Office of Research & Sponsored Programs

IRB Manual Exercise

Research Involving Exercise


The IRB has adopted a number of special procedures and guidelines pertaining to studies that involve physical activity, which at UNI are typically although not exclusively conducted in athletic training, exercise science, and/or kinesiology.  A special consent template (PDF) for exercise studies is also available to assist investigators in ensuring that all required information is included in consent documents for these types of studies. 

Training & Expertise of Researcher(s). The experience and training of the individuals who are conducting research with the specific subject group(s) must be clearly explained in the IRB application as well as in the informed consent form. Additionally, a person who is certified in CPR/ First Aid must be present for data collection at all times.

General safety. Subjects’ safety must be a concern throughout the exercise or testing experience. This includes subjects climbing on to equipment, picking up weights, getting off equipment, and having an area clear of equipment.

Emergency Plan. An emergency plan, specific to the location of the testing site, must be in place and clear to the researcher(s) prior to any physical testing of a subject. The requirements of the emergency plan may differ by the location of the testing site and the type of research being conducted.  Explain the emergency plan in the IRB application (see sample emergency plan) and attach a copy. A very basic plan must be available at the testing area with basic instructions: (a) which number to call, (b) information to report, and (c) exact direction to the testing area in case of emergency.  The PI must also indicate the phone and location of the phone that will be used to make a call in case of an emergency.  If a mobile phone will be used, the PI must indicate that the phone has adequate service/connection at the testing site.  For additional detail, consult the Emergency Action Plan Guidelines (PDF)

Injury Reporting. Should an injury occur during any research involving exercise testing or training, the research study must be temporarily discontinued.  The PI must notify the IRB Administrator of the injury by email within 48 hours of the event and will await review and feedback from the IRB before continuing (restarting) the research study.  If the injury was not anticipated as a possibility in the original IRB protocol, a formal Adverse Event/Problem Reporting form must also be completed.

Normal Training versus Research. In the IRB application, if your data collection coincides with a participant’s or team's training, clearly identify which procedures or exercises are part of the participants’ “normal” or “required” training and which procedures have been added exclusively for your research.

Privacy of Results. This is a concern when the participant can be observed by individuals other than the researcher or assistants. If group testing is involved, the researcher must be aware that confidentiality of scores or performance may be compromised. If the performance may be observed by others, this must be included in the informed consent form even though the actual scores or measured results will be kept confidential.


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