A 3-min all-out test to determine peak oxygen uptake and the maximal steady state

Mark Burnley, Jonathan H Doust, Anni Vanhatalo
Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 2006, 38 (11): 1995-2003

PURPOSE: We tested the hypothesis that a 3-min all-out cycling test would provide a measure of peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak) and estimate the maximal steady-state power output.

METHODS: Eleven habitually active subjects performed a ramp test, three 3-min all-out tests against a fixed resistance, and two further submaximal tests lasting up to 30 min, 15 W below or above the power output attained in the last 30 s of the 3-min test (the end-test power).

RESULTS: The VO2peak measured during the 3-min all-out test (mean +/- SD: 3.78 +/- 0.68 L x min(-1)) was not different from that of the ramp test (3.84 +/- 0.79 L x min(-1); P = 0.75). The end-test power (257 +/- 49 W) was significantly lower than that at the end of the ramp test (368 +/- 73 W) and significantly higher than the power at the gas exchange threshold (169 +/- 55 W; P < 0.001). Nine subjects were able to complete 30 min of exercise at 15 W below the end-test power, and seven of these did so with a steady-state blood [lactate] and VO2 response profile. In contrast, when subjects exercised at 15 W above the end-test power, blood [lactate] and VO2 rose inexorably until exhaustion, which occurred in approximately 13 +/- 7 min.

CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that a 3-min all-out exercise test can be used to establish VO2peak and to estimate the maximal steady state.

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