Endurance Athletes Ebook
In short, humans are comparatively superb endurance athletes, particularly in hot, arid conditions that are conducive to heat-loss from sweating. In fact, humans appear to occupy a rare extreme in the general trade-off between aerobic and anaerobic capabilities (Wilson and James, 2004). Natural selection often favors speed over endurance because of the dynamics of predator-prey interactions slower animals typically have lower fitness. Animals built for speed and power are rarely good at endurance and vice versa, in part because of muscle fiber composition. In most mammals, there is a predominance of Type lib (fast-glycolytic) and Type IIa (fast oxidative) relative to Type I (slow oxidative) muscle fibers. The former fast-twitch fibers can produce several times more force but are anaerobic and fatigue quickly. Slow-twitch fibers have higher aerobic capacity, but produce less force. Most human leg muscles have about 50 of each type (McArdle et al., 1996), but can increase slow-twitch...
Interestingly, the idea that humans are poor athletes is demonstrably wrong in one crucial respect. While humans have comparatively poor performance capabilities in terms of power and strength, we are unusually specialized endurance athletes, with surprisingly impressive aerobic performance capabilities. These capabilities are particularly remarkable for endurance running (ER), defined as running long-distances ( 5 km) using aerobic metabolism. These capabilities, which have been reviewed in depth by Carrier (1984) and Bramble and Lieberman (2004), compare extremely well to other mammals, especially primates, in terms of several performance criteria such as speed and distance, especially in hot conditions.
Push Your Limits
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