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The dynamics of athletic performance, fitness and fatigue


  • John F. Moxnes
  • Kjell Hausken


We provide a mathematical dynamic model of athletic performance, fitness and fatigue based on the two well-known principles ‘train to failure’ and ‘use it or lose it’. The anabolic and catabolic processes are modelled with differential equations. Fitness is defined as muscle fitness. We model the work power of any muscle or set of muscles, and the muscle's maximum work power. Parameters are estimated and we present analytical and numerical results. The relationships between performance, fitness and fatigue are demonstrated for various activity scenarios. For example, the model quantifies the exact manner in which the optimal rest period can be determined to maximize the performance on a given day. The model provides realistic predictions, and constitutes a powerful tool which describes the processes by which performance, fitness and fatigue can be regulated and controlled.

Suggested Citation

  • John F. Moxnes & Kjell Hausken, 2008. "The dynamics of athletic performance, fitness and fatigue," Mathematical and Computer Modelling of Dynamical Systems, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(6), pages 515-533, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:nmcmxx:v:14:y:2008:i:6:p:515-533
    DOI: 10.1080/13873950802246473

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