Michael Phelps: By the Numbers

Here, a look at August cover star Michael Phelps' most impressive physical stats.

01 Jul 2012, Omaha, Nebraska, USA --- Michael Phelps swims to victory in the men's 100-meter butterfly final at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials, Sunday, July 1, 2012, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) --- Image by © Mark Humphrey/ /AP/Corbis

Photo: Corbis

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.

• • •


6'4" —Helps him reach the wall first.


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.


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.


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:

  1. 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.

• • •

You Might Like

Powered by ZergNet