Purpose: To investigate the high VO2max observed occasionally in young men who have no history of training.
Methods: VO2max, blood volume (BV), maximal stroke volume (SVmax), maximal cardiac output (Qmax), and related measurements (reported as mean +/- SEM) were studied in six men (mean age 20.0 +/- 0.5 yr) with no history of training, who all had a VO2max below 49 mL.kg-1.min-1 (LO group) and six age- and weight-matched men (mean age 19.5 +/- 0.5 yr) with no history of training, who all had a VO2max above 62.5 mL.kg-1.min-1 (HI group).
Results: Compared with the LO group, the HI group had a higher SVmax (149 +/- 5 vs 102 +/- 5 mL), higher Qmax (28.9 +/- 0.9 vs 20.0 +/- 1.0 L.min-1) and higher BV (88.1 +/- 3.8 vs 76.7 +/- 0.9 mL.kg-1). The BV of four participants in the HI group (mean = 92.3 +/- 4.3 mL.kg-1) was substantially higher than the BV of all participants in the LO group, but two participants in the HI group had a BV (mean = 79.7 +/- 0.8 mL.kg-1) that was similar to the mean BV of the LO group.
Conclusion: The primary explanation for the high VO2max observed occasionally in young men who have no history of training is a naturally occurring (perhaps genetically determined) high BV that brings about a high SVmax and Qmax. However, some young men with no history of training have a high VO2max, SVmax, and Qmax possibly because a greater portion of their BV is hemodynamically active.