Distance runner Paula Radcliffe has won dozens of long-distance races and held the women's world record for the marathon since 2003. Scientists, trainers, and athletes alike have wondered about the extent to which muscle structure and function contribute to success in athletes such as Radcliffe. What makes elite distance runners so good? Are their muscles somehow different from those of less successful athletes and non-athletes?
To discover the relationship between muscle-fiber types and performance, researchers obtained tiny biopsies of the gastrocnemius of 14 elite distance runners, 18 trained but non-elite distance runners, and 19 untrained subjects. They categorized the fiber types as slow or fast. (At the time of the study, intermediate fibers had not been identified as a third type.) Some of their data are shown here (* means). What conclusions can you draw from these data?
Play a video:
This video solution was recommended by our tutors as helpful for the problem above.
Was this helpful?
Master Muscle System and Skeleton with a bite sized video explanation from Jason Amores Sumpter