The purpose of the current study was to evaluate if a verification test (VT) performed in the field offers more confident results than traditional criteria in the determination of maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max). Twelve amateur runners (36.6 +/- 6.6 years) performed a maximal graded field test and after 15 min of passive recovery a supramaximal test to exhaustion at 105% of their velocity associated with VO2max (vVO2max). Traditional criteria and two different verification criteria were evaluated. Verification criteria were: 1) maximal oxygen uptake achieved in the verification test (VO2verif) must be <= 5% higher than VO2peak, and 2) no significant differences of means between tests. All participants met the first verification criterion although significant differences were found between VO2peak and VO2verif (59.4 +/- 5.1 vs. 56.2 +/- 4.7 ml[middle dot]kg-1[middle dot]min-1, p< 0.01). The criteria for the plateau, peak heart rate (HRpeak), maximum respiratory exchange ratio (RERmax) and maximum blood lactate concentration ([La]max) were satisfied by 75%, 66%, 92% and 66% of the participants, respectively. Kappa coefficients gave a significant and substantial agreement beyond chance between traditional criteria (p<0.001). Despite the substantial agreement, traditional criteria induced the rejection of participants that might have achieved a true VO2max with HRpeak and [La]max being the more stringent criteria for amateur runners. A verification protocol in the field using the criterion based on individual analysis is recommended.
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