• Vol. 37 No. 4, 300–306
  • 15 April 2008

Modelling Maximal Oxygen Uptake in Athletes: Allometric Scaling Versus Ratio-Scaling in Relation to Body Mass



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Introduction: Maximal oxygen uptake, VO2 & peak, among athletes is an important foundation for all training programmes to enhance competition performance. In Singapore, the VO2 & peak of athletes is apparently not widely known. There is also controversy in the modelling or scaling of maximal oxygen uptake for differences in body size – the use of ratio-scaling remains common but allometric scaling is gaining acceptance as the method of choice.

Materials and Methods: One hundred fifty-eight male (age, 21.7 ± 4.9 years; body mass, 64.8 ± 8.6 kg) and 28 female (age, 21.9 ± 7.0 years; body mass, 53.0 ± 7.0 kg) athletes completed a maximal treadmill run to volitional exhaustion, to determine VO2 & peak.

Results: VO2 & peak in L/min of female athletes was 67.8% that of male athletes (2.53 ± 0.29 vs. 3.73 ± 0.53 L/min), and VO2 & peak in mL/kg BM1.0/min of female athletes was 83.4% of male athletes (48.4 ± 7.2 vs. 58.0 ± 6.9 mL/kg BM1.0/min). Ratio-scaling of VO2 & peak did not create a size-free variable and was unsuitable as a scaling method. Instead, VO2 & peak, that was independent of the effect of body mass in male and female athletes, was best described using 2 separate and allometrically-derived sex-specific regression equations; these were VO2 & peak = 2.23 BM0.67 for male athletes and VO2 & peak = 2.23 BM0.24 for female athletes.

Aerobic fitness data of Singaporean athletes are relatively scarce. Yet these data are important as aerobic fitness forms the basis of all training programmes to enhance performance during competitions.

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