Consistency of the counting talk test for exercise prescription

Brant D Loose, Ann M Christiansen, Jill E Smolczyk, Kelsey L Roberts, Anna Budziszewska, Crystal G Hollatz, Joseph F Norman
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2012, 26 (6): 1701-7
The purpose of this study was to assess the consistency of the counting talk test (CTT) method for estimating exercise intensity across various modes of exercise in healthy young adults. Thirty-six individuals completed the study, which required participation in 3 separate sessions within a 2-week time period. During the first session, the individuals completed a maximal effort treadmill test from which each individual's heart rate reserve (HRR) was calculated. During the second and third sessions, the subjects participated in 2 modes of exercise in each session for a total of 4 different modes of exercise. The individuals exercised at 40% HRR, 50% HRR, 60% HRR, 75% HRR, and 85% HRR. The heart rate (HR), CTT, and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were recorded at each workload. Based on the individual's resting CTT (CTT(rest)), the %CTT for each exercise stage was then calculated. Pearson correlations demonstrated moderate to good correlations between the CTT and HRR methods and the CTT and RPE methods for estimating exercise intensity. This study found that for the individuals with CTT(rest) <25, moderate to vigorous intensity exercise as recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine HRR guidelines could be achieved by exercising at a level of 40-50% CTT(rest). Individuals with a CTT(rest) ≥25, exercising at a level of 30-40% CTT(rest) would place them in the moderate to vigorous exercise intensity range. A high degree of reliability was demonstrated using the CTT method across the various modes of aerobic exercise. As such, independent of the exercise mode, the CTT was found to be an easy and consistent method for prescribing moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise intensity.


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