The limits of human physiology

Very interesting

Fitness, Health & Technology

Examining the physiology of a former champion*

Last week we learned about the multi-year training demands of an elite bike racer. While there are tons of training plans available on the internet, last week’s post provides a big picture view of training load, and how an elite cyclist balances fitness and fatigue.

This week, we’ll talk about the physiological demands of world-class cycling.

Thanks to decades of awesome exercise research, we know that the physiological determinants of endurance performance can be categorized into three variables: maximal oxygen uptake, muscular efficiency, and lactate threshold.

Maximal oxygen uptake, or VO2max, is the ceiling: it’s where the heart can’t pump any more blood, and the muscles can’t produce any more energy with oxygen. Muscular efficiency is simply the amount of energy that goes towards muscular movement, like miles per gallon. Lastly, lactate threshold represents the max sustainable amount of power that your muscles can produce…

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