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09.01.2019 | Original Article Open Access

Development of peak oxygen uptake from 11–16 years determined using both treadmill and cycle ergometry

European Journal of Applied Physiology
Neil Armstrong, Jo Welsman
Wichtige Hinweise
Communicated by Keith Phillip George.

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To investigate the development of peak oxygen uptake (\(\dot{{V}}{\text{O}}_{2}\)) assessed on both a treadmill and a cycle ergometer in relation with sex and concurrent changes in age, body mass, fat-free mass (FFM), and maturity status and to evaluate currently proposed ‘clinical red flags’ or health-related cut-points for peak \(\dot{{V}}{\text{O}}_{2}\).


Multiplicative multilevel modelling, which enables the effects of variables to be partitioned concurrently within an allometric framework, was used to analyze the peak \(\dot{{V}}{\text{O}}_{2}\)s of 138 (72 boys) students initially aged 11–14 years and tested on three annual occasions. Models were founded on 640 (340 from boys) determinations of peak \(\dot{{V}}{\text{O}}_{2}\), supported by anthropometric measures and maturity status.


Mean peak \(\dot{{V}}{\text{O}}_{2}\)s were 11–14% higher on a treadmill. The data did not meet the statistical assumptions underpinning ratio scaling of peak \(\dot{{V}}{\text{O}}_{2}\) with body mass. With body mass appropriately controlled for boys’ peak \(\dot{{V}}{\text{O}}_{2}\)s were higher than girls’ values and the difference increased with age. The development of peak \(\dot{{V}}{\text{O}}_{2}\) was sex-specific, but within sex models were similar on both ergometers with FFM the dominant anthropometric factor.


Data should not be pooled for analysis but data from either ergometer can be used independently to interpret the development of peak \(\dot{{V}}{\text{O}}_{2}\) in youth. On both ergometers and in both sexes, FFM is the most powerful morphological influence on the development of peak \(\dot{{V}}{\text{O}}_{2}\). ‘Clinical red flags’ or health-related cut-points proposed without consideration of exercise mode and founded on peak \(\dot{{V}}{\text{O}}_{2}\) in ratio with body mass are fallacious.

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