A pop-up research lab has been installed at Abertay University as part of a unique project with former world boxing champion Hannah Rankin.
The facility in the Division of Sports and Exercise Sciences in Dundee provides a space to explore and analyse techniques used in female boxing, with a focus on improving safety and training methods.
Above: Hannah views her data collected in Abertay's sports analysis labs by (l-r) the University's Dr John Babraj and PhD student and elite boxing coach, Andrew Usher.
Set up to build on an existing research relationship with the elite Scottish athlete, the temporary lab includes a competition size ring, a training bag rig and access to the Division’s range of professional performance monitoring equipment, including 3D motion capture, biomechanics analysis, a climate simulation tent, upper and lower body cycle ergometers, cardiovascular gas analysers, skeletal muscle oxygenation, blood analysis as well as other pieces of specialist sports science kit.
'The pop-up lab will allow us to expand the range of data collected as we continue to take a holistic view of boxing as a sport, including how participant safety can potentially be improved upon and training techniques made better' - Dr John Babraj
Hannah has been working with the University since 2021 and this latest project will allow Abertay’s sports scientists to further advance what is the UK’s first extensive data set for a professional female boxer.
Abertay students will also benefit from being able to engage with an elite athlete and learn how analysis in this area is conducted.
The work is being conducted by Dr John Babraj, Senior Lecturer in Exercise Physiology and his PhD research student Andrew Usher, an exercise physiologist to Hannah and several other professional boxers, including Scottish, European and World champions.
Dr Babraj said the lab provides a space in which training techniques can be evaluated in a controlled environment.
He added: “Hannah has been a joy to engage with since we began working to create this important data set and her commitment to sharing these outputs with the University shows how much she cares about advancing women’s boxing, and also about giving back to the next generation of athletes and coaches following on behind her.
“The pop-up lab will allow us to expand the range of data collected as we continue to take a holistic view of boxing as a sport, including how participant safety can potentially be improved upon and training techniques made better.”
Hannah said: “Working with Abertay has opened my eyes to the benefits of taking a scientific, data-driven approach to my training regime and the research that will come out of my time at the University is something I’m really proud of – I hope this becomes part of my contribution to women’s boxing.
“I’m passionate about supporting young people, particularly women and girls, and I really hope that the sport can continue to evolve through a research-led approach, while retaining the values of discipline, respect and teamwork that are already so embedded in all that we do.”
Abertay's Sport and Exercise Science courses are ranked in the UK top 20 for teaching satisfaction and top among Scottish modern universities (Guardian University Guide 2023). To find out more about research and study options at Abertay visit the Division of Sport and Exercise Sciences pages.