Study objectives: To confirm that a newly drafted treadmill exercise protocol designed on a theoretical basis to span a range of 0 to 200 W with approximately 25-W increments by alteration of either speed or grade from one stage to the next should correspond to a standard bicycle protocol consisting of 25-W steps.
Design: Randomized, crossover study to compare both exercise test modes.
Study participants: Twenty-one consecutive healthy volunteers.
Interventions: Subjects underwent both exercise tests until either exhaustion or completion of the respective protocol, and cardiopulmonary exercise parameters were assessed during either of them. For comparison, correlation coefficients (r) were calculated.
Results: Exercise tolerance time was 9% higher on the treadmill (p<0.05). Ten subjects completed the bicycle program, whereas 18 subjects did so on the treadmill. With both protocols, there were comparably linear increases in heart rate (r=0.885), oxygen uptake (r=0.925), oxygen uptake per body weight (r=0.944), carbon dioxide output (r=0.937), and minute ventilation (r=0.914). For the 2-min stage duration, a plateau in oxygen uptake was achieved with neither protocol. The ventilatory equivalent for oxygen, which is not linear, showed its minimum at comparable workloads, at the point of surpassing the anaerobic threshold. Correlation of oxygen pulse was fair (r=0.896).
Conclusions: There was an excellent correlation of the parameters with respect to both measured values at identical workloads and slopes of both protocols, thus enabling comparability of treadmill and bicycle ergometry. Due to its practical handling, the new protocol may facilitate acceptance, especially when used for elderly or disabled patients.