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Peer Journal Publication Just One Highlight for Human Performance Student

Published: September 14, 2012
Ryan Lowery ’14, student manager for the UT Phonathon, said he is proud to be a part of UT’s growth.
Ryan Lowery ’14, student manager for the UT Phonathon, said he is proud to be a part of UT’s growth.
Ryan Lowery ’14 doesn’t have trouble speaking to corporate CEOs or packed conference ballrooms about the research he and his classmates have been doing at The University of Tampa.

It’s not a faked confidence either, where he’s falling apart inside but able to keep a cool demeanor.

“He has the maturity of a seasoned research veteran,” said Jacob Wilson, assistant professor of health sciences and human performance. “He’s a great speaker.”

That confidence paid off at the National Strength and Conditioning Conference — one of two national conferences at which Wilson, who was the keynote at both, had students presenting published abstracts. Lowery, who was the lead on an abstract with Wilson and students Jordan Joy and Joe Walters, received the Undergraduate Student Research Award for an Outstanding Poster Presentation for his composure in giving his presented abstract.

“I really feel comfortable with it,” said Lowery, an allied health major with a concentration in physical therapy. “We know the material so well. We live it.”

The research, “Effects of Practical Blood Flow Restriction Training on Acute Muscle Activation and Muscle Swelling,” focused on a new training technique that allows for lower intensity lifting of weights with a resulted gain in muscle as if lifting heavier loads, a technique that could be advantageous with patients in rehabilitation or the elderly.

Lowery, a member of UT’s baseball team, took two of Wilson’s courses as a freshman and was asked to help out with a baseball study.

“I’ve loved it ever since,” said Lowery, who plans to earn his master’s and doctorate and work in industry research.

He’s on his way as the 20-year-old from Butler, NJ, found out two weeks ago that another of his studies was accepted by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research called the "Effects of Potentiating Stimuli Intensity under Varying Rest Periods on Vertical Jump Performance and Power."

He compares the research to baseball, which is no far stretch for the UT athlete. Baseball players use a weighted, 50-ounce donut on the end of their bats during warm-ups with the idea that when they swing the lighter bat when they are at the plate, they’ll be able to swing harder.

Lowery, along with Wilson, studied whether the amount of weight used in these warm-ups and how long the athlete waited between the warm-up and the actual performance mattered. Turns out, there is better performance if the athlete waits between 4 and 8 minutes between warm-up and play.

Lowery tried it himself on the ball field. Were there results?

“Absolutely,” he said. “Now, rather than warm-up on deck, I warm-up in the hole. That gives me the 4-6 minute window so that I’ll be at peak when I go to swing.”

This kind of direct impact learning is what keeps Lowery challenged. He also is partial to the camaraderie in the human performance lab, which is good since he said he spends more time in the lab than in his residence hall.

“We have a close-knit team,” Lowery said. “It makes you feel like you’re at home when you’re in the lab.”

When not in the lab working on grant studies or on the baseball field practicing, Lowery is the student manager for the UT Phonathon. Practicing what he preaches about giving back to UT, he donates what he could be taking home in paid wages from the Phonathon back to the University.

“You can’t put a price tag on the close-knit, family atmosphere we have created in the lab and just having access to Dr. Wilson is something people would empty their pockets for,” Lowery said.

“Donating some time back to the school that gave me this opportunity and changed my life forever is the least I can do,” he said. “Just over the past three years I have been here I have seen the changes that have been made possible by the Phonathon, and it really makes me proud to have been a part of it.” 

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