Time to Exhaustion at the VO2max Velocity in Swimming: A Review

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Ricardo J. Fernandes, J. Paulo Vilas-Boas

The aim of this study was to present a review on the time to exhaustion at the minimum swimming velocity corresponding to maximal oxygen consumption (TLim-vVO2max). This parameter is critical both for the aerobic power and the lactate tolerance bioenergetical training intensity zones, being fundamental to characterize it, and to point out its main determinants. The few number of studies conducted in this topic observed that swimmers were able to maintain an exercise intensity corresponding to maximal aerobic power during 215 to 260 s (elite swimmers), 230 to 260 s (high level swimmers) and 310 to 325 s (low level swimmers), and no differences between genders were reported. TLim-vVO2max main bioenergetic and functional determinants were swimming economy and VO2 slow component (direct relationship), and vVO2max, velocity at anaerobic threshold and blood lactate production (inverse relationship); when more homogeneous groups of swimmers were analysed, the inverse correlation value between TLim-vVO2max and vVO2max was not so evident. In general, TLim-vVO2max was not related to VO2max. TLim-vVO2max seems also to be influenced by stroking parameters, with a direct relationship to stroke length and stroke index, and an inverse correlation with stroke rate. Assessing TLim-vVO2max, together with the anaerobic threshold and the biomechanical general parameters, will allow a larger spectrum of testing protocols application, helping to build more objective and efficient training programs.
DOI: 10.2478/v10078-012-0029-1
Key words
bioenergetics, biomechanics, aerobic power, time limit, training

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