Measuring exercise performance

Another response by Fergus J. Dignan to Noakes’ paper <em>How did A V Hill understand the VO2max and the “plateau phenomenon”? Still no clarity?

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Dear Editor,

I very much enjoyed reading the Review article (1) by Professor Noakes and the letter (2) in the same edition of the BJSM July 2008.

As he rightly states measurement of VO2max has several limitations in determining an athlete’s potential. He also pointed out in the letter that research has shown that ‘the rating of perceived exertion (RPE) rises as a linear function of the duration of exercise that remains’, and extrapolation from this ‘that humans have an exquisite capacity to predict accurately the duration of exercise they will be able to sustain at any exercise intensity’.

Would it therefore not be possible to determine an athlete’s optimal running distance by getting them to run on a treadmill for 10 minutes and asking them to run as fast as possible for imagined
distances of 5k, 10k, 40k, etc?

1. NOAKES TD. Testing for maximum oxygen consumption has produced a brainless model of human exercise performance. Br J Sports Med 2008; 42:551-555

2. NOAKES TD. Rating of perceived exertion as a predictor of the duration of exercise that remains until exhaustion. Br J Sports Med 2008; 42:623-624

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