Legendary Michael Phelps’ Less-Known Lactic Acid Advantage Reappears Amidst Ongoing Controversies – Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Published 06/23/2022, 9:25 AM EDT
TOPSHOT – USA’s Michael Phelps competes in a Men’s 200m Individual Medley heat during the swimming event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 10, 2016. / AFP / François-Xavier MARIT (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS-XAVIER MARIT/AFP via Getty Images)

Finding success is hard, but maintaining it is even harder. Be it sports or any other field, consistently remaining at the top is not an easy feat. Talking about G.O.A.T.’s in sports, Michael Jordan enjoyed his days with basketball, shooting mid-range, and dunking the ball in the basket while having remarkable determination. He worked hard on his craft and became a legend of the game. Michael Phelps did the same in the swimming pool, honing his craft to perfection. Phelps is a legend in the sport, but unlike Jordan, he had some god-gifted biological advantages.

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His enormous wingspan is clearly visible as he stands on top of the blocks, ready to strike fear at his opponents. However, there are some other factors, which are lesser-known to people, that give him an advantage over the other athletes. One such is the production of lactic acid. 

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Michael Phelps is a gift from the heavens!

Lactic acid is a byproduct of one’s body during the metabolic process of glycolysis. As the body turns glucose into energy, it releases hydrogen ions into the blood. It causes fatigue and reduces an athlete’s ability to perform well during critical situations. But Phelps produces lesser lactic acid than others. Apparently, he produces half the lactic acid as compared to other athletes, and that helps him swim at a high level for longer periods of time.

MESA, ARIZONA – AUGUST 28: 28 time Olympic medalist Michael Phelps participates in a charity swim to honor two-time cancer survivor Cathy Bennett at Kino Aquatic Center on August 28, 2019 in Mesa, Arizona. Cathy taught Michael how to swim, and is the Program Director for Michael Phelps Foundation. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Often regarded as the greatest swimmer of all time, he had various biological advantages over his teammates. Producing lesser lactic acid probably won’t mean that the organizers handed the medals to him. Working hard with his mentor, Bob Bowman, Phelps and Bowman worked together to use his gifted physical attributes to the fullest. Thus, it is a great insight to have as a legendary swimmer. 

Apart from this, he had various other specific features that helped him become a world-class swimmer. 

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Phelps and his wingspan!

People wrote stories about how Phelps’ wingspan matches with the wandering albatross. Considering his height is 6’4″, he possesses an enormous wingspan of 6’7″, and it is not by any means ordinary. It helps him to generate astonishing amount of power inside the pool. Phelps dominated the butterfly event for a long time, and he practiced that stroke to perfection, efficiently utilizing the advantages of his body. 

18 Sep 2000: Michael Phelps of the USA in action during the Mens 200m Butterfly Heats at the Sydney International Aquatic Centre on Day Three of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. Mandatory Credit: Ross Kinnaird /Allsport (Getty)

Likewise, he has massive palms and feet. Huge arms helped him paddle through the water while his feet helped him move like a shark. In addition, he has a long torso and long legs that helped decrease resistance in the water. One can probably argue that Phelps has a perfect body for a swimmer. Also, he is blessed with specific traits that have helped him become the G.O.A.T. of the sport.

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Jacob Gijy

1321 articles

Jacob Gijy is a US Sports and NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Gijy finished his Post Graduation in Psychology and worked in a hospital for 2 years before his passion for sports compelled him to find his way to sports journalism. A fan of the great Tim Duncan, he is always ready to pick up a debate with anyone who does not offer the power forward, the respect he deserves.

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