Scaling Behavior of V̇O2peak in Trained Wheelchair Athletes

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GOOSEY-TOLFREY, V. L., A. M. BATTERHAM, and K. TOLFREY. Scaling Behavior of V̇O2peak in Trained Wheelchair Athletes. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 35, No. 12, pp. 2106–2111, 2003.PurposeTo examine the scaling behavior of peak oxygen uptake (V̇O2peak) in wheelchair athletes, adjusting for known covariates.MethodsBody mass, V̇O2peak, and an estimate of adiposity (sum of four skinfolds) were determined in a sample of 45 highly trained wheelchair basketball and racing athletes. The participants were classified as possessing either “high” or “low” trunk stability and balance using recognized sporting classifications. A wheelchair ergometer was used to obtain the V̇O2peak measurements. The relationship between V̇O2peak and body mass was obtained via a nonlinear allometric model with the sum of four skinfolds, trunk stability and balance, and chronological age entered as covariates.ResultsThe point estimate exponent for body mass was 0.82 (95% CI, 0.54–1.10). After controlling for the influence of body mass, adiposity, and age, the wheelchair athletes with greater trunk stability and balance had on average an 11% greater V̇O2peak. The regression model explained 54% of the sample variance in V̇O2peak.ConclusionsThe obtained mass exponent of 0.82 is congruent with that predicted from the multiple-causes allometric cascade model and consideration of the physiological characteristics of spinal cord injured athletes. To compare the body size-independent V̇O2peak values of athletes within the study sample, the mass exponent of 0.82 may be adopted (i.e., mL·kg−0.82·min−1). The uncertainty in the point estimate, reflected in the relatively wide 95% CI, highlights the need for further research with larger samples to increase the precision of estimation.

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