Effect of endurance training on the VO2-work rate relationship in normoxia and hypoxia

Fabrice Prieur, Henri Benoit, Thierry Busso, Josiane Castells, Christian Denis
Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 2005, 37 (4): 664-9

PURPOSE: We postulated that the relationship between VO2 and work rate (VO2-WR relationship) during incremental exercise is dependent on O2 availability, and that training-induced adaptations alter this relationship. We therefore studied the effect of endurance training on VO2 response during incremental exercise in normoxia and hypoxia (FIO2=0.134).

METHODS: Before and after training (6 d.wk, 4 wk), eight subjects performed incremental exercises under normoxia and hypoxia and one constant-work rate exercise in normoxia at 80% of pretraining VO2max. The slopes of the VO2-WR relationship during incremental exercise were calculated using all the points (whole slope) or only points before the lactate threshold (pre-LT slope). The difference between VO2max measured and VO2max expected from the pre-LT slope (DeltaVO2) was determined, as was the difference between VO2 at minute 10 and VO2 at minute 4 during the constant-work rate exercise (DeltaVO2(10'-4')).

RESULTS: In normoxia, training induced a significant decrease in the whole slope (11.0+/-1.0 vs 9.9+/-0.4 mL.min.W, P<0.05). In hypoxia, training induced a significant increase in the pre-LT slope (8.7+/-1.2 vs 9.8+/-0.7 mL.min.W; P<0.05) and the whole slope (8.5+/-1.2 vs 9.4+/-0.5 mL.min.W; P<0.05). A significant correlation between the decrease of DeltaVO2 and the decrease of DeltaVO2(10'-4') with training was found in normoxia (P<0.01, r=0.79).

CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, these results indicate that adaptations induced by endurance training are associated with more efficient incremental and constant-workload exercise performed in normoxia. Moreover, training contributes to improved O2 delivery during moderate exercise performed in hypoxia, and to enhanced near-maximal exercise tolerance.

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