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THE JOURNAL OF SPORTS MEDICINE AND PHYSICAL FITNESS

A Journal on Applied Physiology, Biomechanics, Preventive Medicine,
Sports Medicine and Traumatology, Sports Psychology


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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2018 Jan 04

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.18.07952-5

Copyright © 2018 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Validity of oxygen uptake cut-off criteria in plateau identification during horizontal treadmill running

Clare E. MARSH

Directorate of Sport, Exercise & Physiotherapy, School of Health Sciences, University of Salford, Salford, England


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BACKGROUND: When determining achievement of maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) during treadmill running using speed increments, theVO2 cut-off criteria applied during plateau identification is often not justified, not protocol specific, or not related to actual change in VO2 (ΔVO2) with speed increment, which can influence plateau achievement rates between studies. The purpose of this study was to compare plateau incidence using an individualised plateau criteria approach based on a ‘percentage’ ΔVO2 compared to using previously established criteria of ΔVO2≤2.1 ml-kg-1⋅min-1 not developed on running speed.
METHODS: Fifty-four males completed a ramp horizontal treadmill test with 0.5 or 1.0 km⋅h-1 per minute (km⋅h-1⋅min-1) speed increments to measure VO2max. Average ΔVO2 for the each 1-minute speed increment was determined and used to develop individualised cut-off criteria deemed to be a plateau: a final ΔVO2 of less than 50% of the average change elicited between consecutive speed increments during the test ( VO2≤50%); plateau incidence using this was compared to ΔVO2 ≤2.1 ml⋅kg-1⋅min-1 ( VO2≤2.1).
RESULTS: Mean ΔVO2 was 1.74±0.59 and 3.09±0.59 ml⋅kg-1⋅ min-1 for 0.5 and 1.0 km⋅ h- 1⋅ min-1 increments respectively. VO2 cut-off criteria were met by 48%/65% (1.0 km⋅h-1⋅min-1) (P=0.234) and 53%/100% (0.5 km⋅h-1⋅ min-1) (P=0.003) for VO2≤50% and VO2≤2.1 respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: Use of VO2≤2.1 resulted in distortedly high plateau achievement, particularly for smaller speed increments where the VO2-speed relationship was actually less than VO2≤2.1 making its use inappropriate. Use of VO2≤50% may be a suitable alternative, but as a plateau was not consistently demonstrated, application of cut-off criteria should not be a requirement in deciding whether one’s achieved VO2max.


KEY WORDS: VO2-speed relationship - VO2 plateau - VO2 cut-off criteria - Horizontal treadmill running

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Publication History

Article first published online: January 4, 2018
Manuscript accepted: January 2, 2018
Manuscript revised: December 1, 2017
Manuscript received: July 13, 2017

Cite this article as

Marsh CE. Validity of oxygen uptake cut-off criteria in plateau identification during horizontal treadmill running. J Sports Med Phys Fitness 2018 Jan 04. DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.18.07952-5

Corresponding author e-mail

c.marsh@salford.ac.uk