Yoga Poses Chart

Max Values of Elite Athletes

Given the linear relationship between oxygen consumption and running speed (see Exercises 2.2), we might conclude that those elite athletes who have the abilities to maintain the fastest running speeds for prolonged periods of time must have much greater capacities for maximum oxygen consumption than do ordinary mortals. This is indeed so, and Exercises 2.1 shows the range of V02max values recorded in some elite athletes.

The highest reported V02max value for a male runner is that of Dave Bedford (85 ml/kg/min); the highest for a female runner is 77 ml/kg/min for a 2:36 marathoner (Gregor et al, 1981). The highest value ever recorded in any athlete is 93 ml/kg/min for a Scandinavian cross-country skier (Bergh, 1982). In contrast, V02max values measured in otherwise healthy young men and women are much lower, usually between 45 and 55 ml/kg/min (Kruss et al, 1989; Wyndham et al, 1966), about 60% lower than in elite athletes. Because V02max can be improved by only 5 to 15% even with intensive training, it is clear that the average healthy individual will never achieve a V02max value anywhere near those of the elite athletes, no matter how much he or she trains. Therefore, because V02max is an indirect measure of potential for success in endurance activities, it is clear that hereditary factors must play important roles in determining who will become champions.

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Even among elite athletes with quite similar performances, V02max values may vary quite dramatically. For example, consider the cases of Steve Prefon-taine and Frank Shorter, two athletes whose V02max values differed by 16% yet whose best mile times differed by less than 8 seconds (3.4%); their best 3-mile

The idea that the V02max test can predict how well any runner will ever perform on the road has been propagated in many scientific and lay publications (Costill, 1967; Costill et al, 1973; C.T.M. Davies & Thompson, 1979; C. Foster, 1983; C. Foster et al, 1978; Matsui et al, 1972; Miyashita et al, 1978; Wyndham et al, 1969). An important feature of all these studies is that they have looked at groups of athletes of quite different abilities, including the very good and the very bad. When this approach is used, the results are as expected. The slow athletes have low V02max values, and the fast runners have much higher V02max values.

However, when we study groups of athletes with very similar running performances, for example the athletes listed in Exercises 2.2, then we find that the V02max becomes a far less sensitive predictor of performance (Conley & Krahenbuhl, 1980; Costill & Winrow, 1970a, 1970b; Noakes et al, 1990a; Pollock, 1977).

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