Jump to Main Content
Using ramp-incremental V̇O₂ responses for constant-intensity exercise selection
- Keir, Daniel A., Paterson, Donald H., Kowalchuk, John M., Murias, Juan M.
- Applied physiology, nutrition and metabolism 2018 v.43 no.9 pp. 882-892
- data collection, exercise, exercise test, models, oxygen, oxygen consumption, sports
- Despite compelling evidence to the contrary, the view that oxygen uptake (V̇O₂) increases linearly with exercise intensity (e.g., power output, speed) until reaching its maximum persists within the exercise physiology literature. This viewpoint implies that the V̇O₂ response at any constant intensity is predictable from a ramp-incremental exercise test. However, the V̇O₂ versus task-specific exercise intensity relationship constructed from ramp-incremental versus constant-intensity exercise are not equivalent preventing the use of V̇O₂ responses from 1 domain to predict those of the other. Still, this “linear” translational framework continues to be adopted as the guiding principle for aerobic exercise prescription and there remains in the sport science literature a lack of understanding of how to interpret V̇O₂ responses to ramp-incremental exercise and how to use those data to assign task-specific constant-intensity exercise. The objectives of this paper are to (i) review the factors that disassociate the V̇O₂ versus exercise intensity relationship between ramp-incremental and constant-intensity exercise paradigms; (ii) identify when it is appropriate (or not) to use ramp V̇O₂ responses to accurately assign constant-intensity exercise; and (iii) illustrate the technical and theoretical challenges with prescribing constant-intensity exercise solely on information acquired from ramp-incremental tests. Actual V̇O₂ data collected during cycling exercise and V̇O₂ kinetics modelling are presented to exemplify these concepts. Possible solutions to overcome these challenges are also presented to inform on appropriate intensity selection for individual-specific aerobic exercise prescription in both research and practical settings.