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Front. Physiol. | doi: 10.3389/fphys.2018.00143

Measurement of a True V̇O2max During a Ramp Incremental Test is not Confirmed by a Verification Phase

  • 1Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary, Canada
  • 2Department of Neurosciences, Biomedicine and Movement Sciences, University of Verona, Italy
  • 3School of Kinesiology, University of Western Ontario, Canada

The accuracy of an exhaustive ramp incremental (RI) test to determine maximal oxygen uptake (V̇O2max) was recently questioned and the utilization of a verification phase proposed as a gold standard. This study compared the oxygen uptake (V̇O2) during a RI test to that obtained during a verification phase aimed to confirm attainment of V̇O2max. Sixty-one healthy males (31 older (O) 65±5 yrs.; 30 younger (Y) 25±4 yrs.) performed a RI test (15-20 W/min for O and 25 W/min for Y). At the end of the RI test, a 5-min recovery period was followed by a verification phase of constant load cycling to fatigue at either 85% (n= 16) or 105% (n= 45) of the peak power output obtained from the RI test. The highest V̇O2 after the RI test (39.8±11.5 mL∙kg-1∙min-1) and the verification phase (40.1±11.2 mL∙kg-1∙min-1) were not different (p=0.33) and they were highly correlated (r=0.99; p<0.01). This response was not affected by age or intensity of the verification phase. The Bland-Altman analysis revealed a very small absolute bias (-0.25 mL∙kg-1∙min-1, not different from 0) and a precision of ±1.56 mL∙kg-1∙min-1 between measures. This study indicated that a verification phase does not highlight an under-estimation of V̇O2max derived from a RI test, in a large and heterogeneous group of healthy younger and older men naïve to laboratory testing procedures. Moreover, only minor within-individual differences were observed between the maximal V̇O2 elicited during the RI and the verification phase. Thus a verification phase does not add any validation of the determination of a V̇O2max. Therefore, the recommendation that a verification phase should become a gold standard procedure, although initially appealing, is not supported by the experimental data.

Keywords: maximal oxygen uptake, oxidative metabolism, exercise testing, aerobic performance, Aging

Received: 30 Jun 2017; Accepted: 12 Feb 2018.

Edited by:

Billy Sperlich, University of Würzburg, Department of Sports Science, Germany

Reviewed by:

Fabio Esposito, Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy
Carolin Stangier, German Sport University Cologne, Germany  

Copyright: © 2018 Murias, Pogliaghi and Paterson. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Juan M. Murias, University of Calgary, Faculty of Kinesiology, Calgary, Canada, jmmurias@ucalgary.ca