Monfort Family Human Performance Lab at CMU

 Photography by  Barton Glasser

Photography by Barton Glasser

When the Monfort Family Human Performance Lab was established at Colorado Mesa University (CMU) in 2009, the goal of the facility was to provide hands-on experience for students in the university’s kinesiology department, offering an array of equipment to assess a variety of health screens.

    In the years since its opening, the lab has evolved to become one of the most innovative spaces on the university campus and within the Grand Valley. “Probably the thing that has changed the most in recent years is that we collaborate more often with the other departments on campus,” shares Brent Alumbaugh, the lab’s clinical coordinator.

    Examples of collaboration abound: Engineering students have analyzed the performance of mountain bike tires (tubed versus tubeless), as well as the effect of shoe foam density on knee movement. The dance department uses the lab for 3D motion analysis, as do students from the physics department. Mathematics students help exercise science students design their research so that the results can be statistically analyzed, while psychology students focus on the psychology of sport and motivation. Beyond the CMU campus, lab staff works closely with local businesses to develop internship and research opportunities related to human health and movement.

    In addition to teaching and research, the lab is open to all CMU students and the public for testing and analysis. Just a few of the many tests available include bone quality, body volume and mass, gait analysis, and a variety of metabolic tests including VO2 max.

    While the majority of people being testing in the lab are CMU students and student-athletes, the staff works with an average of one to two community members each week, many of them local endurance athletes. With Dr. Mike Reeder, a sports medicine physician,  as acting director, the lab has increased its work with injured individuals who have exhausted conventional physical therapy and surgical options.

    CMU President Tim Foster describes the lab as a “genuine example of a win-win for CMU students and the community.”

    “It gives the community access to up-to-date expertise and equipment to evaluate physical performance problems and to get suggestions for solutions. For the students, it provides an opportunity for undergraduate research that is typically only available to graduate students.” He continues, “CMU has a variety of options and opportunities for students that just aren’t available at very many higher ed institutions. The Monfort Family Human Performance Lab is a prime example.”

    For more information on the lab and the testing opportunities available to the public, please visit coloradomesa.edu/human-performance-lab/index.html  or call 970.248.1935.