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Neil Armstrong and Jo Welsman

Aerobic fitness defines the ability to deliver oxygen to the muscles and to use it to generate energy to support muscle activity during exercise. Peak oxygen uptake ( V ˙ O 2 ), the highest V ˙ O 2 achieved during an incremental exercise test to exhaustion, is internationally recognized as the

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Kenneth D. Coutts

Nine male elite wheelchair athletes performed a continuous progressive exercise test on a wheelchair ergometer to determine peak oxygen uptake. Three were paraplegic distance track competitors (SCI–TR), three were amputee distance track athletes (AMP–TR), and three were paraplegic basketball players (SCI–BB). Analysis of variance indicated a significant difference in the relative peak oxygen uptake between the groups, with the SCI–TR and AMP–TR groups having higher values than the SCI–BB group. No group differences were found in age, mass, oxygen uptake, ventilation, heart rate, ventilatory equivalent for oxygen, and oxygen pulse at maximal exercise. The absence of the mass of the lower extremities in the AMP–TR group has a significant effect on peak oxygen uptake relative to body mass, and relative peak oxygen uptake differences between individual SCI–TR and AMP–TR athletes did not appear to reflect performance differences in actual distance track events.

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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.

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Ashleigh E. Smith, Roger G. Eston, Belinda Norton and Gaynor Parfitt

Peak oxygen uptake (V̇O2peak) is reliably predicted in young and middle-aged adults using a submaximal perceptually-regulated exercise test (PRET). It is unknown whether older adults can use a PRET to accurately predict V̇O2peak. In this study, the validity of a treadmill-based PRET to predict V̇O2peak was assessed in 24 participants (65.2 ± 3.9 years, 11 males). The PRET required a change in speed or incline corresponding to ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) 9, 11, 13, and 15. Extrapolation of submaximal V̇O2 from the PRET to RPE endpoints 19 and 20 and age-predicted HRmax were compared with measured V̇O2peak. The V̇O2 extrapolated to both RPE19 and 20 over-predicted V̇O2peak (p < .001). However, extrapolating V̇O2 to age-predicted HRmax accurately predicted V̇O2peak (r = .84). Results indicate older adults can use a PRET to predict V̇O2peak by extrapolating V̇O2 from submaximal intensities to an age-predicted HRmax.

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Saul R. Bloxham, Joanne R. Welsman and Neil Armstrong

This study examined ergometer-specific relationships between short-term power and peak oxygen uptake (peak VO2) in children. Boys (n = 28) and girls (n = 28) age 11-12 years completed two incremental tests to exhaustion on a cycle ergometer and motorized treadmill for the determination of peak VO2. In addition, they completed two 30 s “all-out” sprint tests, one on a cycle ergometer and one on a nonmotorized treadmill for the assessment of peak power (PP) and mean power (MP). Relationships between peak VO2 and shortterm power measures were examined by sex for cycle- and treadmill-derived data using simple per-body-mass ratios and sample-specific allometric exponents to control for body size differences. From correlational analyses on scaled data, sex differences in responses were shown. In boys, PP and MP were unrelated to peak VO2 for cycle-derived measures but significantly related (r = 0.58 PP; r = 0.69 MP) for treadmill values. PP and MP were significantly related to peak VO2 for both modes of exercise in girls (r = .41−.68). In all but one case, correlation coefficients based on mass-related data were higher than those based on allometrically adjusted data.

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Diego Chaverri, Thorsten Schuller, Xavier Iglesias, Uwe Hoffmann and Ferran A. Rodríguez

Purpose:

Assessing cardiopulmonary function during swimming is a complex and cumbersome procedure. Backward extrapolation is often used to predict peak oxygen uptake (V̇O2peak) during unimpeded swimming, but error can derive from a delay at the onset of V̇O2 recovery. The authors assessed the validity of a mathematical model based on heart rate (HR) and postexercise V̇O2 kinetics for the estimation of V̇O2peak during exercise.

Methods:

34 elite swimmers performed a maximal front-crawl 200-m swim. V̇O2 was measured breath by breath and HR from beat-to-beat intervals. Data were time-aligned and 1-s-interpolated. Exercise V̇O2peak was the average of the last 20 s of exercise. Postexercise V̇O2 was the first 20-s average during the immediate recovery. Predicted V̇O2 values (pV̇O2) were computed using the equation: pV̇O2(t) = V̇O2(t) HRend-exercise/HR(t). Average values were calculated for different time intervals and compared with measured exercise V̇O2peak.

Results:

Postexercise V̇O2 (0–20 s) underestimated V̇O2peak by 3.3% (95% CI = 9.8% underestimation to 3.2% overestimation, mean difference = –116 mL/min, SEE = 4.2%, P = .001). The best V̇O2peak estimates were offered by pV̇O2peak from 0 to 20 s (r 2 = .96, mean difference = 17 mL/min, SEE = 3.8%).

Conclusions:

The high correlation (r 2 = .86–.96) and agreement between exercise and predicted V̇O2 support the validity of the model, which provides accurate V̇O2peak estimations after a single maximal swim while avoiding the error of backward extrapolation and allowing the subject to swim completely unimpeded.

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Sigurbjörn Árni Arngrímsson, Torarinn Sveinsson and Erlingur Jóhannsson

The purpose of this study was to validate an equation that has been used to predict peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak) and, if invalid, to develop a new equation predicting VO2peak from performance on a cycle ergometer test. Forty-five 9- and 15-year-old children underwent a VO2peak test and were randomized into developmental (DEV) and cross-validation (C-V) groups. The equation under validation, which requires knowledge of resting energy expenditure (REE), underestimated VO2peak (p < .05), but once adjusted with a new parameter calculated in DEV, it cross-validated well (r YY′ = .98, SE = .18 L · min−1). The accuracy of a new prediction equation built in DEV, not using REE, was confirmed in C-V (r YY′ = .98, SE = .17 L · min−1) and the slope and intercept were not different from the line of identity (p < .05). VO2peak in schoolchildren can be predicted with good accuracy from an equation based on the whole sample [VO2peak′ = −1.5986 + 0.0115 · (maximal power output) + 0.0109 · (mass) + 0.1313 · (gender) + 0.0085 · (maximal heart rate)].

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Billy Sperlich, Christoph Zinner, David Trenk and Hans-Christer Holmberg

Purpose:

To examine whether a 3-min all-out test can be used to obtain accurate values for the maximal lactate steady state (v MLSS) and/or peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak) of well-trained runners.

Methods:

The 15 male volunteers (25 ± 5 y, 181 ± 6 cm, 76 ± 7 kg, VO2peak 69.3 ± 9.5 mL · kg−1 · min−1) performed a ramp test, a 3-min all-out test, and several submaximal 30-min runs at constant paces of v END (mean velocity during the last 30 s of the 3-min all-out test) itself and v END +0.2, +0.1, –0.1, –0.2, –0.3, or –0.4 m/s.

Results:

v MLSS and v END were correlated (r = .69, P = .004), although v MLSS was lower (mean difference: 0.26 ± 0.32 m/s, 95% CI –.44 to –.08 m/s, P = .007, effect size = 0.65). The VO2peak values derived from the ramp and 3-min all-out tests were not correlated (r = .41, P = .12), with a mean difference of 523 ± 1002 mL (95% CI –31 to 1077 mL).

Conclusion:

A 3-min all-out test does not provide a suitable measure of v MLSS or VO2peak for well-trained runners.

Open access

Jo Welsman and Neil Armstrong

Peak oxygen uptake (peak V ˙ O 2 ) is internationally recognized as the criterion measure of youth aerobic fitness, and laboratory-determined peak V ˙ O 2 data from children and adolescents have been available for over 80 years. However, throughout this period, the development of peak V ˙ O 2

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Neil Armstrong, John Balding, Peter Gentle, Joanne Williams and Brian Kirby

The present study examined the relationship between peak V̇O2 and habitual physical activity in 11- to 16-year-old students. The peak V̇O2 of 111 girls and 85 boys was determined using treadmill or cycle ergometry. Habitual physical activity was estimated from minute-by-minute heart rate monitoring over three 12-hr periods during normal school days. Over half of the girls and one third of the boys failed to sustain a single 10-min period with their heart rate at or above 140 bpm. Only one boy sustained a daily 20-minute period with a heart rate at or above 160 bpm. During Saturday monitoring over 90% of the girls and 75% of the boys failed to sustain a single 10-min period with their heart rate at or above 140 bpm, and only one girl and four boys sustained a 20-min period with their heart rate at or above 160 bpm. No significant relationship was detected between peak V̇O2 and heart rate indicators of habitual physical activity. This study suggests that few children have periods of physical activity of sufficient intensity and duration to stress the cardiopulmonary system.