Translation of submaximal exercise test responses to exercise prescription using the Talk Test

Carl Foster, John P Porcari, Mark Gibson, Glenn Wright, John Greany, Neepa Talati, Pedro Recalde
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2009, 23 (9): 2425-9
The exercise intensity at the Talk Test (TT) has been shown to be highly correlated with objective physiological markers, a useful outcome marker in patients with heart disease, a useful tool for avoiding exertional ischemia, and responsive to both positive and negative changes in exercise capacity. This randomized observational study evaluated the ability of the intensity at the TT during exercise testing to define absolute training workloads. Sedentary adults (n = 14) performed an incremental Balke type exercise test (3.0-3.5 mph at 0% grade, +2% grade every 2 minutes). Heart rate (HR), rating of perceived exertion (RPE), and TT were evaluated at each stage. Subsequently, the subjects performed 3 x 20-minute exercise bouts with the workload over the last 10 minutes of each bout equal to the absolute intensity at the stage preceding the LP (LP-1), at the last positive stage of the TT (LP), and at the first equivocal stage of the TT (EQ). During LP-1, LP, and EQ, HR was 140 +/- 23, 151 +/- 20, and 160 +/- 21 bpm, or 73 +/- 11, 79 +/- 9, and 82 +/- 9 % HRmax; RPE (CR scale) was 3.6 +/- 1.5, 4.4 +/- 1.8, and 6.3 +/- 2.2. The TT Score-ranked as 1 = comfortable speech, 2 = slightly uncomfortable speech, and 3 = speech not comfortable-was 1.4 +/- 0.5, 1.8 +/- 0.4, and 2.6 +/- 0.5 LP-1, LP, and at EQ, LP, respectively. The results suggest that to prescribe absolute training intensity from the TT and to get appropriate HR, RPE, and TT responses in sedentary individuals during training, the workload needs to be based on the intensity approximately 1 stage (approximately 1.0-1.2 metabolic equivalents) below the LP stage observed during an incremental test.


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