Exercise Sports Scientist

Research and Development


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Exercise & Sports Scientists help people increase their fitness, sporting performance and general health. They use a combination of biomechanics, physiology, psychology and performance analysis to assess a person's individual requirements and develop an appropriate training program. Future Growth Very Strong

Exercise & Sports Scientists are primarily involved with improving peoples health, and helping them recover from illness through physical activities. There are also opportunities to work in sports science, which involves using the same knowledge to help sporting teams and/or individual athletes to keep performing at their peak and recover from injury.

Exercise Physiologists assess, plan and implement exercise programs for preventing and managing chronic diseases and injuries, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, depression, cancer and arthritis, and assist in restoring optimal physical function, and health and wellness.

ANZSCO ID & Description: 234915: Exercise & Sports Scientists help people increase their fitness, sporting performance and general health.

Alternative names: Exercise Physiologist, Sports Scientist

Knowledge, skills and attributes

An exercise scientist needs:

  • to enjoy sports and other fitness activities
  • good communication skills
  • good observation and problem solving skills
  • to be able to work as part of a team
  • good interpersonal skills
  • an interest in the practical application of scientific ideas and principles 
  • a good understanding of human anatomy
  • good analytical and organisational skills.

Taking a sample
(Source: Emaze)

Duties and Tasks

  • Assists and improves the function of muscles through physical activity and exercise programs.

  • Administers a variety of tests to identify and assess physical problems and ailments of patients.

  • Plans and discusses effective management of patients' disabilities, weight, injury or fitness.

  • Designs, reviews, monitors, assesses and evaluates fitness/treatment programmes.

  • Records detailed patient medical histories, exercise undertaken and the patients' responses and progress under exercise programs.

  • Refers patients to specialists and liaises with other health professionals in relation to patients' problems, needs and progress.

  • Educates patients, their partners, family and friends in rehabilitation procedures, such as home exercises and lifestyle changes, to enhance patients' health and wellbeing.

  • work as part of healthcare team looking after the welfare of a sporting club or squad

  • assess sportspeople and work out a program for them

  • test and analyse the training regimes of elite athletes

  • monitor the progress of individuals or a group, and adjust as necessary

  • advise on injury prevention

  • work with patients who are going through a rehabilitation process

  • work with specialised groups such as the visually impaired or those with autism

  • take part in research studies

  • advise on the design of sports equipment.


Working Conditions

Exercise scientists may work in a number of settings, including hospitals, universities, health and fitness centres, government organisations and with sporting teams and clubs. They often work closely with general practitioners and other medical professionals to develop exercise programs.

Sports scientists working with sporting teams may be required to work outdoors in a variety of weather conditions. They may also have to work evenings and weekends in order to attend training sessions and matches. 

Tools and Technologies

Exercise scientists use a range of gym equipment, such as treadmills, weights and exercise bikes. They often ask patients to exercise with this equipment while attached to specialised equipment used to monitor factors such as heart and breathing rates.

They may also use equipment and computer programs that monitor and map how a patient or client moves while exercising in order to determine the best way to move to increase performance and minimise the risk of injury. 

Education and Training

To become an exercise scientist you usually need to complete a degree in science with major in exercise and sports science, exercise and rehabilitation, sport and health science, or a related field. 

Otherwise, you may complete a degree in a relevant field such as medicine or nutrition, followed by a postgraduate qualification in exercise science or clinical exercise physiology.

To get into the degree courses you usually need to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent. English, mathematics, biology, and chemistry would be appropriate subjects to study prior to university. For entry into postgraduate courses, you would first need to complete your bachelor's degree.

Graduates from an approved degree course may apply for membership with Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA). Student memberships are also available.

Employment Opportunities

Opportunities for sport & exercise scientists are expected to grow at an average rate.

The increasingly professionalism of all types of sports, along with increased participation and a stronger focus on improving performance, will lead to greater opportunities for sport & exercise scientists.


Did You Know? 

The Conversation

The Conversation 5 August 2016 shows how one Exercise Sports Scientist changed our swimming team in the Olympics.

Have a look at his methods! How many did he introduce?

Have you thought of different ways to bring people onto being top athletes?

Exercise Sports Scientist




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