Published: Feb. 14, 2008
Updated: Apr. 2, 2010
By S.D. Williams
Bryan Manges is an amateur -- but serious -- marathon
runner. Like many other athletes, he came to Duke Sports
Medicine not because of an injury, but to improve his
performance. On a recent morning he was undergoing tests in the
K-Lab with Greg McElveen, who coordinates the Duke Sports
“When someone comes to us, we typically take them to the K-Lab to evaluate them,” says McElveen. “We had Bryan on the ParvoMedics Metabolic System to evaluate his aerobic and anaerobic performance and in the Bod Pod to assess his body composition. Testing is an important part of what we do, because it enables us to tailor a training program to our client’s needs and goals.”
Marathon running is an endurance sport and requires an entirely different training regimen from, for example, shot-putting, which is a power sport. In between those two extremes are sports like soccer, basketball, and lacrosse, whose players need both endurance and power and therefore need more multifaceted training. An athlete’s training is geared toward improving those abilities specifically needed to perform in his or her sport and at his or her position.
The program provides tests not only of endurance, power, and body composition but also of strength, speed, agility, stamina, and flexibility -- all sport-specific, position-specific, and goal-specific. McElveen and his staff also offer programs focused on the particular interests of “master” athletes -- 40 years of age or older -- as well as professional and elite athletes.
While testing is useful, some clients “just aren’t data people,” says McElveen. If they’re interested in training “by feel,” McElveen and his staff can also help them set up effective regimens, then teach and guide them as they close the gap between their current performance and their potential.
In addition to training advice from exercise physiologists, clients of the performance program have access to sports medicine physicians, physical therapists, a sports psychologist, and a sports nutritionist.
Having a training facility as part of a clinical and therapeutic center is unusual, but it allows clinicians to make referrals to the performance program when appropriate, allows the performance staff members to refer clients to clinical and therapeutic services, and provides athletes with access to the testing facilities in the K-Lab.
As with the rest of Duke Sports Medicine’s efforts, improving athletic performance is clearly a team sport.