Peak oxygen uptake and maximal power output of olympic wheelchair-dependent athletes

H. E.J. Veeger*, M. Hadj Yahmed, L. H.V. Van Der Woude, P. Charpentier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


To extend the existing data base on the cardiovascular capacity of wheelchair-dependent athletes, a maximum wheelchair exercise test was conducted by 48 athletes (8 females and 40 males) on a motor driven treadmill. Athletes were selected on availability from the representatives of eight different disciplines. For 36 subjects maximal external power was calculated on the basis of a separate drag test. Maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) for the male population was 2.23 1•min-1 (32.9 ml•kg-1•min-1). Subjects were divided into functional categories according to the International Stoke Mandeville Classification, with one nonambulatory, nonparaplegic group classified as “LA.” The LA group displayed the highest values while the class IC tetra-plegic showed the lowest performance level. Classified over sports disciplines, male track and field representatives showed the highest VO2max (2.86 1•min-1, 44.9 ml•kg-1•min-1) and target shooting athletes the lowest (1.32 l•min-1, 16.3 ml•kg-2•min-1). Maximal power output was on average 81.1 W for the male population and varied from 65.8 W for class II athletes to 92.2 W for class LA. Between sports values ranged from 96.8 W for basketball players to 48.2 W for the archery representative. These data are useful for setting standards for maximally attainable performance levels in relation to sport, functional classification, or sex and underline the capability of the wheelchair-dependent to improve cardiovascular fitness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1201-1209
Number of pages9
JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1991


  • Athletes
  • ISMG
  • Maximum oxygen uptake
  • Maximum power output
  • Sports
  • Wheelchair propulsion
  • Work capacity


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