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Christopher Kirk BSc (Hons), MSc (by Research), PGCE, CSci, CSCS

Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Physiology


I am an applied physiologist, S&C coach and researcher and I teach exercise physiology and strength & conditioning on both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. My interests are the application of physiological first principles to improving combat sports performance and athlete health across the lifespan, with my main focus being MMA.


I completed my BSc (Hons) here at Sheffield Hallam in 2003, my MSc (by Research) at University of Central Lancashire in 2014, and I am currently undertaking a PhD in Sport and Exercise Physiology at Liverpool John Moores University. I have been teaching and lecturing since 2006, first in a number of FE colleges and then at the University of Derby before joining SHU in 2020. I use my breadth of experience to make the science of sport and exercise accessible and applicable for all our students to allow them to achieve their goals and pick their own futures. In my applied practice I have provided S&C coaching and physiological interventions for a wide range of sports including rugby, American football, GAA, taekwondo, MMA, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, para-swimming, athletics and Olympic weightlifting. My practice includes novice athletes and international standard performers, but I approach each with the same goal - to utilise physiological first principles to improve their performance and health throughout their lives. My research is focussed on the performance and health of combat sports athletes, with MMA being my main area of interest. I work closely with the International MMA Federation, the English MMA Association and I maintain strong links with gyms, coaches, promoters, governing bodies and research groups across the globe.


I currently serve as The Physiological Society representative for Sheffield Hallam.

Sport and exercise physiology; Strength and conditioning

BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science; MSc Applied Sport and Exercise Science; MSc Strength and Conditioning Coaching.


Training loads and training practices of MMA and other combat sports; Weight management and weight making in combat sports; Physiology and long term health of MMA and other combat sports athletes.

In my research and applied practice I work closely with the International MMA Federation, the English MMA Association and a range of high level combat sports clubs, coaches and athletes.


Vasconcelos, B.B., Protzen, G.V., Galliano, L.M., Kirk, C., & Del Vecchio, F.B. (2020). Effects of High-Intensity Interval Training in Combat Sports: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 34 (3), 888-900.

Kirk, C., Clark, D.R., Langan-Evans, C., & Morton, J.P. (2020). The physical demands of mixed martial arts: A narrative review using the ARMSS model to provide a hierarchy of evidence. Journal of Sports Sciences, 38 (24), 2819-2841.

Kirk, C., Langan-Evans, C., & Morton, J.P. (2020). Worth the weight? Post weigh-in rapid weight gain is not related to winning or losing in professional mixed martial arts. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 30 (5), 357-361.

Kirk, C. (2018). The relationship between age and divisional rank in professional mixed martial arts. Facta Universitatis, Series: Physical Education and Sport, 16 (1), 073.

Kirk, C. (2018). Does anthropometry influence technical factors in competitive mixed martial arts? Human Movement, 19 (2), 46-59.

Kirk, C. (2016). Does Stature or Wingspan Length Have a Positive Effect on Competitor Rankings or Attainment of World Title Bouts in International and Elite Mixed Martial Arts? Sport Science Review, 25 (5-6), 334-349.

Kirk, C. (2016). The influence of age and anthropometric variables on winning and losing in professional mixed martial arts. Facta Universitatis Series : Physical Education and Sport, 14 (2), 227-236.

Kirk, C., Hurst, H., & Atkins, S. (2015). Comparison of the Training Loads of Mixed Martial Arts Techniques in Isolated Training and Open Sparring. Journal of Combat Sports and Martial Arts, 6 (1), 15-20.

Kirk, C., Hurst, H.T., & Atkins, S. (2015). Measuring the workload of mixed martial arts using accelerometry, time motion analysis and lactate. International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport, 15 (1), 359-370.

Stephen Atkins, H.T.H. (n.d.). Reliability of a Portable Accelerometer for Measuring Workload during Mixed Martial Arts. Journal of Athletic Enhancement, 03 (05).

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