and its relationship with lower-body strength and power. Functional Morphology and Kinesiology, 4(3): 64, 2019.
- Gepner Y, Wells AJ, Gordon JA, Arroyo E, Varanoske AN, Coker NA, Fukuda DH, Stout JR, Hoffman JR. Differences in muscle oxygenation between young and middle-aged recreational men during high-volume resistance exercise. Kinesiology, 51(1): 3-11, 2019.
- Hill, E.C., Housh, T.J., Keller, J.L., Smith, C.M., Schmidt, R.J., and Johnson, G.O. Eccentric and concentric blood flow restriction resistance training on indices of delayed onset muscle soreness in untrained women. European Journal of Applied Physiology 119(10):2363-2373, 2019.
- Hill, E.C., Housh, T.J., Keller, J.L., Smith, C.M., Schmidt, R.J., and Johnson, G.O. The validity of the EMG and MMG techniques for identifying early-phase muscle hypertrophy from low-load blood flow restriction resistance training. Physiological Measurement 13;40(2):025009, 2019.
- Jenkins, N.D.M, Miramonti, A.A., Hill, E.C., Smith, C.M., Cochrane-Snyman, K.C., Housh, T.J., and Cramer, J.T. Mechanomyographic amplitude is sensitive to load-dependent neuromuscular adaptations in response to resistance training. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Published ahead of print. 2019. DOI: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003276
- Hill, E.C., Housh, T.J., Smith, C.M., Keller, J.L., Schmidt, R.J., and Johnson, G.O. High versus low intensity fatiguing eccentric exercise on muscle thickness, strength, and blood flow. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Published ahead of print, 2018. DOI: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002632.
- Hill, E.C., Housh, T.J., Smith, C.M., Schmidt, R.J., and Johnson, G.O. Early phase adaptations in muscle strength and hypertrophy as a result of low-intensity blood flow restriction resistance training. European Journal of Applied Physiology 118(9):1831-1843, 2018.
- Coker NA, Varanoske AN, Baker KM, Hahs-Vaughn D, Wells AJ. Predictors of Competitive Powerlifting Success in National-Level Powerlifters: A Multi-level Analysis. International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport, 18(5): 796-805, 2018.
- Gordon JA, Hoffman JR, Arroyo E, Varanoske AN, Coker NA, Gepner Y, Wells AJ, Stout JR, Fukuda DH. Comparisons in the Recovery Response from Resistance Exercise between Young and Middle-Aged Men. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 31(12): 3454-3462, 2017.
- Coker NA, Wells AJ, Ake KM, Griffin DL, Rossi SJ, McMillan JL. Relationship between running performance and recovery-stress state in collegiate soccer players. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 31(8): 3131-2140, 2017.
The UCF Exercise Physiology, Intervention, and Collaboration (EPIC) Lab is located in Education Complex and Gymnasium (bldg. 21) room 174. The building is located in between Parking garage A and the Teaching Academy.
You may contact us by email at [email protected] or with the fillable form below. We look forward to hearing from you.
UCF Exercise Physiology, Intervention, and Collaboration (EPIC) Lab
Education Complex and Gymnasium
12494 University Blvd, Room 174
Orlando, FL, 32816