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Barbara E. Ainsworth, Robert G. McMurray, and Susan K. Veazey

The purpose of this study was to determine the accuracy of two submaximal exercise tests, the Sitting-Chair Step Test (Smith & Gilligan. 1983) and the Modified Step Test (Amundsen, DeVahl, & Ellingham, 1989) to predict peak oxygen uptake (VO2 peak) in 28 adults ages 60 to 85 years. VO2 peak was measured by indirect calorimetry during a treadmill maximal graded exercise test (VO2 peak, range 11.6–31.1 ml · kg −l · min−1). In each of the submaximal tests, VO2 was predicted by plotting stage-by-stage submaximal heart rate (HR) and perceived exertion (RPE) data against VO2 for each stage and extrapolating the data to respective age-predicted maximal HR or RPE values. In the Sitting-Chair Step Test (n = 23), no significant differences were observed between measured and predicted VO2 peak values (p > .05). However, predicted VO2 peak values from the HR were 4.3 ml · kg−1 · min−1 higher than VO2 peak values predicted from the RPE data (p < .05). In the Modified Step Test (n = 22), no significant differences were observed between measured and predicted VO2 peak values (p > .05). Predictive accuracy was modest, explaining 49–78% of the variance in VO2 peak. These data suggest that the Sitting-Chair Step Test and the Modified Step Test have moderate validity in predicting VO2 peak in older men and women.