A 3-min All-Out Test to Determine Peak Oxygen Uptake and the Maximal Steady State


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise:
doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000232024.06114.a6
APPLIED SCIENCES: Physical Fitness and Performance

Purpose: We tested the hypothesis that a 3-min all-out cycling test would provide a measure of peak oxygen uptake (V·O2peak) and estimate the maximal steady-state power output.

Methods: Eleven habitually active subjects performed a ramp test, three 3-min all-out tests against a fixed resistance, and two further submaximal tests lasting up to 30 min, 15 W below or above the power output attained in the last 30 s of the 3-min test (the end-test power).

Results: The V·O2peak measured during the 3-min all-out test (mean ± SD: 3.78 ± 0.68 L·min−1) was not different from that of the ramp test (3.84 ± 0.79 L·min−1; P = 0.75). The end-test power (257 ± 49 W) was significantly lower than that at the end of the ramp test (368 ± 73 W) and significantly higher than the power at the gas exchange threshold (169 ± 55 W; P < 0.001). Nine subjects were able to complete 30 min of exercise at 15 W below the end-test power, and seven of these did so with a steady-state blood [lactate] and V˙O2 response profile. In contrast, when subjects exercised at 15 W above the end-test power, blood [lactate] and V·O2 rose inexorably until exhaustion, which occurred in approximately 13 ± 7 min.

Conclusions: These data suggest that a 3-min all-out exercise test can be used to establish V·O2peak and to estimate the maximal steady state.

Author Information

1Department of Sport and Exercise Science, University of Wales, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, UNITED KINGDOM; and 2Chelsea School Research Centre, University of Brighton, Eastbourne, East Sussex, UNITED KINGDOM

Address for correspondence: Mark Burnley, Ph.D., Department of Sport and Exercise Science, Carwyn James Building, University of Wales, Aberystwyth, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 3FD, UK; E-mail: mhb@aber.ac.uk.

Submitted for publication January 2006.

Accepted for publication May 2006.

©2006The American College of Sports Medicine