Staff profile

Dr Joel Chidley

Lecturer in Sport Outdoor and Exercise Science

Dr Joel Chidley mountain biking in Canada


Outdoor and Adventure Sport, Sport and Exercise Science


College of Science and Engineering


School of Human Sciences

Research centre

Human Sciences Research Centre


Kedleston Road, Derby Campus, Oaklands Manor, Buxton Campus



I am a Lecturer, and Level 6 Lead, in Sport Outdoor and Exercise Science, teaching primarily on the outdoor degree programmes, BSc (Hons) Adventure Sport and Coaching Science and BA (Hons) Outdoor Leadership and Management. I have a background competing in both the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) Downhill Mountain World Cup and the Enduro World Series, and competing internationally in alpine ski racing.

Professionally, I am able to combine my passion for science and the outdoors, teaching both research methods and exercise physiology in the context of adventure sports, such as climbing, kayaking, and mountain biking and diving.

My research background is in exercise psychophysiology and behaviour, investigating the use of drugs to manipulate perceptual responses (particularly the perception of effort) to exercise. I completed my PhD - Pharmacological facilitation of physical activity behaviour: an experimental medicine approach - at the University of Kent in December 2018.

Teaching responsibilities

I lead and teach modules on applied and environmental physiology of adventure sport as well as research methods and the independent study module, where final year students conduct their own original research investigations.

I also contribute to an advanced coaching module, applying my mountain biking expertise (check out one of our mountain biking residential in Scotland in 2018), and a module on adventure and human endurance.

Research interests

I have two parallel research interests, which are physical activity behaviour, from a health perspective, and adventure sport performance. These two areas are inextricably linked by their relationship with exercise tolerance, as exercise tolerance is a factor influencing decisions to engage in regular physical activity but also a performance-limiting factor for even the most elite athletes.

My current health-related research is investigating the use of interventions to facilitate physical activity behaviour by creating a more desirable psychological response to exercise, such as less effort, less pain, and more enjoyment. The majority of this work is based on using pharmacological interventions (drugs). However, since starting at the University of Derby in 2017, being fortunate enough to be based in the beautiful Peak District on the Buxton campus, I am also interested in the effect of exposure to natural outdoor environments on the way we feel during exercise.

From a performance perspective, I am currently developing work with undergraduate students on the use of video to optimise competition practice in the mountain biking discipline of Endure. I am also working with colleagues and our industry partners at Lattice Training to understand performance characteristics of rock climbers.


Other (non academic) training and qualifications

Recent conferences

Poster presentation – 4th Annual Centre for Behaviour Change Conference – Behaviour Change for Health: Digital & Beyond (London, February 2018) titled, “Doping for ‘couch potatoes’: caffeine influences exercise-related choice.” NB, presented by a co-author.

Verbal (symposium) and poster presentation – The Society for the Study of Motivation’s Annual Convention (in Chicago, May 2016) titled, “Doping for ‘couch potatoes’: caffeine influences exercise-related choice.” 

Verbal (symposium) and poster presentation – The Association for Psychological Science’s Annual Convention (in Chicago, May 2016) titled, “A New Psychobiological Model of Physical Activity Behaviour.” 

Poster presentation – The Physiological Society’s Biomedical Basis of Elite Performance (March 2016) titled, “Doping for ‘couch potatoes’: caffeine influences exercise-related choice.” 

Verbal presentation – Endurance Research Conference – hosted by the University of Kent (September 2015) titled, “Doping for physical activity: caffeine increases preference and influences preference for high-intensity interval training.” 

Poster presentation - BASES Annual Conference (November 2014) titled, “Characteristics explaining performance in downhill mountain biking.”

In the media

During the particularly cold snap in winter 2017/18, I had the pleasure of appearing on BBC Radio Derby to discuss cold perception, cold adaptation and the concept of ‘nesh’. I look forward to future opportunities.

Recent publications

For my most recent research, take a look at my ResearchGate profile.

Giles, D., Chidley, J., Taylor, N., Torr, O., Hadley, J., Randall, T., & Fryer, S. (2019). The determination of finger flexor critical force in rock climbers. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance.

Chidley, J. B., MacGregor, A. L., Martin, C., Arthur, C. A., & Macdonald, J. H. (2015). Characteristics Explaining Performance in Downhill Mountain Biking. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 10(2), 183–190