Q&A: The 2nd Edition of ACSM's Advance Exercise Physiology
By Peter A. Farrell, Ph.D., FACSM

Peter A. Farrell, Ph.D., FACSM, is a Professor of Kinesiology at East Carolina University. In 2003, he was awarded the Citation Award from the American College of Sports Medicine. He is a member of the National Academy of Kinesiology and served as an Exercise Councilor for Exercise Physiology in the American Physiological Society. Dr. Farrell taught Advanced Exercise Physiology at Penn State University for 16 years. His research focuses on endocrine aspects of exercise physiology.

The second edition of ACSM’s Advanced Exercise Physiology was just released by ACSM’s publishing partner Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Peter A. Farrell, Ph.D. FACSM; Michael J. Joyner, M.D., FACSM; and Vincent J. Caiozzo, Ph.D., FACSM edited this extensive update. They collaborated with a team of internationally prominent scientists that revised the individual chapters, each an expert in one of the many topic areas addressed in the publication.

SMB had the opportunity to ask Dr. Farrell a few questions about this update – especially how it differs from the first edition.

SMB: What is the purpose of this book?

Dr. Farrell: ACSM and the editors responded to the need for a textbook that bridges the gap between a first exposure to exercise physiology (undergraduate course) and an in-depth understanding of how each of the physiological systems responds and adapts to exercise. Each chapter summarizes decades of scientific inquiry about a particular system and presents a factually correct and current summary of how that system responds to exercise.

SMB: What are the unique features that set this publication apart from other exercise physiology textbooks?

Dr. Farrell: Most of the same authors from the first edition contributed to the second edition of ACSM’s Advanced Exercise Physiology. These authorities are outstanding scientists and educators. They are the people graduate students should seek if they want excellent information and synthesis of that information (insights) about how a physiological system functions during exercise. The depth of coverage of each system is extensive, and the authors have addressed the complexity of physiological responses to exercise. The chapters discuss mechanisms of how particular systems adapt to both chronic and acute exercise. Because environmental factors alter physiological responses to exercise, the book also includes chapters on the major environmental influences including heat, cold and various extremes in barometric pressure. This makes the second edition of ACSM’s Advanced Exercise Physiology unlike undergraduate exercise physiology textbooks, which describe an adaptation or response to exercise but do not explain why that adaptation or response occurs. The editors felt that, at the graduate level in exercise physiology, it is important to try to understand mechanisms that explain observations.

SMB: How have scientific updates from the newest literature been addressed, and is the text organized any differently than the first edition?

Dr. Farrell: All content has been updated to include the latest science in each topic area, and we made an attempt to integrate the chapters. When a particular topic was covered by more than one chapter, we referenced the other chapters. Because the material presented is complicated, we made several organizational changes to the second edition, with the intention of increasing comprehension of the material. We have added color to the second edition, and this increases the clarity of the graphs, figures and diagrams.

The chapters now include summary statements, brief summaries of key concepts that have been addressed in particular sections of the text. These summaries appear periodically throughout the chapter. There are now “test yourself” questions developed by authors to have students stop reading and think about what they just read. These questions require the students to synthesize the material in the previous one or two pages. These are also in color and set apart in the text.

The second edition also includes key points, which are short bullets that state important facts. These are also in color and spread throughout the chapter. Finally, the “Milestones of Discovery” features from the first edition have been updated. These milestones review classic studies that either opened up new avenues of investigation about a certain topic in exercise physiology or laid a foundation for work which followed based on these seminal papers. These have been updated and are explained in detail.

This book will serve as an exceptional learning tool for advanced students who need an in-depth understanding of how systems and the organism respond to acute and chronic exercise. The physiological complexity of exercise is apparent but this book organizes and clarifies what is currently known about that complexity.