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PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 3:42 pm 
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Okay, not totally cycling, but running is a good baseline for athletic performance, since it is less subject to technological contamination.

From the Science of Sport blog, height versus mass of runners who broke 27 minutes in a 10 km race (my plot):

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The interesting thing is the trend is for bigger guys, weight has to be lower than the BMI trend line. This may correlate well with climbing ability: even at the same BMI, the best climbers may tend to be relatively shorter.

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Posted: Wed May 05, 2010 3:42 pm 


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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 6:01 pm 
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or perhaps really tall really fit guys gravitate towards basketball instead of the 10k since they can make a lot more money that way :o


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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 6:10 pm 
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Good point :).

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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 10:09 pm 
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spiffomatic wrote:
or perhaps really tall really fit guys gravitate towards basketball instead of the 10k since they can make a lot more money that way :o

basketball is an anaerobic activity, so no relationship there. and most basket ball players will not be able to run more than a 5k without a consuderable amout of pain.
basketball players are more like a 400m-1mile type of athletes.


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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 10:28 pm 
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Another factor is everyone on the list but the heaviest, latest is African. I don't think the NBA or NFL recruit much from Africa yet.

The principal point remains, however, that in any such analysis there is competition for promising talent from a young age, which needs to be considered.

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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 12:49 am 
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DJ, good work...as always. However, I have seen quite a few studies that conclude the difference in the "average build" of a short person and a tall person is much less than the historical assumption. This is especially important when trying to compare male runners, who have a much smaller physique range than the normal population. I think that big runners look just like larger replicas of small runners. I would assume this sample set would be most accurately represented by an altered BMI equation with denominator exponent of ~2.5, maybe even higher.
With all that being said I think that geographical and cultural differences are paramount. As you mentioned most of the runners on the graph are African, Africans are smaller on average than Americans/Europeans etc. As far as culture goes, why are West African guys good at soccer and East African guys good at running? I'm betting its not genetics.


Last edited by Carbon_Cowboy on Tue May 11, 2010 6:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 12:14 pm 
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IIRC, there was a study between African and Danish runners and the most significant difference they found was the weight of the calf.

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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 1:26 pm 
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WRT BMI: yes, most critical analyses of BMI for general purposes conclude 2 is too low (but 3 is much too high) for the height exponent. However, there's nothing "general" about my plot: it's for a highly specific task: running 10 km at world-class speed. Were I to produce a similar plot for putting a shot, for example, I might see a different relationship. I don't claim any universality here.

Plots for cyclists, for example Tour de France data, are confounded by the multimodal nature of the Tour cyclist population: sprinters, climbers, domestiques are each chosen by separate criteria.

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PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 10:00 pm 
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djconnel wrote:
Okay, not totally cycling, but running is a good baseline for athletic performance, since it is less subject to technological contamination.

From the Science of Sport blog, height versus mass of runners who broke 27 minutes in a 10 km race (my plot):

Image

The interesting thing is the trend is for bigger guys, weight has to be lower than the BMI trend line. This may correlate well with climbing ability: even at the same BMI, the best climbers may tend to be relatively shorter.


As most of the best times have been run by east Africans, and they tend to be smaller people, it may be somewhat skewed. Their body is definitely structured differently than the caucasian skeletal structure. I ran for a high level D1 program in college, and we had 3 Kenyans on our team. 2 were from the tribe that produced most of Kenya's world-class runners (all 3 were mid 28 minute 10,000 meter guys). They were much narrower, their legs much leaner, with small knots for calves. Even though they would work out in the weight room and be able to put up some decent numbers (for 130lb runners, that is) they just didn't carry any sort of bulk on their very narrow frames. American and European runners tend to be taller on average (and slower), which makes sense: the average height of an Ethiopian, Eritrean, or Kenyan is likely 5 foot 7 or 5 foot 8, compared with 6 foot for an average German male.

The problem is that there are differences in body physiology between races of people (beyond height and weight) that are hard to account for in a simple graph. It may be that the average sub 27-minute 10,000 meter runner is in that height/weight range, but given they are all east African, height/weight may not be the primary reason they are running so fast.


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PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 7:57 pm 
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Carbon_Cowboy wrote:
DJ, good work...as always. However, I have seen quite a few studies that conclude the difference in the "average build" of a short person and a tall person is much less than the historical assumption. This is especially important when trying to compare male runners, who have a much smaller physique range than the normal population. I think that big runners look just like larger replicas of small runners. I would assume this sample set would be most accurately represented by an altered BMI equation with denominator exponent of ~2.5, maybe even higher.
With all that being said I think that geographical and cultural differences are paramount. As you mentioned most of the runners on the graph are African, Africans are smaller on average than Americans/Europeans etc. As far as culture goes, why are West African guys good at soccer and East African guys good at running? I'm betting its not genetics.

everything has a role but environment is the key. why are blue eyes more common on northern europeans than any other group? does it mean that they are better? why are incas short? certain characteristics are predominant in some groups because their environment favors that. among africans how about morocan runners they are neither black or live in such altitudes as ethiopiasn or kenians. my theory is that the harder the life style the better potential for athletic achievement. that is why mos pro runners and cyclist come from a low income sectors.


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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 3:31 pm 
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I'm always wary of BMI. As a measure it makes no sense, why should weight be proportional to your surface Area? (height squared is area) surely dividing mass by height cubed would make much more sense?

All it manages to do is give you an easy to remember number after the test.


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PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2010 10:54 pm 
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roca rule wrote:
Carbon_Cowboy wrote:
my theory is that the harder the life style the better potential for athletic achievement. that is why mos pro runners and cyclist come from a low income sectors.


I don't think that's right. Runners and cyclists come from low income sectors because running and cycling is bloody hard work and if the alternative is to earn twice a pro cyclist's wage for 6 hours of office work, then human nature is to buy a suit. In my humble opinion potential is just the same - it's just people take the best alternative available to them. This also goes a long way to explaining why the Joe Papps of this world end up taking drugs.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 6:22 pm 
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mrfish wrote:
roca rule wrote:
Carbon_Cowboy wrote:
my theory is that the harder the life style the better potential for athletic achievement. that is why mos pro runners and cyclist come from a low income sectors.


I don't think that's right. Runners and cyclists come from low income sectors because running and cycling is bloody hard work and if the alternative is to earn twice a pro cyclist's wage for 6 hours of office work, then human nature is to buy a suit. In my humble opinion potential is just the same - it's just people take the best alternative available to them. This also goes a long way to explaining why the Joe Papps of this world end up taking drugs.


yes but cyclist come from countries that have tarmac roads and from developed nations where tech is more readely available. like italy, spain, france, u.s., luxemburg ( i do not think anybody in this countries is as poor as the poorest of africans. there is the eastern european countries that might not have bloosoming economies but have athletic programs that work and services like running water and electricity. see other aspects are important but envirom\nment is the key.


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Posted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 6:22 pm 


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