Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2015) 14, 386 - 393

Research article
Individual versus Standardized Running Protocols in the Determination of VO2max
Paula F. Sperlich1,2, , Hans-Christer Holmberg3, Jennifer L. Reed4, Christoph Zinner5, Joachim Mester1,2, Billy Sperlich5
Author Information
1 Institute of Training Science and Sport Informatics, German Sport University Cologne, Germany
2 German Research Centre of Elite Sports, German Sport University Cologne, Germany
3 Swedish Winter Sports Research Centre, Department of Health Sciences, Mid Sweden University, Östersund, Sweden
4 Minto Prevention and Rehabilitation Centre, University of Ottawa Heart Institute, Canada
5 Department of Sport Science, University of Würzburg, Germany

Paula F. Sperlich
✉ Institute of Training Science and Sport Informatics, German Sport University Cologne, Germany
Publish Date
Received: 13-11-2014
Accepted: 26-02-2015
Published (online): 01-06-2015
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The purpose of this study was to determine whether an individually designed incremental exercise protocol results in greater rates of oxygen uptake (VO2max) than standardized testing. Fourteen well-trained, male runners performed five incremental protocols in randomized order to measure their VO2max: i) an incremental test (INCS+I) with pre-defined increases in speed (2 min at 8.64 km·h−1, then a rise of 1.44 km·h−1 every 30 s up to 14.4 km·h−1) and thereafter inclination (0.5° every 30 s); ii) an incremental test (INCI) at constant speed (14.4 km·h−1) and increasing inclination (2° every 2 min from the initial 0°); iii) an incremental test (INCS) at constant inclination (0°) and increasing speed (0.5 km·h−1 every 30 s from the initial 12.0 km·h−1); iv) a graded exercise protocol (GXP) at a 1° incline with increasing speed (initially 8.64 km·h−1 + 1.44 km·h−1 every 5 min); v) an individual exercise protocol (INDXP) in which the runner chose the inclination and speed. VO2max was lowest (-4.2%) during the GXP (p = 0.01; d = 0.06-0.61) compared to all other tests. The highest rating of perceived exertion, heart rate, ventilation and end-exercise blood lactate concentration were similar between the different protocols (p < 0.05). The time to exhaustion ranged from 7 min 18 sec (INCS) to 25 min 30 sec (GXP) (p = 0.01).The VO2max attained by employing an individual treadmill protocol does not differ from the values derived from various standardized incremental protocols.

Key words: Maximum oxygen uptake, aerobic power, treadmill running, ramp test, treadmill protocol

           Key Points
  • The mean maximum oxygen uptake during the GXP was lower than for all other tests.
  • Differences in the maximum rate of oxygen uptake between the various protocols exhibited considerable inter-individual variation.
  • From the current findings, it can be concluded that well trained athletes are able to perform an individually designed treadmill running protocol.
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