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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2003 Dec;35(12):2106-11.

Scaling behavior of VO2peak in trained wheelchair athletes.

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Department of Exercise and Sport Science, Manchester Metropolitan University, Alsager, United Kingdom.



To examine the scaling behavior of peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak) in wheelchair athletes, adjusting for known covariates.


Body mass, VO2peak, 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 VO2peak measurements. The relationship between VO2peak 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.


The 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 VO2peak. The regression model explained 54% of the sample variance in VO2peak.


The 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 VO2peak values of athletes within the study sample, the mass exponent of 0.82 may be adopted (i.e., mL x kg(-0.82) x 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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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