The validity of predicting maximal oxygen uptake from perceptually regulated graded exercise tests of different durations

Roger G Eston, James A Faulkner, Elizabeth A Mason, Gaynor Parfitt
European Journal of Applied Physiology 2006, 97 (5): 535-41
The purpose of this study was to assess the validity of predicting maximal oxygen uptake [V(.-)((O)(2)(max))] from sub-maximal V(.-)((O)(2)) values elicited during perceptually regulated exercise tests of 2- and 4-min duration. Nineteen physically active men and women (age range 19-23 years) volunteered to participate in two graded exercise tests to volitional exhaustion to measure V(.-)((O)(2)(max)) [V(.-)((O)(2)(max))(GXT)], at the beginning and end of a 2-week period, and four incremental, perceptually regulated tests to predict [V(.-)((O)(2)(max))] in the intervening period. Effort production tests comprised 2 x 2-min and 2 x 4-min bouts on a cycle ergometer, perceptually regulated at intensities of 9, 11, 13, 15 and 17 on the Borg 6-20 rating of perceived (RPE) scale, in that order. Individual linear relationships between RPE and V(.-)((O)(2) for RPE ranges of 9-17, 11-17 and 9-15 were extrapolated to RPE 20 to predict [V(.-)((O)(2)(max))]. The prediction of [V(.-)((O)(2)(max))] was not moderated by gender. Although, [V(.-)((O)(2)(max))] estimated from RPE 9-17 of trial 1 of the 2-min protocol was significantly lower (P < 0.05) than [V(.-)((O)(2)(max))(GXT)], and V(.-)((O)(2)(max)) predicted from the 4-min trials, the V(.-)((O)(2)(max)) predicted from trial 2 of the 2-min protocol was a more accurate prediction of [V(.-)((O)(2)(max))(GXT)], across all trials. The intraclass correlation coefficient (R) was also higher between [V(.-)((O)(2)(max))(GXT)], and [V(.-)((O)(2)(max))] predicted from trial 2 of the 2-min protocol compared to both trials in the 4-min protocol (R = 0.95, 0.88 and 0.79, respectively). Similar results were observed for RPE ranges 9-15 and 11-17. Results suggest that a sub-maximal, perceptually guided, graded exercise protocol, particularly of a 2-min duration, provides acceptable estimates of maximal aerobic power, which are not moderated by gender.

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