The ability to directly quantify anaerobic power is not possible in level running because of a lack of vertical displacement, which is necessary to calculate mechanical work (5,30). However, various field and laboratory tests have been developed to assess anaerobic contributions from sprint performance (2,6,36,38–40,43). The Wingate anaerobic test (WAnT) has been accepted as a “gold standard” laboratory test to evaluate anaerobic power (3,23); however, this test is specific to cycling (4). Additionally, a recent study by Legaz-Arrese et al. (28) concluded that performance in the WAnT was not significantly associated with running performance in any distance event. The results of their study indicated that the WAnT was not a useful tool for the anaerobic evaluation of elite distance runners. Other laboratory tests of anaerobic power include the use of treadmills, isokinetic dynamometers, and upper-body ergometers (2,35,38,39). Although laboratory tests are often efficient, reliable, and valid, the protocols employ methods that may be different than the demands placed on an athlete in a competitive environment or in a field test.
Field tests of anaerobic capacity exist to test participants on a task simulating the demands of a game or event. Field tests include vertical jumps, high-intensity shuttle runs, and short distance sprints (e.g., the 50- and 200-m sprints) (2,6,43). Other tests of anaerobic power are sport specific (e.g., WAnT for cyclists or vertical jump for basketball and volleyball players). The Hawaii anaerobic run test (HART) was created to provide a reliable and valid, sport-specific field test of anaerobic capacity, which may be more specific for those untrained in cycling. The HART consisted of a 200-m maximal effort sprint on a standard 400-m track, with the collection of split times to determine peak and mean momentum (body mass × velocity), and fatigue index, obtained by electronic timing gates placed at 25-m increments throughout the test distance. An important difference between the HART and a 200-m sprint performance was the directions provided to the participants who were instructed to run through the first 25 m as fast as possible and try to cover subsequent intervals in the fastest possible time without pacing or necessarily trying to achieve their fastest total run time for the 200-m distance.
Momentum ([body mass × distance]/time) was chosen as a criterion variable for the HART because it is calculated in a manner similar to that of power (force × distance/time) and can be converted to impulse using the linear impulse equation (30). Calculations of impulse were included because collision sports such as American football rely on impulse for blocking, tackling, and forcing turnovers. Convergent validity of the HART as a sprint test of anaerobic capacity can be demonstrated by evaluating the relationship between momentum obtained from the HART and power as obtained from the WAnT, which should be highly correlated.
Maximum anaerobic tests such as the WAnT, and the HART, may be used to compare sport-specific anaerobic performance between participants. The anaerobic nature of the HART protocol can be confirmed by blood lactate analysis, which is a criterion measure used to evaluate maximum anaerobic testing (17,27). Lactic acid is a byproduct of pyruvic acid in glycolysis, and its formation in the blood serves as an indirect measure of the anaerobic contribution of work elicited during high-intensity exercise (11,14,27,39,44). Blood lactate concentrations will increase from rest after anaerobic bouts of exercise. Blood samples obtained 7 minutes after exercise provide reasonable measurements of maximum posttest blood lactate concentrations (14).
In summary, the HART was developed to provide a mean of assessing anaerobic capacity specific to sprinters. Because this is a newly developed test, its reliability and validity has yet to be established. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to demonstrate reliability and to validate the HART by comparing anaerobic performance and capacity values with those produced during the WAnT.
Experimental Approach to the Problem
A repeated-measures cross-over design was used to determine the reliability and convergent validity of the HART when compared with the gold standard WAnT. Participants completed 2 anaerobic capacity tests (WAnT: 1 trial and HART: 2 trials). The 3 trials were randomly assigned and counterbalanced to be performed on 3 separate days separated by at least 3 and no more than 7 days. Reliability of the HART was assessed through intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs). Convergent validity was assessed through the comparison of WAnT peak power, mean power, and fatigue with HART peak momentum, mean momentum, and fatigue.
Participation in this study consisted of a cross-sectional population of 96 healthy physically active volunteers aged 18–34 years from the University community. Anthropometric data are presented in Table 1. No attempt was made to document or control for training status of the participants or menstrual phase of the female participants. However, subjects were asked to rate their level of current physical activity on an 11-point scale (16) resulting in a mean score indicating that they participated in a vigorous activity between 30 and 60 minutes per week or ran between 1 and 5 miles per week. Participants were instructed to report to each test session in a well-hydrated state, 4 hours postprandial. Before testing, all participants completed an institutional human subjects committee approved informed consent form, a medical history questionnaire, and a physical activity readiness questionnaire. These screening forms were developed in accordance with the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guidelines for participation in exercise. Inclusion criteria for all participants included classification as low risk (ACSM Risk Stratification Categories) for exercise testing and freedom from cardiovascular, coronary artery, pulmonary, or metabolic diseases (31). Nine potential participants were excluded for not meeting inclusion criteria. All study procedures were approved by a university institutional review board for studies involving human subjects.
Wingate Anaerobic Test
The WAnT is a maximal effort 30-second cycling test against frictional resistance (3). A cycle ergometer designed specifically for use with the WAnT protocol (Monark Ergomedic 834 E; Monark Exercise AB, Vansbro, Sweden) was used following standard procedures (3,23). Data were collected in an environmentally controlled laboratory using specialized software (SMI Power; Sports Medicine Industries, Inc., St Cloud, MN, USA) that uses an optical sensor to count flywheel revolutions and corrects the data for flywheel inertia. The optical sensor position was calibrated before each test (3,23). The reliability of the WAnT was not tested in this study but has been reported to range from r = 0.89 to 0.98 (3) with r = 0.96 (p ≤ 0.05) when testing active young adults (12). Validity of the WAnT was established through correlation to various other field and laboratory tests (r ≥ 0.75) (3).
Hawaii Anaerobic Run Test
The HART consisted of a 200-m sprint performed on a standard 400-m track (Super X Performance; Mondo USA, Inc., Grapevine, TX, USA). The 200-m distance seems appropriate to evaluate anaerobic power in approximately 30 seconds for healthy physically active people. A test period of 30 seconds corresponds to a sufficient duration to extensively tax the phosphagen and glycolytic anaerobic energy systems (38).
Environmental conditions, including temperature, relative humidity, and wind speed, were collected for all HART trials. Wind speed was measured using a Skymate wind meter (Speedtech, Great Falls, VA, USA), and temperature and relative humidity were measured using a Traceable Compact Digital Barometer (Control Company, Friendswood, TX, USA). A portable wireless timing system with a reported accuracy of 0.001 second (Wireless Sprint System; Brower Timing Systems, Draper, UT, USA) was used to collect split times during the HART. This system included an electronic timer triggered to start and determine split times as participants ran through infrared beams positioned approximately at waist height; results were displayed on a hand-held monitor. Electronic timing gates were placed at 25-m intervals around the track (start line, 25, 50, 75, 100, 125, 150, 175, 200, and 225 m) to collect split times for each participant. Participants completed the test on a timed course set up in a similar fashion to the 200-m event as performed during competition using the staggered start line on the first curve. All trials were completed in lane 3 to remove some of the potential for reduced velocity from running a tighter curve in lane 1 or 2. Before entering the timed portion of the 200-m sprint, participants were asked to accelerate over a 15-m distance so as to attain their fastest speed as they reached the starting line. Participants were asked to run as fast as possible through each 25-m section of the test without pacing themselves or saving their energy for a burst of speed at the finish. The 225-m timing gate was placed at the end of the timed distance to encourage participants to sprint through the entire 200-m timing course but was not activated or used in the subsequent analysis.
Anaerobic performance determined by the HART was assessed through split times, which were subsequently used to calculate velocities, peak momentum, mean momentum, and fatigue index. Fatigue index represented the percent decrease in momentum throughout the duration of the test. Recorded 25-m split times for each participant were obtained and used to calculate velocity at each interval to derive anaerobic performance variables. Data were recorded to the nearest 0.01 second and converted to velocity (to the nearest 0.05 m·s−1), and momentum was calculated to the nearest 0.05 kg·m·s−1 and used for data analyses. Computations were conducted using the following formulae:
- Velocity (m·s−1) = Δ distance (m)/time (s).
- Peak momentum (kg·m·s−1) = body mass (kg) × highest split velocity (m·s−1).
- Mean momentum (kg·m·s−1) = body mass (kg)·× average split velocity (m·s−1).
- Fatigue index (%) = (peak momentum − lowest momentum) × 100/peak momentum.
- Impulse = (Δ momentum/Δ time)/6.12.
Impulse during the HART was estimated using the linear impulse equation, where ∑ Force (Δ time) = Δ momentum (30). The change in momentum was calculated assuming that the participant went from peak momentum to a complete stop in 0.1 second. Although the change in time of 0.1 second was selected somewhat arbitrarily, it was based on report of a professional high diver who performed a 57-foot dive onto a 3-foot foam pad without injury. The reported pulse duration (time measured from contact with the foam pad until a complete stop) for the diver was 0.1 second (32). Additionally, the U.S. Air Force pamphlet (91-211) examined impact injuries where examples of load limits for various tissues were calculated over a 0.1-second impulse time (1). In our laboratory, the impulse time of a 20-lb medicine ball dropped onto a force plate from a distance of 1 m was 0.02 seconds, and a man jumping from a height of 1.5 m had an impulse time of 0.14 seconds. Therefore, the use of an impulse time of 0.1 second seems reasonable for converting running momentum into estimates of impulse. Obviously, if a different pulse time were chosen, impulse estimates would change proportionally.
The YSI 1500 Sport L-Lactate Analyzer (Yellow Springs Instrument Co., Inc., Yellow Springs, OH, USA) was used to analyze blood lactate concentrations. Before blood sample analysis, the lactate analyzer was calibrated using commercial standards according to the company's user manual.
Blood samples were obtained from a free-flowing digit puncture and handled according to guidelines set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Samples were lysed and stored on ice and analyzed at the completion of each data collection session. Lactate analysis has been reported to be a valid and reliable measure of anaerobic capacity (14,17,44). Blood lactate production from 200-m sprints has been previously reported to correlate highly to run times (r = −0.78, p < 0.001) (14).
Heart Rate Analysis
Heart rate (HR) data were used to support achievement of maximal effort throughout each test. A standard HR monitor with telemetry system (Polar Electro, Inc., Woodbury, NY, USA) was used to measure HR. The HR monitor was fitted to each participant's chest and worn during all exercise tests. The HRmax during exercise was displayed on a monitor and used for data analysis. Commercially available HR monitors have been compared with standard electrocardiograms for their validity and reliability (10,22,26,29). Correlation of the 2 devices to measure HR has been established previously (r = 0.93–0.98) (26).
Rating of Perceived Exertion
Differentiated ratings of perceived exertion (RPEs) were assessed using Borg's (9) RPE (6–20) scale to determine the attainment of maximal effort from participants throughout all exercise tests (34,37). Participants were instructed to rate the difficulty of the work on completion of the WAnT and HART. To gain a more specific indication of work, a differentiated RPE scale was used as it assesses local muscular ratings for feelings and sensations in the legs, a central rating for feelings and sensations for chest and breathing, and an overall rating of exertion (37).
Data Collection Procedures
Data for the 3 anaerobic test trials (1 WAnT and 2 HART trials) were collected on 3 separate days, each separated by at least 72 hours. Participants were instructed to maintain activities of daily living between exercise trials and refrain from any strenuous activities during the data collection period. Exercise trials were randomly assigned before the first trial and counterbalanced for the second and third trial sessions to control for an order effect.
Height was determined using a wall-mounted stadiometer (67032 Seca Telescopic Stadiometer, Fitness Mart, Country Technology, Inc., Gays Mills, WI, USA), and data were recorded to the nearest 0.5 cm. Body mass was measured using an eye-level beam scale (442 Certifier, Detecto; Cardinal Scale Manufacturing Co., Webb City, MO, USA), and data were recorded to the nearest 0.01 kg. Body composition was determined by measurements from skinfold calipers (Lange Skinfold Caliper; Cambridge Scientific Industries, Cambridge, MA, USA). Gender-specific body density was estimated using the Jackson and Pollock (24,25) 3-site equations. Men were assessed through thigh, chest, and abdomen skinfolds, whereas women had their thigh, triceps, and suprailiac skinfold sites measured. Participants' sites were located and marked, and skinfolds were obtained as described by Jackson and Pollock. All measurements were taken on participants' dominant side; each site was measured twice, and if values differed by more than 1 mm, a third measurement was taken. Skinfold data were averaged and resulting density values were used to estimate body composition using the equation of Brozek (9).
Participants were fitted with a HR monitor to wear throughout the duration of the session. Participants then performed one of the randomly assigned anaerobic capacity tests (WAnT or HART). Immediately after completion of each test, differentiated RPE values were recorded, and maximal HR was assessed. Seven minutes after completion of the exercise test, posttest blood samples were collected.
To examine the reliability of the HART, participants completed 2 trials of the sprint test, and ICCs (41) and SEM were calculated to compare peak and mean momentum between trials (45). Pearson product moment correlation coefficients were used to demonstrate the relationship between anaerobic performance variables during WAnT and the faster of the 2 trials of the HART. Differences in blood lactate, HR, and RPE among participants from trials 1 and 2 of the HART and between fatigue index values of the HART and WAnT were determined using dependent t-tests. Differences in environmental conditions between trials of the HART were assessed using independent t-tests. Statistical analysis was conducted using SAS (version 9.1 English Software Package; SAS Institute, Inc., Cary, NC, USA).
Participants' performance variables for the WAnT and the HART are reported in Table 2, including peak and mean power, velocity, momentum, and fatigue index. Direct comparison between performance variables between tests could only be made relative to the fatigue index that was significantly lower during the HART (p < 0.001). There were no significant differences in mean temperature (trial 1: 31.2° C; trial 2: 30.5° C; p = 0.25), relative humidity (trial 1: 47.4%; trial 2: 49.3%; p = 0.27), or wind speed (trial 1: 3.59 mph; trial 2: 3.89 mph; p = 0.41) between HART trials. Split times for each 25-m segment of the HART increased relative to the previous split, with the mean time for first split at 3.82 seconds and the last split at 4.60 seconds. Table 3 presents maximum HR, RPE, and peak blood lactate values from the anaerobic exercise tests. Participants demonstrated significantly higher peak blood lactate (p = 0.0011) and HR (p < 0.0001) values during the HART than they did during the WAnT. Table 4 presents the reliability data for the HART as assessed by ICC(2,1) from trials 1 and 2 for both peak (0.98) and mean momentum (0.99) (41,45). No significant differences were found between HR (p = 0.39), blood lactate (p = 0.14), or overall RPE (p = 0.15) when comparing trials 1 and 2 of the HART (Table 5). Convergent validity was assessed through the use of Pearson's product moment correlation coefficients comparing peak momentum from the HART to peak power from the WAnT (r = 0.88). The correlation between mean momentum and mean power was also calculated (r = 0.94) (Table 6).
The primary findings of this study were that the HART protocol was both reliable and valid for assessing anaerobic performance. The high ICCs for reliability of peak and mean momentum (Table 4) were similar to those found during the original pilot testing of the HART on trained participants (0.94–0.96). Currently, there are no established ICC values for ascertaining reliability (45). However, when viewed with the SEM, which were calculated to be 3.5% and 3.0% of the peak and mean momentum values, respectively, the HART was determined to be reliable. The reliability of the HART (ICC = 0.98–0.99) was similar to the reliability of other anaerobic tests such as the WAnT (0.89–0.98) (3,12), vertical jump (0.99) (6), Margaria-Kalamen test (0.97) (6), MART (0.92) (35), and 10- to 20-m sprints (0.81–0.93) (33).
Other criteria have been proposed that must be met to classify a test as reliable. These include a high number of participants completing at least 2 trials, as opposed to having a small number of participants complete a large number of trials (20). This study included 96 participants, each completing 2 identical trials of the HART on different days. Reliability studies should also use the same individuals collecting all the data on the exact same equipment (20). The same researchers collected all the data for the HART using the same instruments for each trial. Skill level and motivation can also affect the reliability of a given exercise test (20,33). Assuming participants' exerted maximal effort for each trial, this study was unaffected by these threats to reliability because running is more widely practiced than cycling for the majority of people and standard instructions were given. Additionally, no significant differences were found for peak blood lactate concentration (p = 0.14), HRmax (p = 0.39), and overall RPE (p = 0.15) between trial 1 and trial 2 of the HART. Thus, the HART was determined to be a reliable test of anaerobic performance.
Face validity of the HART as a test of anaerobic power and capacity can be argued because it involves a sufficient duration to tax both the ATP-PCr and anaerobic glycolytic energy systems in a short sprint test of maximal effort. However, tests such as the WAnT are not exclusively anaerobic in nature and require some aerobic energy contribution ranging from approximately 18–20% (7,8). It seems reasonable to conclude aerobic contribution of the HART would be similar to that reported for the WAnT. However, the major source of the energy used during the HART is anaerobic in nature. To further establish the validity of the HART as a test of anaerobic power, convergent validity of the HART was examined.
To establish convergent validity, the HART should correlate highly to another test to which it should “theoretically” be related, in this case, the WAnT. Both exercise tests are anaerobic in nature, approximately the same length in time (30 seconds), use the same energy systems (ATP-PCr, anaerobic glycolysis), and involve similar muscle groups. It is logical to hypothesize that there should be a strong relationship between the outcome variables of each test. Therefore, the HART was compared with the gold standard of anaerobic testing, the WAnT. Peak power (WAnT) and peak momentum were highly correlated (r = 0.88, p ≤ 0.05), as was mean power (WAnT) and mean momentum (r = 0.94, p ≤ 0.05). Because momentum is converted to impulse using a constant, the correlations between estimated peak and mean impulse from the HART were the same as for peak and mean momentum and power from the WAnT (Table 6). Thus, the correlation coefficients comparing performance variables from both exercise tests were high, establishing convergent validity of the HART.
The above correlations were similar to values obtained when comparing the WAnT with other anaerobic exercise tests. Previously, peak power in the WAnT was found to result in moderate to high correlations when compared with 30- to 50-m sprints (2,3), vertical and horizontal jumps (r = 0.51–0.91) (2,43), and isokinetic leg extension power tests (38). Mean power has also been found to be highly correlated (r = 0.69–0.90) with activities such as swimming (3) and isokinetic leg extension test (38). One study reported that when comparing tests of anaerobic power with the WAnT, it is important to consider the contribution of specificity of training, motor coordination, and skill in a cycling motion (2). Another study tested the specific relationship between WAnT variables and run time from 200-m sprints (peak power r = −0.54, p ≤ 0.05; mean power r = −0.82, p < 0.001); however, no effort was made to calculate velocity or momentum (38). In this study, a similar relationship was seen between HART total time and both peak and mean power from the WAnT (r = −0.68 and −0.69, respectively). Conversion of split times to peak and mean momentum resulted in stronger correlations with WAnT results than total time to finish the sprint.
Subjects' level of effort was assessed through the collection of several physiological characteristics during the WAnT and the HART. Peak blood lactate concentration, HR, and RPE were assessed on completion of each exercise trial. Blood lactate concentrations were assessed in this study because it has been previously reported that these values provide a reliable indication of anaerobic capacity (11,14,17,39). Values obtained from the HART for peak blood lactate and HRmax were both significantly greater than achieved by the same participants during the WAnT (Table 3). The increased blood lactate levels during the HART could be because of the recruitment of additional muscle mass during running compared with the WAnT. However, the increased blood lactate levels achieved during the HART still demonstrate an increased ability to stress the anaerobic/glycolytic pathway. Thus, the HART may be a more specific test for anaerobic capacity than the WAnT for participants untrained in cycling.
The assessment of HR during maximal exercise testing mainly focuses on aerobic activities (13,15,18,21,42). In a previous study investigating HR during a short maximal effort WAnT (44), the participants achieved HR values (171.0 ± 2.2 b·min−1) similar to this study for the WAnT (178.7 ± 9.2 b·min−1). However, maximal HR obtained during the WAnT in this study were slightly lower than those obtained during the HART (185.2 ± 9.1 b·min−1). The increase in HR during the HART may be attributed to the weight-bearing exercise mode of the test that requires recruitment of greater muscle mass, whereas the WAnT is non–weight bearing on a cycle ergometer. During the HART, subjects reached 97 and 96% of age-predicted maximum HR during trial 1 and trial 2, respectively (15). Subjects only achieved 93% of age-predicted maximum HR during the WAnT (15). Therefore, HR data obtained during the HART trials support the contention that the participants gave a maximal effort.
Although the WAnT is well established and has been shown to be an accurate test of anaerobic power, the test is cycle specific, and data collection is dependent on fairly expensive pieces of equipment. The HART seems to be a reasonable alternative to the WAnT for untrained individuals or runners because it has been shown to be both reliable and valid. This study used electronic timing gates to achieve accurate split times; however, a recent study investigated the accuracy of the use of commercially available digital stopwatches for timing purposes. No significant differences existed between the electronic timing gates and the stopwatches, suggesting the HART can be conducted adequately and inexpensively with just a standardized running track and a stopwatch (19).
A limitation of this study is the use of momentum as the outcome variable for the HART. The HART results in measurements of velocity, which are subsequently converted to momentum. Momentum has SI units of kilogram per second and is the product of body mass and velocity, whereas power is measured in watts. The high correlations found in this study between peak and mean momentum from the HART and peak and mean power from the WAnT demonstrate the variables are highly related, even though the units of measure are different. Using the linear impulse formula and 0.1 second as a constant for the change in time (1,32), momentum achieved during the HART can be converted into impulse measures, indicating the force that might be generated in collision sports. Another potential limitation may involve the use of a standard 200-m competition course in this study. The requirement to maintain peak velocity during the curved initial portion of the test may have been difficult for some subjects not accustomed to sprinting through a curve. If the HART were performed on a 200-m straightaway (or begun on a straightaway and completed on the curve), it is possible that velocity during the initial splits may be even higher relative to the final splits and increase the fatigue index.
The fatigue index associated with performance in the HART (16.1%) was considerably less than that seen as a result of the WAnT (44.0%). When viewed with differentiated RPEs (mean range, 16–17), perhaps, the intensity of the HART could be increased. It may be possible to achieve higher values for momentum in the HART and increase the fatigue index through the application of a weight vest.
In summary, the findings of this study indicate that the HART was a reliable test of anaerobic power for running. Additionally, the HART was determined to have both face and convergent validity as a test of anaerobic power when compared with the gold standard WAnT. Confirmation of maximal effort by participants during the HART was established through blood lactate, HR, and RPE assessments. Therefore, it was concluded that the newly developed HART offers a reliable and valid test of anaerobic power during running that is easy to administer, inexpensive, and can be converted into estimates of power using the linear impulse formula.
Tests of anaerobic power and capacity often require the laboratory setting and elaborate equipment. The HART was shown to be a valid and reliable measure that can be easily administered using hand-held stopwatches on any track with cones to mark the 25-m increments and which, unlike other running tests designed to test anaerobic performance, is highly correlation to WAnT results. This test provides coaches and researchers with a valid and reliable way to assess anaerobic performance that may be more appropriate for individuals who are not trained cyclists.
No external funding was used for this study. No conflicts of interest are reported. The results of this study do not constitute endorsement of the product by the authors or the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
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Keywords:Copyright © 2014 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.
Wingate; anaerobic power; maximal sprint test; HART