Celebrity

Michael Phelps: By the Numbers


Details' August cover star, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, has built a career on his physique—which is as much the result of hard training as it is of biology. The man just has great genes. Here, a look at some of his most impressive physical stats.

• • •

Height:
6'4" —Helps him reach the wall first.

Weight:
195 lb—Need to balance this number with strength to pull through the water quickly.

Arm Span:
6'7"—Generally arm span equals height; his abnormally wide span gives him the ultimate butterfly build.

Inseam:
30"—More akin to someone eight inches shorter—which means less body mass to pull through the pool.

Shoe Size:
14—not freakish, but large.

Joints:
He's double-jointed, meaning he has hyperextension and flexion in his ankles and knees, so his feet work like flippers that generate more force with every kick.

Strength to Body Mass:
The pull-up is the gold standard in swimming. Great swimmers can do 20. Phelps' max: 34.

Resting Heart Rate:
38. Average men are 60 to 80; athletes, 40 to 60. The bigger, stronger, and fitter your heart, the more efficient it is at pumping blood, and the lower the number.

Lactate Clearing:
Approximately 5.6 millimoles—Phelps recycles lactic acid (the byproduct of anaerobic metabolism) for energy better than nearly everyone in the world. Though his camp keeps specific numbers locked up, a few now-legendary stats leaked in '03, showing that after he set the world record in the 100m butterfly, his blood lactate was a measly 5.6 millimoles, little over half that of other elite swimmers. His trainers concede that number is a bit higher now. But he's "still in the top 99.8 percentile in the world," says Phelps' trainer Keenan Robinson.

• • •

Also on Details.com:
Cover Story: Michael Phelps
Bonus Photos: Michael Phelps
Olympic Style: Then and Now

Photo: Corbis
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