Scientific contributions of A. V. Hill: exercise physiology pioneer

J Appl Physiol (1985). 2002 Nov;93(5):1567-82. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.01246.2001.


Beginning in 1910, A. V. Hill performed careful experiments on the time course of heat production in isolated frog muscle. His research paralleled that of the German biochemist Otto Meyerhof, who measured the changes in muscle glycogen and lactate during contractions and recovery. For their work in discovering the distinction between aerobic and anaerobic metabolism, Hill and Meyerhof were jointly awarded the 1922 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. Because of Hill's interest in athletics, he sought to apply the concepts discovered in isolated frog muscle to the exercising human. Hill and his colleagues made measurements of O(2) consumption on themselves and other subjects running around an 85-m grass track. In the process of this work, they defined the terms "maximum O(2) intake," "O(2) requirement," and "steady state of exercise." Other contributions of Hill include his discoveries of heat production in nerve, the series elastic component, and the force-velocity equation in muscle. Around the time of World War II, Hill was a leading figure in the Academic Assistance Council, which helped Jewish scientists fleeing Nazi Germany to relocate in the West. He served as a member of the British Parliament from 1940 to 1945 and as a scientific advisor to India. Hill's vision and enthusiasm attracted many scientists to the field of exercise physiology, and he pointed the way toward many of the physiological adaptations that occur with physical training.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Historical Article
  • Portrait
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • England
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Physiology / history*

Personal name as subject

  • Archibald Vivian Hill