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Concepts About V˙O2max and Trainability Are Context Dependent

Joyner, Michael J.1; Lundby, Carsten2

Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews: July 2018 - Volume 46 - Issue 3 - p 138–143
doi: 10.1249/JES.0000000000000150
Perspective for Progress

Some individuals show little or no increase in maximal oxygen consumption (V˙O2max) in response to training programs consistent with public health guidelines. However, results from studies using more intense programs challenge the concept that some humans have limited trainability. We explore the implications of these divergent observations on the biology of trainability and propose a new set of twin studies to explore them.

The concept of trainability is reviewed and questions concerning its dependency on biological factors versus training stimulus and related issues are discussed.

1Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN; and

2Center for Physical Activity Research, University Hospital of Copenhagen, Denmark

Address for correspondence: Michael J Joyner, M.D., FACSM, Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905 (E-mail:

Accepted for publication: April 6, 2018.

Editor: Demetra D. Christou, Ph.D.

© 2018 American College of Sports Medicine