Alternative procedures for the three-minute all-out exercise test

Ida E Clark, Steven R Murray, Robert W Pettitt
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2013, 27 (8): 2104-12
The cycling 3-minute all-out exercise test (3 MT) provides the measures of critical power (CP) and the curvature constant (W') for the relationship between power and time limit to exhaustion in the severe exercise domain. The original procedures for the 3 MT required a preliminary graded exercise test (GXT) to establish the linear factor and the fixed load for the test. We evaluated a new procedure of establishing the load for the 3 MT using a percentage of body mass (% BM). Fifteen subjects of varied fitness levels completed a custom GXT-verification protocol to establish the gas exchange threshold and V[Combining Dot Above]O2max, a 3 MT using a load derived with the linear factor, and a 3 MT using a % BM. The subjects also completed a subsequent exhaustive bout at 10% above CP. The CP and W' estimated from either protocol did not differ. The CP estimates were consistent (α = 0.97, SEM = 7.1 W, coefficient of variation = 4%); however, W' was less reliable, a finding true of any method of measuring W'. The V[Combining Dot Above]O2 evoked during the 3 MT was lower than the values evoked by the exhaustive GXT-verification bouts and the 10% above CP bout after the 3 MT. All individual V[Combining Dot Above]O2 values in the 10% above CP bout were "≥" values measured in the 3 MT. Our findings indicate that several viable procedures for administering the 3 MT are plausible.

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