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Validation of Heart Rate Monitor-Based Predictions of Oxygen Uptake and Energy Expenditure

Montgomery, Paul G1,2; Green, Daniel J1; Etxebarria, Naroa1; Pyne, David B1,3; Saunders, Philo U1; Minahan, Clare L2

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: August 2009 - Volume 23 - Issue 5 - pp 1489-1495
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181a39277
Original Research

Montgomery, PG, Green, DJ, Etxebarria, N, Pyne, DB, Saunders, PU, and Minahan, CL. Validation of heart rate monitor-based predictions of oxygen uptake and energy expenditure. J Strength Cond Res 23(5): 1489-1495, 2009-To validate V̇o2 and energy expenditure predictions by the Suunto heart rate (HR) system against a first principle gas analysis system, well-trained male (n = 10, age 29.8 ± 4.3 years, V̇o2 65.9 ± 9.7 ml·kg1·min1) and female (n = 7, 25.6 ± 3.6 years, 57.0 ± 4.2 ml·kg1·min1) runners completed a 2-stage incremental running test to establish submaximal and maximal oxygen uptake values. Metabolic cart values were used as the criterion measure of V̇o2 and energy expenditure (kJ) and compared with the predicted values from the Suunto software. The 3 levels of software analysis for the Suunto system were basic personal information (BI), BI + measured maximal HR (BIhr), and BIhr + measured V̇o2 (BIhr + v). Comparisons were analyzed using linear regression to determine the standard error of the estimate (SEE). Eight subjects repeated the trial within 7 days to determine reliability (typical error [TE]). The SEEs for oxygen consumption via BI, BIhr, and BIhr + v were 2.6, 2.8, and 2.6 ml·kg1·min1, respectively, with corresponding percent coefficient of variation (%CV) of 6.0, 6.5, and 6.0. The bias compared with the criterion V̇o2 decreased from −6.3 for BI, −2.5 for BIhr, to −0.9% for BIhr + v. The SEE of energy expenditure improved from BI (6.74 kJ) to BIhr (6.56) and BIhr + v (6.14) with corresponding %CV of 13.6, 12.2, and 12.7. The TE values for V̇o2 were ∼0.60 ml·kg1·min1 and ∼2 kJ for energy expenditure. The %CV for V̇o2 and energy expenditure was ∼1 to 4%. Although reliable, basic HR-based estimations of V̇o2 and energy expenditure from the Suunto system underestimated V̇o2 and energy expenditure by ∼6 and 13%, respectively. However, estimation can be improved when maximal HR and V̇o2 values are added to the software analysis.

1Department of Physiology, Australian Institute of Sport, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia 2616; 2Physiotherapy and Exercise Science, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia; and 3Medical School, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia

Address correspondence to Paul G. Montgomery,

© 2009 National Strength and Conditioning Association