Nine male elite wheelchair athletes performed a continuous progressive exercise test on a wheelchair ergometer to determine peak oxygen uptake. Three were paraplegic distance track competitors (SCI–TR), three were amputee distance track athletes (AMP–TR), and three were paraplegic basketball players (SCI–BB). Analysis of variance indicated a significant difference in the relative peak oxygen uptake between the groups, with the SCI–TR and AMP–TR groups having higher values than the SCI–BB group. No group differences were found in age, mass, oxygen uptake, ventilation, heart rate, ventilatory equivalent for oxygen, and oxygen pulse at maximal exercise. The absence of the mass of the lower extremities in the AMP–TR group has a significant effect on peak oxygen uptake relative to body mass, and relative peak oxygen uptake differences between individual SCI–TR and AMP–TR athletes did not appear to reflect performance differences in actual distance track events.
Request reprints from Kenneth D. Coutts, Department of Exercise Sciences, University of British Columbia, 6081 University Blvd., Vancouver, B.C. V6T 1W5.