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Aerobic performance capacity in athletes

Summary

Maximal oxygen uptake (max\(\dot V\)O2) in leg and arm work, succinate dehydrogenase activity (SDH) and percentage of slow twitch fibers (%ST fibers) in M. vastus lateralis (VL), M. gastrocnemius c.l. (GL) and M. deltoideus (D) were studied in 89 athletes practising 11 different sport events. It was found that maximal oxygen uptake correlated positively with %ST fibers and SDH activity in M. VL. The SDH activity and %ST fibers in M. VL correlated also with one another. The results suggest that oxidative capacity of the muscles is not the limiting factor for maximal oxygen uptake. The role of the oxidative capacity of the muscles might be important during submaximal work of long duration and when a relatively small muscle mass is activated (long-distance running). Max\(\dot V\)O2 might be the most important determinant of performance when large muscle mass is activated during maximal work of a duration from several minutes up to 1 h (cross-country skiing).

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Rusko, H., Havu, M. & Karvinen, E. Aerobic performance capacity in athletes. Europ. J. Appl. Physiol. 38, 151–159 (1978). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00421531

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Key words

  • Athletes
  • Maximal oxygen uptake
  • Muscle fiber distribution
  • Enzyme activity