Background: Because of recent technological advances, exercise testing laboratories now have the ability to use ramp protocols with treadmill exercise tests. Since the Bruce protocol is the most widely used treadmill protocol in clinical laboratories, a standardized ramp treadmill protocol was developed that corresponds to the speed and grade settings of the Bruce protocol at each 3-minute time interval. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the utility of using subject demographic and exercise test data to predict peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak) for tests conducted with the BSU/Bruce Ramp protocol.
Methods: Maximal exercise tests were performed by 698 men and women using the BSU/Bruce Ramp protocol. Peak oxygen uptake was measured during all tests. Stepwise multiple regression analyses were used to predict VO2peak (mL.kg-1.min-1) from maximal treadmill test time and selected variables including age, gender, physical activity habits, and body weight.
Results: Maximal test time was found to be the most potent predictor of VO2peak, accounting for 86% of the variance in peak aerobic power, with a standard error of estimate of 3.4 mL kg min-1. A multiple regression equation including age, gender, physical activity habits, and body weight resulted in a slightly improved prediction (R2 = 0.88; standard error of estimates = 3.1 mL kg min-1).
Conclusions: Peak oxygen uptake values can be predicted with reasonable accuracy from the BSU/Bruce Ramp protocol. The BSU/Bruce Ramp would be an excellent choice for laboratories desiring to use a ramp treadmill protocol because of the design of the protocol with identical workloads at equivalent time periods (3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21 minutes) as the commonly used Bruce protocol.