The effects of exercise modality on the incidence of plateau at VO2max

Clin Physiol Funct Imaging. 2012 Sep;32(5):394-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-097X.2012.01142.x. Epub 2012 May 1.


The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of exercise modality on the incidence of plateau at VO2max. Twelve recreationally active men (age, 21·7 ± 2·3 year; mass, 74·8 ± 6·5 kg; height, 177·6 ± 5·6 cm) completed four incremental tests to volitional exhaustion, of which two were completed on a treadmill (TRE) and two were completed using a cycle ergometer (CYC). The work rate employed for CYC was 1 W·2 s(-1) from an initial loading of 100 W with cadence being maintained at 60 rpm. For TRE, the workload (gradient) increased at a rate of 0·5% · 30 s(-1) while maintaining a constant running speed of 10 kph. Throughout all the trials, VO2 was determined on a breath-by-breath basis using a precalibrated metabolic cart. The criteria adopted for determination of a plateau was a Δ VO2 over the final two consecutive 30-s sampling periods of ≤50 ml · min(-1). Averaging across the two trials per each exercise modality showed a significant difference for plateau incidence between CYC (8%) and TRE (58%) (P = 0·017). This was aligned with a significant difference in the slope of the regression line during the final 60 s of the VO2max test, CYC (99·9 ± 49·7 ml · min(-1)) and TRE (49·6 ± 42·6 ml · min(-1)) (P = 0·017). Repeat measures ANOVA of these data suggests that plateau incidence rates at VO2max differ between treadmill- and cycle ergometry-based exercises. Future studies need to address whether these response rates are replicated in well-trained athletes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Bicycling
  • Breath Tests
  • Exercise Test / methods
  • Exercise*
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Least-Squares Analysis
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Oxygen Consumption*
  • Pulmonary Gas Exchange
  • Random Allocation
  • Running
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult