During ramp-incremental exercise, the mean response time (MRT) of oxygen uptake (V˙O2) represents the time delay for changes in muscle V˙O2 to be reflected at the level of the mouth and is generally calculated by linear (MRTLIN) and monoexponential (τ') fitting of V˙O2 data. However, these methods yield MRT values that are highly variable from test-to-test.
Purpose: Therefore, we examined the validity and the reproducibility of a novel method to calculate the MRT.
Methods: On two occasions, 12 healthy men (age, 30 ± 10 yr; V˙O2max: 4.14 ± 0.47 L·min, 53.5 ± 7.3 mL·kg·min) performed a ramp-incremental cycling test (30 W·min) that was preceded by a step transition to 100 W. The ramp power output corresponding to the steady-state V˙O2 at 100 W was determined and the difference between that power output and 100 W was converted to time to quantify the MRT (MRTSS).
Results: The values of MRTLIN, τ', and MRTSS were 28 ± 16 s, 27 ± 12 s, and 26 ± 11 s, respectively, which were not different (P > 0.05) from each other. However, compared to the MRT parameters derived from the fitting-based methods, MRTSS had a higher correlation coefficient (R = 0.87) and a smaller coefficient of variation (15% ± 9%) from test-to-test.
Conclusions: In conclusion, the novel method proposed in the current study was found to be valid and highly reproducible in a test-retest design. Therefore, we advocate the use of this approach when a precise and accurate determination of the MRT is needed to properly align the V˙O2 data with power output during ramp-incremental exercise.