The purpose of this study was to evaluate effects of gender on anaerobic and aerobic contributions to high-intensity exercise. A group of 38 subjects (22 women, 16 men) performed modified Wingate tests against resistances of 0.086 kg kg-1 body mass (0.844 N kg-1) for women and 0.095 kg kg-1 body mass (0.932 N kg-1) for men. The aerobic contribution to total work performed was determined from breath-by-breath analyses of expired gases during each test. Total work in 30 s was 30% lower (Student's t test; P < 0.01) in women than men (211 +/- 5 J kg-1 versus 299 +/- 14 J kg-1). Aerobic contribution was only 7% lower (P = 0.12) in women than men (53 +/- 1 J kg-1 versus 57 +/- 2 J kg-1). The anaerobic component of the work performed, determined by subtraction of the aerobic component from total work in 30 s, was 35% lower (P < 0.01) in women than men (158 +/- 5 J kg-1 versus 242 +/- 15 J kg-1). It is concluded that, because women provide a relatively higher (P < 0.01) portion of the energy for a 30-s test aerobically than men (25% versus 20%), total work during a Wingate test actually underestimates the gender difference in anaerobic capacity between women and men.
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