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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2016 April;56(4):368-75

language: English

Incremental exercise test for the evaluation of peak oxygen consumption in paralympic swimmers

Helton de SÁ SOUZA 1, 2, Eduardo DA SILVA ALVES 1, 2, Luciana ORTEGA 2, Andressa SILVA 1, 2, Andrea M. ESTEVES 2, 3, Paulo A. SCHWINGEL 4, Roberto VITAL 4, Edilson A. DA ROCHA 4, Bruno RODRIGUES 5, Fabio S. LIRA 6, Sergio TUFIK 1, 2, Marco T. DE MELLO 1, 2

1 Departamento de Psicobiologia, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil, 2 Departamento de Esportes, da Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais e do Centro de Estudos em Psicobiologia e Exercício, CEPE, São Paulo, Brazil, 3 University of Campinas, Limeira, SP, Brazil; 4 Brazilian Paralympic Committee, Brasília, Brazil; 5 Faculty of Physical Education, University of Campinas, FEF-UNICAMP, São Paulo, Brazil; 6 Exercise and Immunometabolism Research Group, Department of Physical Education, Universidade Estadual Paulista, UNESP, Presidente Prudente, Brazil


BACKGROUND: Peak oxygen consumption (VO2peak) is a fundamental parameter used to evaluate physical capacity. The objective of this study was to explore two types of incremental exercise tests used to determine VO2peak in four Paralympic swimmers: arm ergometer testing in the laboratory and testing in the swimming pool.
METHODS: On two different days, the VO2peak values of the four athletes were measured in a swimming pool and by a cycle ergometer. The protocols identified the VO2peak by progressive loading until the volitional exhaustion maximum was reached. The results were analyzed using the paired Student’s t-test, Cohen’s d effect sizes and a linear regression.
RESULTS: The results showed that the VO2peak values obtained using the swimming pool protocol were higher (P=0.02) than those obtained by the arm ergometer (45.8±19.2 vs. 30.4±15.5; P=0.02), with a large effect size (d=3.20). When analyzing swimmers 1, 2, 3 and 4 individually, differences of 22.4%, 33.8%, 60.1% and 27.1% were observed, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: Field tests similar to the competitive setting are a more accurate way to determine the aerobic capacity of Paralympic swimmers. This approach provides more sensitive data that enable better direction of training, consequently facilitating improved performance.

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