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


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: November 2006 - Volume 38 - Issue 11 - p 1995-2003
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.

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:

Submitted for publication January 2006.

Accepted for publication May 2006.

©2006The American College of Sports Medicine