Int J Sports Med 2013; 34(12): 1058-1062
DOI: 10.1055/s-0033-1341436
Training & Testing
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Analysis of Square-wave Bouts to Verify VO2max

D. Sedgeman
1   Department of Human Performance, Minnesota State University, Mankato, United States
L. Dalleck
2   Human Performance, Minnesota State University, Mankato, United States
I. E. Clark
3   Viola Holbrook Human Performance Research Laboratory, Minnesota State University, Mankato, United States
N. Jamnick
3   Viola Holbrook Human Performance Research Laboratory, Minnesota State University, Mankato, United States
R. W. Pettitt
4   Kinesiology, California State University, Fresno, United States
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

accepted after revision 24 February 2013

Publication Date:
05 June 2013 (online)


Submaximal and supramaximal square-wave bouts have been reported to consistently verify ‘true’ VO2max. Although a direct comparison between both protocols exists, knowledge on the statistical consistency between the protocols using the same group of participants is lacking. The purpose of this study was to conduct an analysis of the submaximal and supramaximal verification bout performed shortly subsequent to a graded exercise test (GXT). On 2 separate occasions, 6 males and 7 females (age: 29±9 years) completed a GXT protocol and an exhaustive, square-wave bout at either end-GXT power minus 2-stages or 105% end-GXT power. No differences (p>0.05) in VO2max were observed between the GXT and square-wave bouts. The typical error (ml/kg/min) for submaximal (1.09) and supramaximal (1.04) trials was similar. Likewise, similar relative measures of consistency were observed for the submaximal (ICC α=0.97, CV=2.4%) and supramaximal trials (ICC α=0.95, CV=2.3%). For a GXT lasting ~10–12 min, the submaximal or supramaximal protocols appear to be equally effective.

  • References

  • 1 American College of Sports Medicine . ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams & Williams; 2010: 158
  • 2 Astorino TA. Alterations in VO2max and the VO2 plateau with manipulation of sampling interval. Clin Physiol Funct Imaging 2009; 29: 60-67
  • 3 Astorino TA, White AC, Dalleck LC. Supramaximal testing to confirm attainment of VO2max in sedentary men and women. Int J Sports Med 2009; 30: 279-284
  • 4 Bentley DJ, Newell J, Bishop D. Incremental exercise test design and analysis: implications for performance diagnostics in endurance athletes. Sports Med 2007; 37: 575-586
  • 5 Borg G. Perceived exertion as an indicator of somatic stress. Scand J Rehabil Med 1970; 2: 92-98
  • 6 Dalleck LC, Astorino TA, Erickson RM, McCarthy CM, Beadell AA, Botten BH. Suitability of verification testing to confirm attainment of VO2max in middle-aged and older adults. Res Sports Med 2012; 20: 118-128
  • 7 Day JR, Rossiter HB, Coats EM, Skasick A, Whipp BJ. The maximally attainable VO2 during exercise in humans: the peak vs. maximum issue. J Appl Physiol 2003; 95: 1901-1907
  • 8 Gaesser GA, Poole DC. The slow component of oxygen uptake kinetics in humans. Exerc Sport Sci Rev 24: 35-70
  • 9 George JD, Stone WJ, Burkett LN. Non-exercise VO2max estimation for physically active college students. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1997; 29: 415-423
  • 10 Harriss DJ, Atkinson G. Update – Ethical Standards in Sport and Exercise Science Research. Int J Sports Med 2011; 32: 819-821
  • 11 Hawkins MN, Raven PB, Snell PG, Stray-Gundersen J, Levine BD. Maximal oxygen uptake as a parametric measure of cardiorespiratory capacity. Med Sci Sport Exerc 2007; 39: 103-107
  • 12 Hill AV, Lupton H. Muscular exercise, lactic acid, and the supply and utilization of oxygen. Q J Med 1923; 16: 135-171
  • 13 Hill DW, Poole DC, Smith JC. The relationship between power and the time to achieve VO2max . Med Sci Sports Exerc 2002; 34: 709-714
  • 14 Hopkins WG. Measures of reliability in sports medicine and science. Sports Med 2000; 30: 1-15
  • 15 Howley ET, Bassett DR, Welch HG. Criteria for maximal oxygen uptake: review and commentary. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1995; 27: 1292-1301
  • 16 Jackson AS, Blair SN, Mahar MT, Wier LT, Ross RM, Stuteville JE. Prediction of functional aerobic capacity without exercise testing. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1990; 22: 863-870
  • 17 Johnson TM, Sexton PJ, Placek AM, Murray SR, Pettitt RW. Reliability analysis of the 3-min all-out exercise test for cycle ergometry. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2011; 43: 2375-2380
  • 18 Jones AM, Vanhatalo A, Burnley M, Morton RH, Poole DC. Critical power: implications for the determination of VO2max and exercise tolerance. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2010; 42: 1876-1890
  • 19 Kirkeberg JM, Dalleck LC, Kamphoff CS, Pettitt RW. Validity of 3 protocols for verifying VO2max . Int J Sports Med 2011; 32: 266-270
  • 20 Levine BD. VO2max: what do we know, and what do we still need to know?. J Physiol 2008; 586: 25-34
  • 21 Midgley AW, McNaughton LR, Carroll S. Verification phase as a useful tool in the determination of the maximal oxygen uptake of distance runners. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab 2006; 31: 541-548
  • 22 Midgley AW, McNaughton LR, Polman R, Marchant D. Criteria for determination of maximal oxygen uptake: a brief critique and recommendations for future research. Sports Med 2007; 37: 1019-1028
  • 23 Morton RH. Why peak power is higher at the end of steeper ramps: an explanation based on the “critical power” concept. J Sports Sci 2011; 29: 307-309
  • 24 Poole DC, Wilkerson DP, Jones AM. Validity of criteria for establishing maximal O2 uptake during ramp exercise tests. Eur J Appl Physiol 2008; 102: 403-410
  • 25 Rossiter HB, Kowalchuk JM, Whipp BJ. A test to establish maximum O2 uptake despite no plateau in the O2 uptake response to ramp incremental exercise. J Appl Physiol 2006; 100: 764-770
  • 26 Scharhag-Rosenberger F, Carlsohn A, Cassel M, Mayer F, Scharhag J. How to test maximal oxygen uptake: a study on timing and testing procedure of a supramaximal verification test. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab 2011; 36: 153-160
  • 27 Sieverdes JC, Sui X, Lee DC, Timothy SC, Amanda McClain A, Hand GA, Blair SN. Physical activity, cardiorespiratory fitness and the incidence of type 2 diabetes in a prospective study of men. Br J Sports Med 2010; 44: 238-244
  • 28 Taylor HC, Buskirk E, Henschel A. Maximum oxygen intake as an objective measure of cardiorespiratory fitness. J Appl Physiol 1955; 8: 73-80
  • 29 Vanhatalo A, Jones AM. Influence of prior sprint exercise on the parameters of the ‘all-out critical power test’ in man. Exp Physiol 2008; 94: 255-263
  • 30 Wood RE, Hills AP, Hunter GR, King NA, Byrne NM. VO2max in overweight and obese adults: do they meet the threshold criteria?. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2010; 42: 470-477