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01.06.2014 | Original Article | Ausgabe 6/2014

European Journal of Applied Physiology 6/2014

A single-session testing protocol to determine critical power and W′

European Journal of Applied Physiology > Ausgabe 6/2014
Keren Constantini, Surendran Sabapathy, Troy J. Cross
Wichtige Hinweise
Communicated by David C. Poole.



Critical power (CP), and the finite capacity to perform work above CP (W′), can be determined using a 3-min “all-out” cycling test (3MT). This protocol requires two laboratory visits: an incremental exercise test, followed by a 3MT on a separate day. The purpose of this study was to establish whether an incremental exercise test and a 3MT performed during a single laboratory visit can be used to accurately determine CP and W′.


Twelve participants completed two experimental protocols: (1) Combined protocol: an incremental exercise test followed by a 3MT, with 20 min of recovery between exercise bouts; and (2) Independent protocol: the conventional 3MT protocol, performed on a separate day.


CP determined from the Combined (254 ± 117 W) and Independent (256 ± 118 W) protocols were not different (p = 0.40). Similarly, W′ was not different (p = 0.96) between the Combined (13.7 ± 3.9 kJ) and Independent (13.7 ± 4.5 kJ) protocols. Linear regression revealed a strong level of measurement agreement between the protocols for CP and W′, evidenced by high R 2 values (≥0.85) and marginal standard errors of the estimates (CP = 5 W; W′ = 1.81 kJ).


A Combined protocol, consisting of an incremental exercise test followed by a 3MT, provides an accurate and valid method to determine an individual’s CP and, to a lesser extent, W′. Furthermore, this protocol permits the measurement of the gas-exchange threshold and peak O2 uptake and, consequently, the moderate, heavy, and severe exercise-intensity domains may be defined within a single exercise-testing session.

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