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Thomas Haugen, Gøran Paulsen, Stephen Seiler, and Øyvind Sandbakk

Maximal aerobic and anaerobic power are crucial performance determinants in most sport disciplines. Numerous studies have published power data from elite athletes over the years, particularly in runners, cyclists, rowers, and cross-country (XC) skiers. This invited review defines the current “world records” in human upper limits of aerobic and anaerobic power. Currently, V˙O2max values of ∼7.5 and 7.0 L·min−1 in male XC skiers and rowers, respectively, and/or ∼90 mL·kg−1·min−1 in XC skiers, cyclists, and runners can be described as upper human limits for aerobic power. Corresponding values for women are slightly below 5.0 L·min−1 in rowers and XC skiers and ∼80 mL·kg−1·min−1 in XC skiers and runners. Extremely powerful male athletes may reach ∼85 W·kg−1 in countermovement jump (peak vertical power) and ∼36 W·kg−1 in sprint running (peak horizontal power), cycling (instantaneous power during force–velocity testing from a standing position), and rowing (instantaneous power). Similarly, their female counterparts may reach ∼70 W·kg−1 in countermovement jump and ∼30 W·kg−1 in sprint running, cycling, and rowing. The presented values can serve as reference values for practitioners and scientists working with elite athletes. However, several methodological considerations should be taken into account when interpreting the results. For example, calibrated apparatus and strict procedures are required to ensure high measurement validity and reliability, and the sampling rate for anaerobic power assessments must be strictly predetermined and carefully measured. Doping is also a potential confounding factor when interpreting the human upper limits of aerobic and anaerobic power.

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Franco M. Impellizzeri and Samuele M. Marcora

We propose that physiological and performance tests used in sport science research and professional practice should be developed following a rigorous validation process, as is done in other scientific fields, such as clinimetrics, an area of research that focuses on the quality of clinical measurement and uses methods derived from psychometrics. In this commentary, we briefly review some of the attributes that must be explored when validating a test: the conceptual model, validity, reliability, and responsiveness. Examples from the sport science literature are provided.

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Amelia J. Carr, Philo U. Saunders, Laura A. Garvican-Lewis, and Brent S. Vallance

-acclimatization period included the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, where the athlete competed in the 20- and 50-km events. Physiological testing was performed on 4 occasions. An incremental treadmill test was conducted on a custom-built treadmill (AIS, Canberra, Australia), according to methods described previously 12

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Avish P. Sharma, David J. Bentley, Gaizka Mejuto, and Naroa Etxebarria

. Unfortunately, the predominantly aerobic capacities measured via traditional physiological test protocols relate better to performances with small variations in intensity 2 – 4 rather than modern courses performances demanding frequent and substantial variations in power output. 5 – 7 Recently, the number of

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Ronnie Lidor and Gal Ziv

The purpose of this article was to review a series of studies (n = 31) on physical characteristics, physiological attributes, and volleyball skills of female and male adolescent volleyball players. Among the main findings were (a) that male national players were taller and heavier than state and novice players, while female national players showed lower body fat values compared with state and novice players, and (b) vertical jump values were higher in starters versus nonstarters. Among the methodological concerns based on the reviewed studies were the lack of information on maturational age and lack of longitudinal studies. It was recommended that a careful selection of physiological tests should be made when assessing the abilities of adolescent volleyball players.

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Alon Eliakim and Dan Nemet

The diagnosis of Growth Hormone (GH) deficiency in children with short stature is complex, and in certain cases, might be very difficult. Most of the provocative tests used to evaluate GH deficiency use pharmacological agents. The artificial nature of the pharmacological tests and the possibility that these tests might not always reflect GH secretion under normal physiological conditions provides the impetus for a more physiologic test. Exercise is one of the important GH releasing physiological stimuli. This review will summarize the current knowledge on the methods for performing laboratory exercise provocation test for GH secretion in children. In addition to recommendations of more standardized exercise protocols and environmental considerations, we will also focus on GH responses to exercise in unique populations such as obese children.

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Lee N. Burkett, Jack Chisum, Ralph Cook, Bob Norton, Bob Taylor, Keith Ruppert, and Chris Wells

Numerous studies in the past 30 years have researched physiological adaptation to stress by wheelchair-bound subjects. Instrumentation necessary to produce this effect had to be designed and tested prior to obtaining valid data. This study had two main purposes: to design a wheelchair ergometer for physiological testing of spinal cord-injured subjects, and to demonstrate the validity of the maximal stress test when using the wheelchair ergometer. To test the validity of the wheelchair ergometer, 10 disabled subjects (9 paraplegic and 1 quadriplegic) participated in both a maximal field test (FT) and a maximal wheelchair ergometer test (WERG), with each subject serving as his or her own control. A randomly assigned counterbalanced design (5 subjects assigned to complete the FT first, with the second group of 5 subjects completing the WERG first) was used to reduce the learning effect in the study. The results of the t-tests indicated there was no significant difference between V̇O2 and V̇E, (STPD) averages for the WERG and FT for maximal effort with two-tailed significant levels of t = .9016 and t = .7294, respectively. The Pearson product moment correlation level was statistically significant at p < .0001, when the WERG V̇O2 was compared to the FT V̇O2 (r = .94), and was significant at p < .005 when the WERG V̇E was compared to the FT V̇E (r = .82).

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Gabriele Gallo, Luca Filipas, Michele Tornaghi, Mattia Garbin, Roberto Codella, Nicola Lovecchio, and Daniele Zaccaria

Purpose: To analyze the anthropometric and physiological characteristics of competitive 15- to 16-year-old young male road cyclists and scale them according to a dichotomous category of successful/unsuccessful riders. Methods: A total of 103 15- to 16-year-old male road cyclists competing in the Italian national under 17 category performed a laboratory incremental exercise test during the in-season period. Age, height, body mass, body mass index, peak height velocity, and absolute and relative power output at 2 mmol/L and 4 mmol/L of blood lactate concentration were compared between 2 subgroups, including those scoring at least 1 point (successful, n = 70) and those that did not score points (unsuccessful, n = 61) in the general season ranking. Results: Successful and unsuccessful riders did not differ anthropometrically. Successful riders recorded significantly higher absolute and relative power output at 2 mmol/L and 4 mmol/L of blood lactate concentration compared with unsuccessful riders. Successful riders were also significantly older and had advanced biological maturation compared with their unsuccessful counterparts. Conclusion: Power associated with blood lactate profiles, together with chronological age and peak height velocity, plays an important role in determining race results in under 17 road cycling. Physiological tests could be helpful for coaches to measure these performance predictors.

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Simon A. Rogers, Chris S. Whatman, Simon N. Pearson, and Andrew E. Kilding

Purpose: To examine relationships between methods of lower-limb stiffness and their associations with running economy (RE) and maximal velocity (v max) in middle-distance (MD) runners. Methods: Eleven highly trained male MD runners performed a series of mechanical and physiological tests to determine maximal overground sprint speed, RE, and V˙O2peak. Achilles tendon stiffness (k T) was estimated using ultrasonography during maximal isometric ankle plantar flexion. Global stiffness qualities were evaluated using a spring-mass model, providing measures of leg (k leg) and vertical stiffness (k vert) during running and jumping, respectively. Results: Very large (r = −.70) and large (r = −.60) negative relationships existed between RE and k T and k vert, during plantar flexion and unilateral jumps, respectively. There were large (r = .63) and extremely large (r = −.92) associations between k vert and k T and k leg during sprinting, respectively. Runners’ v max had large positive associations between k T (r = .52) and k leg (r = .59) during sprinting. Conclusions: In well-trained MD athletes, greater stiffness appears linked to faster and more economical running. Although k T had the strongest relationship with RE, k leg while sprinting and k vert in maximal unilateral jumps may be more practical measures of stiffness. Agreement between global stiffness assessments and k T highlights the energy contribution of the Achilles tendon to running efficiency and velocity. Further research incorporating these assessment tools could help establish more comprehensive mechanical and metabolic athlete profiles and further our understanding of training adaptations, especially stiffness modification, longitudinally.

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Lee N. Cunningham

This study compared team performances of adolescent female cross-country runners in relation to maximal oxygen consumption (V̇O2 max), ventilatory threshold, and running economy (RE). Twenty female runners (M age = 16.0 yrs) from four high school teams that competed in the Massachusetts All-State Cross-Country Championship Meet underwent maximal treadmill testing. When physiologic parameters were grouped by team, significant differences were observed for only V̇O2 max and percent V̇O2 at a 215 m • min−1 pace. The mean VO2 max for Team 1 (the All-State Meet champions) was found to be significantly higher than that of Teams 3 and 4 (70.7 ± 4 vs. 56.5±4, and 58.6 ± 4 ml • kg−1 • min−1, respectively). When running on the treadmill at a 215 m • min−1 pace, members of Team 1 were working at a significandy lower percent of VO2 max than Team 3 (70 ± 3 vs. 84 ± 4). The estimated physiologic requirements for running the All-State Meet based upon data derived from physiologic testing were not statistically different between teams (p>0.05). In conclusion, most of the physiologic variables investigated were not sensitive enough to separate out performance differences between top high school cross-country teams. Of these variables, VO2 max is suggested to be the primary physiologic determinant for team success for this age group of female runners.