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Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise:
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Aerobic requirements of overground versus treadmill running


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BASSETT, DAVID R., JR., MICHAEL D. GIESE, FRANCIS J. NAGLE, ANN WARD, DIANE M. RAAB, and BRUNO BALKE. Aerobic requirements of overground versus treadmill running. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 17, No. 4, pp. 477-481, 1985. There is general agreement that the oxygen demand of level running is similar for both the treadmill (TM) and overground situations at speeds under 260 m[middle dot]min-1. However, controversy exists with regard to inclined running. The prevailing view, represented by the ACSM prediction formulas, is that overground hill running is theoretically more costly than inclined treadmill running. This study was designed to investigate the problem from an empirical standpoint. Seven male subjects performed overground and TM running at two grades (0 and 5.7%) over a range of speeds between 136-286 m[middle dot]min-1. For the outdoor trials, subjects covered a distance of 950 m at a constant pace, and expired gas was collected over the last 150 m. Matching trials were then performed on the treadmill at the same speed and % grade. Regression lines were calculated for speed vs oxygen consumption ([latin capital V with dot above]O2). For TM and overground level running, these were:

[latin capital V with dot above]O2 (ml[middle dot]kg-1-min-1)=0.222 x speed (m[middle dot]min-1) - 1.33 and

[latin capital V with dot above]O2 (ml[middle dot]kg-1[middle dot]min-1)=0.202 x speed (m[middle dot]min-1) + 3.21

respectively. The regression lines from TM and overground inclined running were:

[latin capital V with dot above]O2 (ml[middle dot]kg-1[middle dot]min-1)=0.237 x speed (m[middle dot]min-1) + 7.53, and

[latin capital V with dot above]O2 (ml[middle dot]kg-1[middle dot]min-1)=0.233 x speed (m[middle dot]min-1) + 7.78

respectively. A 2 x 3 x 2 ANOVA revealed that the differences between mean values for [latin capital V with dot above]O2 for level TM running vs level overground running and grade TM running vs grade overground running were not statistically significant (0.10<P<0.25). Therefore, it would appear that measurements of [latin capital V with dot above]O2 obtained during level and inclined TM running arc valid when applied to the overground situation in the range of speeds considered in this study.

(C)1985The American College of Sports Medicine


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