Do You Have a Big Heart?

“Because the heart size of a healthy person is dependent on body weight, the ratio of heart volume (kg) to body weight was determined.

The normal values for untrained males and females were 11.7 ± 0.19 and 9.7 ± 0.15, respectively. In contrast, elite athletes engaged in endurance sports reached values of 18 to 20 (114) [Reindell, Koenig & Roskamm, 1967].

In 1964 our laboratory observed in a professional racing cyclist who was a triple world champion a heart size of 1,700 ml, a body weight of 80 kg, and a heart volume:body weight ratio of 21.2 (double the normal value of an untrained person).

Physical inactivity (absolute bed rest) caused a decrease in heart volume of 10% in only 9 d (51) [Hollman, 1965].” (Tipton, 2014, p. 65).


Tipton, C.M. (Ed) (2014) History of Exercise Physiology. Leeds: Human Kinetics.

Hollmann, W. (1965) Physical Training for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Diseases [in German]. Stuttgart: Hippokrates.

Reindell, H., Koenig, K. & Roskamm, H. (1967) Functional Diagnostic of the Healthy and Diseased Heart [in German]. Stuttgart: Thieme.


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