Three papers which between them raise controversial issues, apply laboratory measures to sport performance, and expose gaps in knowledge were selected for commentary. The first paper (Sports Med. 2016;46:1451–1460) reviews the literature on peak V̇O2 in relation to body size and recommends that peak V̇O2 in youth is best expressed via allometric scaling of lean body mass. The second paper (Pediatr Exerc Sci. 2016;28:456–465) reports that maturity status has no effect on peak V̇O2, respiratory compensation point, or ventilatory threshold in youth soccer players once data have been allometrically normalized by lower limb muscle volume. It concludes that in future this technique should be used to compare the aerobic fitness of youth soccer players. The third paper (Eur J Appl Physiol. 2016;116:1781–1794) demonstrates that V̇O2 kinetics determined in a laboratory is related to measures associated with soccer match play and might distinguish superior performance within a group of highly trained youth players. The commentary stresses the importance of experimental rigor, emphasizes the need for appropriate scaling of physiological variables, challenges spurious correlations with health-related variables, endorses the use of a range of aerobic fitness measures, welcomes the application of laboratory data to sport performance, and identifies areas for future research.
The author is with the Children’s Health and Exercise Research Centre, University of Exeter, UK.