Effect of protocol on determination of velocity at VO2 max and on its time to exhaustion

Arch Physiol Biochem. 1996;104(3):313-21. doi: 10.1076/apab.104.3.313.12908.


The velocity associated with the achievement of VO2 max during an incremental treadmill test (v VO2 max) has been reported to be an indicator of performance in middle distance running events. Previous study has shown the reproducibility of the time to exhaustion (time limit: tlim) at v VO2 max performed by well-trained males in the same condition at one week of interval (Billat et al., 1994b). It is essential in studies involving tlim at v VO2 max that the v VO2 max be precisely determined, or else the measured tlim will be meaningless. The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of the stage duration and velocity incrementation on the velocity at VO2 max and, consequently, on the two times to exhaustion (tlim) associated with the two v VO2 max generated by the two protocols. v VO2 max was determined in 15 trained male endurance athletes as the lowest speed at which VO2 max was attained in speed-incremented 0%-slope treadmill tests. For one test, increments were 1.0 km.h-1 and stages were 2 min in duration; for the other test, increments were 0.5 km.h-1 and stages were 1 min in duration. Results of paired means t-tests revealed no difference in v VO2 max obtained using the two protocols. v VO2 max was 20.7 +/- 1.0 km.h-1 with the 1.0 km.h-1 x 2 min protocol and 20.8 +/- 0.9 km.h-1 with the 0.5 km.h-1 x 1 min protocol. In addition, VO2, VCO2, VE, VE/VO2 and respiratory exchange ratio at the submaximal intensities that were common to both protocols (e.g., 17.0 km.h-1, 18.0 km.h-1, 19.0 km.h-1, 20.0 km.h-1) did not differ. Times to exhaustion at the two v VO2 max demonstrated a high degree of inter-individual variability (coefficients of variation were 35% and 45%) but did not differ (345 +/- 120 s versus 373 +/- 169 s). These results demonstrated that small changes in protocol have no significant impact on the value of v VO2 max and in consequence on tlim v VO2 max.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Exercise Test
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Lactic Acid / blood
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption*
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Running / physiology


  • Lactic Acid