Comparison of a Traditional Graded Exercise Protocol With a Self-Paced 1-km Test to Assess Maximal Oxygen Consumption

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance

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Roland van den Tillaar
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Erna von Heimburg
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Guro Strøm Solli
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Purpose: To compare the assessment of the maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) in a traditional graded exercise test (GXT) with a 1-km self-paced running test on a nonmotorized treadmill in men and women. Methods: A total of 24 sport-science students (12 women: age 23.7 [7.7] y, body height 1.68 [0.02] m, body mass 66.6 [4.3] kg; 12 men: 22.1 [3.1] y, body height 1.82 [0.06] m, body mass 75.6 [11.0] kg) performed a traditional GXT on a motorized treadmill and a 1-km self-paced running test on a nonmotorized treadmill. VO2max, blood lactate, heart rate, and rating of perceived exertion, together with running velocity and duration at each test, were measured. Results: The main findings of the study were that the 1-km test produced significantly higher VO2max values (53.2 [9.9] vs 51.8 [8.8] mL/kg/min ) and blood lactate concentrations (11.9 [1.8] vs 11.1 [2.2] mmol/L) than the GXT (F ≥ 4.8, P ≤ .04, η2 ≥ .18). However, after controlling for sex, these differences were only present in men (60.6 [8.1] vs 58.1 [8.0] mL/kg/min , P = .027). Peak running velocity was higher in the GXT than in the 1-km test (15.7 [2.7] vs 13.0 [2.8] km/h). Men had higher VO2max values and running velocities than women in both tests. However, men and women used approximately similar pacing strategies during the 1-km test. Conclusions: Higher VO2max values were observed in a 1-km self-paced test than in the GXT. This indicates that a 1-km running test performed on a nonmotorized treadmill could serve as a simple and sport-specific alternative for the assessment of VO2max.

The authors are with the Dept of Sports Sciences and Physical Education, Nord University, Levanger, Norway.

van den Tillaar (roland.v.tillaar@nord.no) is corresponding author.
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