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05.05.2016 | Original Article | Ausgabe 7/2016

European Journal of Applied Physiology 7/2016

Modality determines VO2max achieved in self-paced exercise tests: validation with the Bruce protocol

European Journal of Applied Physiology > Ausgabe 7/2016
Nicholas J. Hanson, Cory M. Scheadler, Taylor L. Lee, Noah C. Neuenfeldt, Timothy J. Michael, Michael G. Miller
Wichtige Hinweise
Communicated by Anni Vanhatalo.



The Bruce protocol is traditionally used to assess maximal cardiorespiratory fitness (VO2max), but may have limitations, such as an unknown duration and large work rate increases. The use of self-paced VO2max tests (SPVs) may be beneficial if they are able to elicit similar maximal values in a set period of time. In addition, differences in modality between SPVs have not been explored. The purpose of this study was to compare SPVs, utilizing two different modes, with the Bruce (treadmill) protocol.


Thirteen healthy, recreationally active individuals (eight men, five women) volunteered and participated in three different laboratory visits with each utilizing a different VO2max testing protocol. The first visit consisted of the Bruce protocol test, and the remaining visits entailed a maximal SPV on a treadmill (TM SPV) and a cycle ergometer (CE SPV).


There were no differences in VO2max values between the TM SPV and the Bruce protocol tests (55.6 ± 4.9 vs. 56.2 ± 6.8, respectively; p = .510). As expected, the CE SPV (48.3 ± 7.6) was significantly lower than the other two tests (p < .001).


The TM SPV was as effective in eliciting an accurate VO2max as the Bruce protocol and did so with less incline and in less time suggesting that there are no changes in the limits of VO2max even when the test is self-paced and perceptually regulated.

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