The effect of aging on relationships between lean body mass and VO2max in rowers

Chul Ho Kim, Courtney M. Wheatley, Mehrdad Behnia, Bruce D. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Aging is associated with a fall in maximal aerobic capacity as well as with a decline in lean body mass. The purpose of the study was to investigate the influence of aging on the relationship between aerobic capacity and lean body mass in subjects that chronically train both their upper and lower bodies. Eleven older rowers (58±5 yrs) and 11 younger rowers (27±4 yrs) participated in the study. Prior to the VO2max testing, subjects underwent a dual energy X-ray absorptiometry scan to estimate total lean body mass. Subsequently, VO2max was quantified during a maximal exercise test on a rowing ergometer as well as a semi-recumbent cycle ergometer. The test protocol included a pre-exercise stage followed by incremental exercise until VO2max was reached. The order of exercise modes was randomized and there was a wash-out period between the two tests. Oxygen uptake was obtained via a breath-by-breath metabolic cart (Vmax™ Encore, San Diego, CA). Rowing VO2max was higher than cycling VO2max in both groups (p<0.05). Older subjects had less of an increase in VO2max from cycling to rowing (p<0.05). There was a significant relationship between muscle mass and VO2max for both groups (p<0.05). After correcting for muscle mass, the difference in cycling VO2max between groups disappeared (p>0.05), however, older subjects still demonstrated a lower rowing VO2max relative to younger subjects (p<0.05). Muscle mass is associated with the VO2max obtained, however, it appears that VO2max in older subjects may be less influenced by muscle mass than in younger subjects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0160275
JournalPloS one
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'The effect of aging on relationships between lean body mass and VO2max in rowers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this