Sports sciences

Sport sciences service

At the Olympic and Paralympic Games, small differences often separate medallists from other competitors. Athletes must therefore have the latest scientific and technological advances to better leverage their talent, efforts and commitment.

Just as physical preparation and performance analysis, research and innovation are at the heart of INS Québec’s mission. Scientific activities are carried out in INS Québec’s laboratories and in partnership with university research units and private companies.

INS Québec welcomes companies that develop products, software or methods that can be used by resident and non-resident high-performance training groups. Research and innovation initiatives concern all sciences related to high-performance sports: biomechanics, physiology, psychology, learning movements and strategies, etc.

Serving athletes through science


The body composition of an athlete is measured with a Bod Pod. This non-invasive and precise device uses air displacement plethysmography to determine body density, which helps assess lean and fat body mass.

Performance analysis

In the exercise physiology laboratory, maximum oxygen consumption (VO2max) and gesture efficiency can be measured using the Vmax metabolic trolley. The portable metabolic device Cosmed K5 also allows us to test the athlete on the sports field. The h/p/cosmos treadmill is suitable for high-performance athletes thanks to its variable speed and slope features over a vast area. Other devices are also used to better simulate the sport of the athlete, for example, Lode ergocycles and ergometers simulating kayaking or canoeing.

To assess aerobic fitness, anaerobic fitness, or the ability to repeat sprints in athletes evolving in sports which namely solicit the upper extremities, we rely on Lode arm ergometer stress tests which may deliver a load up to 2500 watts.

During run, swim or skate sprint sessions (by assistance or with resistance), INS Québec physical trainers can measure power, strength, speed and acceleration using a portable device, the 1080 Sprint. The ability to quickly change direction is also assessed.

Several devices enable INS Québec scientists to make physiological measurements on the sports field. For example, using a maximal test with a progressive increase of the speed, one can evaluate in the swimming pool cardiorespiratory aptitude while monitoring the evolution of key parameters throughout the stages: perception of the exertion, heart rate, lactate blood concentration, etc. At altitude, a finger saturometer is used to measure blood oxygen levels in athletes.

Neuromuscular performance

Using the vertical jump on force plate test, physical trainers measure pulse, force and flight time, as well as other indicators of neuromuscular function, which are very useful in tracking the daily training load of the athletes.

Performance analysis

INS Québec scientists provide daily monitoring and analysis of energy, neuromuscular and technical performance. For example, video measurements and analysis can quickly provide useful feedback for learning and developing complex gestures, while providing insight into the technical analysis that coaches need to appropriately train athletes.

One of the key elements in the daily performance analysis that INS Québec scientists undertake is based on biomechanical measurements carried out during exertion using dynamometric sensors positioned on various members of the athlete.

Performance monitoring and analysis

Athletes, coaches, sports administrators and the scientific and medical staff of INS Québec use a computer system (developed for INS Québec by the Quebec company Hexfit©) which allows to record, organize, share and present scientific, sports and medical data in the form of updated real-time dashboards. This facilitates the work of all members of the integrated support team who must constantly make objective decisions that promote performance while reducing the risk of injury or excessive training.


INS Québec offers athletes a service aimed at improving physical and mental recovery that uses innovative technologies and protocols, based on the latest scientific developments. For example, athletes have access to blood flow stimulators such as VeinoplusSport©, cold baths (which allow, according to some protocols, to reduce aches and pains) and cutting-edge methods promoting rest and relaxation and therefore, regeneration between intensive training sessions.


At the sleep clinic of INS Québec sports medicine clinic, athletes can use massage jet beds for accelerated recovery or more restorative sleep. They also have the opportunity to assess their activity during their sleep in a very precise way using Motion Watch© triaxial digital accelerometers. The goal is primarily to improve their sleep, but also to develop individual strategies geared to limit the negative effects of the long flights needed to get to training or competition sites.

Research and Innovation Committee (RIC)

Made up of scientific, medical and professional specialists from academic and private sectors, the Research and Innovation Committee (CRI) advises the l’Institut national du sport du Québec on all issues related to its scientific and technical activities, whether ongoing or planned. The IRC also helps INS Québec achieve its goals of becoming and remaining the meeting place of high-performance sports research in Quebec and to shine on the Canadian and international scenes.

Appointed by the president and CEO of INS Québec, the members are chosen for their expertise (and not as representatives of their organizations). Participation in the projects of the IRC is voluntary. Designated persons remain members for at least two years. To address specific issues, other specialists can join the IRC, including people from abroad. The working sessions (held as needed, approximately four per year) are led by the director of sports sciences at INS Québec, who is accompanied by the medical director. Other staff members may attend CRI exchanges. Between meetings, INS Québec shares relevant information and can consult deferred members.

Committee members
Mrs Christiane Barette, MEDTEQ

Mr Mickaël Begon, Université de Montréal

Mr Louis Bherer, Institut de cardiologie de Montréal

Mrs Theresa Bianco, Université Concordia

Mr François Billaut, Université Laval

Mrs Geneviève Dutil, LX Sim

Mr Jean-Philippe Gagnon, Innovitech

Mr Éric Goulet, Université de Sherbrooke

Mr Jeff Haince, SOVAR

Pierre Harvey, EKOGEN

Mrs Marielle Ledoux, Université de Montréal

Mr Stéphane Perreault, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières

Mr Bernard Petiot, Cirque du Soleil

Mr Denis Rancourt, Université de Sherbrooke

Mr Pierre Sercia, Université du Québec à Montréal

Dr Ian Shrier, Université McGill

Mr Jonathan Tremblay, Université de Montréal

Mr Maxime Trempe, Université Bishop’s

Mr Pierre Trudel, Université d’Ottawa

Internships at INS Québec

INS Québec scientists are available to supervise interns each semester. This is an exceptional chance for students to put their knowledge into practice while contributing to the services provided by the scientific team. Such opportunities to be immersed in a high-performance sports setting are rare and may vary according the demands of the different sports and scientific projects. Internships require working at INS Québec facilities and occasionally at different training and competition locations.

If you are a student and would like to take on an internship in high-performance sports sciences, you may submit your CV and state your reasons for applying using the link in the Careers section. Applications will be assessed each semester based on needs.