The ability of the PACER to elicit peak exercise response in youth [corrected]

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2013 Jun;45(6):1139-43. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e318281e4a8.


Purpose: A graded exercise test (GXT) is the standard laboratory method of determining peak aerobic fitness (V˙O2peak). The FITNESSGRAM's Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run (PACER) test is commonly used to estimate the peak oxygen consumption in the youth in the field.The objective of this study is to compare the peak physiological variables and RPEpeak during a treadmill GXT and the PACER test in 10- to 15-yr-old youths.

Methods: Participants (20 boys and 25 girls, 12.7 ± 1.7 yr) completed the PACER and treadmill GXT in a randomized order, separated by at least 24 h. HRpeak was measured via telemetry, V˙O2peak and RERpeak were measured using a portable metabolic system, and participants reported RPEpeak at the end of each test.

Results: No significant differences were found between the GXT and PACER HRpeak (197 vs 197 beats·min), RERpeak (1.13 vs 1.12), V˙O2peak (45.0 vs 45.9 mL·kg·min), and RPEpeak (8.4 vs 8.3). The SE of the measurement between the GXT V˙O2peak and PACER V˙O2peak was 1.4 mL·kg·min.

Conclusions: It appears that the PACER elicits similar peak exercise responses compared with a treadmill GXT. The PACER can also be administered for fitness and functional capacity assessments in healthy and clinical populations.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Exercise Test / methods*
  • Female
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Physical Fitness
  • Regression Analysis
  • Running / physiology