Prediction of maximal oxygen uptake from submaximal ratings of perceived exertion and heart rate during a continuous exercise test: the efficacy of RPE 13

Danielle M Lambrick, James A Faulkner, Ann V Rowlands, Roger G Eston
European Journal of Applied Physiology 2009, 107 (1): 1-9
This study assessed the utility of a single, continuous exercise protocol in facilitating accurate estimates of maximal oxygen uptake V(O)(2max) from submaximal heart rate (HR) and the ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) in healthy, low-fit women, during cycle ergometry. Eleven women estimated their RPE during a continuous test (1 W 4 s(-1)) to volitional exhaustion (measured V(O)(2max)). Individual gaseous exchange thresholds (GETs) were determined retrospectively. The RPE and HR values prior to and including an RPE 13 and GET were extrapolated against corresponding oxygen uptake to a theoretical maximal RPE (20) and peak RPE (19), and age-predicted HRmax, respectively, to predict V(O)(2max)). There were no significant differences (P > 0.05) between measured (30.9 +/- 6.5 ml kg(-1) min(-1)) and predicted V(O)(2max) from all six methods. Limits of agreement were narrowest and intraclass correlations were highest for predictions of V(O)(2max) from an RPE 13 to peak RPE (19). Prediction of V(O)(2max) from a regression equation using submaximal HR and work rate at an RPE 13 was also not significantly different to actual V(O)(2max) (R( 2 ) = 0.78, SEE = 3.42 ml kg(-1) min(-1), P > 0.05). Accurate predictions of V(O)(2max) may be obtained from a single, continuous, estimation exercise test to a moderate intensity (RPE 13) in low-fit women, particularly when extrapolated to peak terminal RPE (RPE(19)). The RPE is a valuable tool that can be easily employed as an adjunct to HR, and provides supplementary clinical information that is superior to using HR alone.

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