Emergence of the verification phase procedure for confirming 'true' VO(2max)

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2009 Jun;19(3):313-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2009.00898.x. Epub 2009 Apr 22.


Traditional (.)VO(2max) criteria are typically based on attainment of a (.)VO2 plateau, and threshold values for the respiratory exchange ratio, heart rate and blood lactate concentration. Despite long-standing criticisms directed at these criteria, their use remains widespread. This article discusses an alternative procedure, termed the verification phase, for confirming the attainment of true (.)VO(2max). Following a continuous incremental exercise test to the limit of tolerance and appropriate recovery period, the verification phase is performed and is characterized by a supramaximal square wave exercise bout. Consistent peak (.)VO2 values in the incremental and verification phases, confirms that a true (.)VO(2max) has been attained. Six recent studies investigated the utility of the verification phase for evaluating true (.)VO(2max). These studies consistently found small insignificant mean differences between the maximal (.)VO2 attained in the incremental and verification phases. However, this group mean approach does not identify individual subjects who may not have attained a true (.)VO(2max). Notably, only one of the six studies reported a criterion threshold to verify the (.)VO(2max) of individual subjects. Further research is required to investigate the utility of different verification phase procedures and to establish a suitable verification criterion threshold for confirming true VO(2max).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / methods*
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology*
  • Physical Exertion / physiology
  • Pulmonary Gas Exchange / physiology
  • Reproducibility of Results*
  • Threshold Limit Values