School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


Dr Richard Ferguson

Photo of Dr Richard Ferguson

Senior Lecturer in Exercise Physiology

Richard graduated with a BSc in Sport and Exercise Science (1994) from the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at The University of Birmingham before completing an MPhil in Cardiovascular Physiology (1996) also at Birmingham. He then moved to Manchester Metropolitan University where he completed his PhD investigating the energetics and efficiency of skeletal muscle (2000).

He was then appointed as a Lecturer at the University of Strathclyde before moving to Loughborough in 2007 as a Senior Lecturer in Exercise Physiology.  He lectures in the field of Exercise Physiology and is Programme Director for the BSc in Sport and Exercise Science.

He is an active and competitive cyclist.

Richard’s research fits within the Schools themes of Lifestyle for Health and Well-being; and Sports Performance, where there is also a significant overlap. His current primary interest is peripheral vascular function and adaptation.

Lifestyle for Health and Well-being

A greater understanding of the peripheral vascular modifications to novel forms of exercise and exercise training has been an increasingly important direction that been pursued over the last 5 years. Work is continuing in collaboration with Dr David Adlam, Consultant Cardiologist at University Hospitals of Leicester Cardiovascular BRU where we use a translational approach involving measurements of peripheral vascular function (Doppler ultrasound, plethsmography) coupled with sampling and analysis of endothelial cells from conduit arteries to investigate the molecular events underlying the adaptive responses to exercise training across a range of populations including older people and patients with chronic diseases.

Current PhD students

  • Dr Farhana Rimi: The role of endothelial cells in vascular adaptation to exercise interventions in humans: an integrated approach across the lifespan (Clinical PhD starting July 2016)

Sports Performance

Utilising a broad area of interest and expertise work has investigated factors that enhance sports performance including muscle temperature effects on skeletal muscle metabolism and power output, blood flow restricted resistance training, post-exercise circulatory occlusion, use of novel electro-stimulation stimulation devices to enhance recovery, as well as sport specific performance physiology. Work is continuing in collaboration across a number of institutions (e.g. English Institute of Sport; Umea University, Sweden; University of Ljubljana, Slovenia)

Current PhD students

  • Emma Mitchell: Blood flow restriction and ischaemic pre-conditioning interventions for enhancing performance and adaptation.
  • Conor Taylor: Maximising adaptive responses in well trained athletes (co-supervisor: Dr Steve Ingham, English Institute of Sport)
  • Robert Nilsson: Physiological variables determining alpine skiing performance (co-supervisor: Prof Christer Malm, Umea University, Sweden; funded by Swedish Ski Federation)

PhD completions

  • Dr Emilia Thompson: Evaluating forearm vascular adaptations to training interventions: an in vivo and in vitro approach. (May 2015).
  • Dr Julie E. Hunt. The impact of blood flow restricted exercise on the peripheral vasculature. (December 2013).
  • Dr Naroa Etxebarria. Physiology and performance of cycling and running during Olympic distance triathlon. (June 2013).
  • Dr Stephen D. Patterson. Enhancing muscle function in older people through a novel method of resistance training with circulatory occlusion. (October 2011).
  • Dr Stuart R. Gray. Temperature and in vivo human skeletal muscle function and metabolism. (May 2007).

External Funding

  • Technology Strategy Board (with First Kind Limited – Sky Medical Technology). ‘Project to prove the concept of a novel type of neuromuscular stimulation to improve recovery from muscle fatigue and injuries in elite sports athletes’. January 2012. 9 months. £79,992.
  • Sky Medical Technology. ‘Validation of the role of OnPulse technology as a method of enhancing recovery after competition and injury’. February 2011. 6 months. £40,000.
  • Strategic Promotion of Ageing Research Capacity (BBSRC/EPSRC). 'Temperature and velocity interactions in neuromuscular function during locomotion in the elderly'. October 2006. 12 months. £51,322.

Regular invited reviewer for:

  • Journal of Applied Physiology
  • Experimental Physiology
  • European Journal of Applied Physiology
  • Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
  • Journal of Sports Sciences
  • Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sport

Lifestyle for Health and Well-being

  • Hunt, J. E. A., Galea, D., Tufft, G., Bunce, D., & Ferguson, R. A. (2013) Time course of regional vascular adaptations to low load resistance training with blood flow restriction. Journal of Applied Physiology 115, 403-411
  • Hunt, J. E. A, Walton, L. A & Ferguson, R. A. (2012). Brachial artery modifications to blood flow restricted handgrip training and detraining. Journal of Applied Physiology 112, 956-961
  • Patterson, S. D. & Ferguson, R. A. (2011). Resistance training with blood flow restriction enhances the increase in strength and peak post occlusive calf blood flow in older people. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity 19, 201-213.
  • Krustrup, P., Söderlund, K., Ferguson, R. A. & Bangsbo, J. (2009). Heterogeneous recruitment of quadriceps muscle portions and fibre types during moderate intensity knee-extensor exercise: effect of thigh occlusion. Scandinavian Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport 19, 576-584

 Sports Performance

  • Taylor, C. W., Ingham, S. A. & Ferguson R. A. (2015). Acute and chronic effect of sprint interval training combined with post-exercise blood flow restriction in trained individuals. Experimental Physiology. 101, 143-154
  • Thompson, E.B., Farrow, L., Hunt, J. E, Lewis, M. P. & Ferguson, R. A. (2015).  Brachial artery characteristics and micro-vascular filtration capacity in rock climbers. European Journal of Sport Science. 15: 296-304.
  • Faulkner, S. H., Ferguson, R. A., Hodder, S. G. & Havenith, G. (2013). External muscle heating during warm-up does not provide added performance benefit above external heating in the recovery period alone. European Journal of Applied Physiology. 113, 2713–2721
  • Faulkner, S. H., Ferguson, R. A., Gerrett, N., Hodder, S. G. Hupperets, M. & Havenith, G. (2013). Reducing muscle temperature drop post warm-up improves sprint cycling performance. Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise 45, 359-365.