How anaerobic is the Wingate Anaerobic Test for humans?

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2002 Aug;87(4-5):388-92. doi: 10.1007/s00421-002-0622-4. Epub 2002 May 28.


The Wingate Anaerobic Test (WAnT) is generally used to evaluate anaerobic cycling performance, but knowledge of the metabolic profile of WAnT is limited. Therefore the energetics of WAnT was analysed with respect to working efficiency and performance. A group of 11 male subjects [mean (SD), age 21.6 (3.8) years, height 178.6 (6.6) cm, body mass 82.2 (12.1) kg] performed a maximal incremental exercise test and a WAnT. Lactic and alactic anaerobic energy outputs were calculated from net lactate production and the fast component of the kinetics of post-exercise oxygen uptake. Aerobic metabolism was determined from oxygen uptake during exercise. The WAnT mean power of 683 (96.0) W resulted from a total energy output above the value at rest of 128.1 (23.2) kJ x 30 s(-1) [mean metabolic power=4.3 (0.8) kW] corresponding to a working efficiency of 16.2 (1.6)%. The WAnT working efficiency was lower (P < 0.01) than the corresponding value of 24.1 (1.7)% at 362 (41) W at the end of an incremental exercise test. During WAnT the fractions of the energy from aerobic, anaerobic alactic and lactic acid metabolism were 18.6 (2.5)%, 31.1 (4.6)%, and 50.3 (5.1)%, respectively. Energy from metabolism of anaerobic lactic acid explained 83% and 81% of the variance of WAnT peak and mean power, respectively. The results indicate firstly that WAnT requires the use of more anaerobically derived energy than previously estimated, secondly that anaerobic metabolism is dominated by glycolysis, thirdly that WAnT mechanical efficiency is lower than that found in aerobic exercise tests, and fourthly that the latter finding partly explains discrepancies between previously published and the present data about the metabolic profile of WAnT.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anaerobiosis / physiology
  • Bicycling
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise Test*
  • Glycolysis
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Lactic Acid / metabolism
  • Male
  • Muscle Fatigue / physiology
  • Oxygen Consumption


  • Lactic Acid