The purpose was to assess the impact of various factors on methodological errors associated with measurement of maximal oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) in human skeletal muscle determined by high-resolution respirometry in saponin-permeabilized fibers. Biopsies were collected from 25 men to assess differences in OXPHOS between two muscle bundles and to assess the correlation between OXPHOS and the wet weight of the muscle bundle. Biopsies from left and right thighs of another five subjects were collected on two occasions to compare limbs and time-points. A single muscle specimen was used to assess effects of the anesthetic carbocaine and the influence of technician. The difference in OXPHOS between two fiber-bundles from the same biopsy exhibited a standard error of measurement (SEM) of 10.5 pmol · s-1 · mg-1 and a coefficient of variation (CV) of 15.2%. The differences between left and right thighs and between two different time-points had SEMs of 9.4 and 15.2 pmol · s-1 · mg-1 and CVs of 23.9% and 33.1%, respectively. The average (±SD) values obtained by two technicians monitoring different bundles of fibers from the same biopsy were 31.3 ± 7.1 and 26.3 ± 8.1 pmol · s-1 · mg-1 . The time that elapsed after collection of the biopsy (up to a least 5 h in preservation medium), wet weight of the bundle (from 0.5 to 4.5 mg) and presence of an anesthetic did not influence OXPHOS. The major source of variation in OXPHOS measurements is the sample preparation. The thigh involved, time-point of collection, size of fiber bundles, and time that elapsed after biopsy had minor or no effect.