Factors in maximal power production and in exercise endurance relative to maximal power

Summary

The relationship of muscle fiber type and mass to maximal power production and the maintenance of power (endurance time to exhaustion) at 36%, 55%, and 73% of maximal power was investigated in 18 untrained but physically active men. Power output was determined at constant pedalling rate (60 rev · min−1) on a cycle ergometer instrumented with force transducers and interfaced with a computer. Maximal power was determined for each subject as the highest one-revolution average power. Fat-free mass was determined by hydrostatic weighing, fat-free thigh volume by water displacement and skinfold measurement, and percent age and area of type 11 fibers from biopsy specimens taken from the vastus lateralis. Maximal power averaged 771 ± 149 W with a range of 527–1125 W. No significant correlations were found among percentage of type II fibers, relative area of type II fibers, or fat-free thigh volume and maximal power or endurance times to exhaustion at any percentage of maximal power. Weak but significant relationships were found for fat free mass with both maximal power (r=0.57) and endurance time at 73% of maximal power (r= -0.47). These results show maximal power to be more dependent on factors related to body size than muscle-fiber characteristics. The low correlations for so many of the relationships, however, suggest that individuals employ either different combinations of these factors or utilize other strategies for the generation of high power.

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Correspondence to J. F. Patton.

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Human subjects participated in these studies after giving their free and informed voluntary consent. Investigators adhered to AR 70-25 and USAMRDC regulation 70-25 on Use of Volunteers in Research.

The views, opinions, and/or findings contained in this report are those of the author(s) and should not be construed as an official Department of the Army position, policy, or decision, unless so designated by other official documentation.

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Patton, J.F., Kraemer, W.J., Knuttgen, H.G. et al. Factors in maximal power production and in exercise endurance relative to maximal power. Europ. J. Appl. Physiol. 60, 222–227 (1990). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00839163

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Key words

  • Anaerobic exercise
  • Muscle fiber type
  • Fat-free thigh volume
  • Cycle ergometry