Aerobic Testing

Factors Affecting Aerobic Performance



      Fibre composition




      Health Status

Factors Affecting Aerobic Performance


(What training techniques would isolate these factors?)

      Cardiac 0utput = SV x HR

      a-v 02 difference

      Blood volume


      Substrate utilization

      Technique (economy)

      Maximum Ventilatory rate

      Anaerobic Threshold

What is the limiting factor for aerobic exercise?

      Central: cardiac output, blood volume, hemoglobin

      Peripheral: a-v O2 difference at the muscle


      1) an isolated muscle in-vitro can accept 2-3 X more oxygen

      2) VO2 max differs between arm, leg and arm and leg exercise

      3) Blood doping improves performance

      4) Aerobic capacity can only increase by 15-30% with training





Pre-Test Controls

Before any test of aerobic power, the subject should:


      have a resting heart rate below 100 bpm

      have a resting blood pressure < 144/94 mm Hg

      be free of any acute infection


Pre-Test Controls


      abstain from alcohol for at

      least 6 hours prior to the test




Pre-test Controls

      abstain from smoking at least 2 hours prior to the test


Pre-test Controls

      abstain from caffeine products at least 6 hours prior

      avoid a heavy meal within 3 to 4 hours of the test (a light, fat-free meal is fine)

      avoid vigorous exercise within 6 hours of the test

Pre-Test Controls

The laboratory conditions should be standardized as much as possible in terms of:


      temperature - as close to 18 to 20 C as possible;

      Adequate ventilation;

      absence of spectators;

      regularly calibrated treadmills and cycle ergometers


Criteria for Termination of Exercise Tests



      Volitional fatigue

      unusual fatigue or pain

      Mental confusion

      Cyanosis or pallor


      rapid, laboured breathing



Criteria for Termination of Exercise Tests

Blood Pressure

Since systolic pressure should rise with increased power output and heart rate, the following are reason to terminate a test:

      no increase in systolic pressure from resting to exercise conditions;

      distinct decline in systolic blood pressure during exercise;

      systolic pressure of 250 mm Hg or higher;

      diastolic pressure of 120 mm Hg or higher.



Aerobic Training

Factors to improve (How?):

      a) maximal aerobic power

   Interval or continuous

      b) lactate threshold

   Interval or continuous

      c) exercise economy

   Technique, resistance training, plyometrics

      d) fuel utilization



Aerobic Training

Program design variables:

      1) Exercise mode: training specificity

      2) Training frequency:

   a) increased intensity and duration results in a lower frequency

   b) training status affects frequency

   c) mesocycle or season

   d) recovery: need sufficient rest, fluids and CHO


Aerobic Training


      3) Exercise duration: influenced by exercise intensity

      4) Training intensity: adaptations specific to intensity

   increasing intensity results in greater enzymatic adaptations, muscle fibre recruitment, and lactate buffering


Aerobic Training

Monitoring Intensity:

      % of HR (Karvonnen method)

      % of VO2

      Blood Lactate

      Borg Scale

      Exercise velocity (compare to race time)


Aerobic Training

Types of Training

      LSD: Long Steady Distance

   increase in central CV and thermoregulatory functions

   increase in mitochondrial energy production and O2 capacity

   increase in fat utilization; increase in glycogen sparing

   increase in lactate threshold (moderately high intensity)

      Disadvantage: does not recruit high % of FT fibres



Aerobic Training

Pace / Tempo Training

      tempo slightly higher than race tempo; also called threshold training or aerobic / anaerobic threshold training

      2 types:

   Continuous; for 20 - 30 min @ lactate threshold

   Intermittent @ or slightly above lactate threshold

      Objective is to develop the race pace using same fibre recruitment as race pace

   increase VO2 max and anaerobic metabolism


Aerobic Training

Repetition training

      intensities greater than VO2 max for 30 - 90 sec

      1 - 4 / 6 work to rest ratios

      increase running speed and economy, increase capacity and tolerance of anaerobic metabolism

Aerobic Training

Fartlek Training

      changing tempos

      70 - 90% of VO2 max

      challenges all systems of the body

      increases VO2 max, lactate threshold, economy and improves fuel utilization

Aerobic Training

Water run training

      good for rehabilitation

      not velocity specific

      maintains VO2

      comparable movement patterns



Aerobic Training

Resistance training for aerobic training

      no change in V02

      increases recovery from injuries

      decreases muscle imbalance

      increases speed against resistance (ie hills)


Devise a weekly training program.

      1. Marathon : specific prep phase

      goal is to run sub-3 hr

      2. Regatta rower: specific prep phase

      3. 10 km runner: specific prep phase Goal: sub-40 min

      4. Tennis: specific prep phase preparing for hard and clay court matches

      5. Triathlon: specific prep phase

      6. Triathlon: pre-competitive phase



Devise an annual general periodized resistance and aerobic training program which includes the type of training and testing for one of the following sports:

    a) Hockey

    b) Squash

    c) Tennis

    d) Rugby

    e) Sprinter

    f) Soccer

Indicate generally how volume and intensity would change throughout the mesocycles

Training Programs

      Aerobic: 10 km race, marathon, soccer

      Glycogen, Glucose, Fat: 3 minutes - ?

      Low to moderate intensity: less than 85% maximum


10 km race

      Run race distance twice / week: specificity

      Run 1.5 or 2 X race distance once / week: improve glycogen sparing

      Aerobic Intervals: twice / week: a-v O2 difference


Training Programs

10 km race


      run 400 and 800 meter intervals @ 10-20% faster than race pace

      start @ 1:2 and progress to 1:1 and 1:1/2 work: rest ratio

      400 meters: 2 sets of 10-12 repetitions @ 20% faster than race pace

      800 meters: 1 set of 10-12 repetitions @ 10% faster than race pace


Training Programs


      Run very long distance once / week: improve glycogen sparing; Specificity

      Run 10-20 km 2-3 / week

      Aerobic Intervals: 1-2 / week

      800 - 1600 meters @ 10-20% faster than race pace

      start @ 1:2 and progress to 1:1 and 1:1/2 work: rest ratio

      800 meters: 1 set of 10-12 repetitions @ 20% faster than race pace

      1600 meters: 1 set of 5-8 repetitions @ 10% faster than race pace



Calculate VO2 Max

Vi= ? VE= 96 1 / min Mass = 95 kg

FEN2 = ? FEO2 = 0.1592

FECO2= 0.0476

FiN2 =

FiO2 =

FiCO2 =

you should notice that one of your calculations is physiologically incorrect.

Calculate VO2 Max

Vi= ? VE= 98 1/ min Mass = 80 kg

FEN2 = ? FEO2 = 0. 15 50

FECO2= 0.0450

Aerobic Treadmill Protocol

      2 min familiarization period: 5 km / h

      3 min slow jog: 8 km/h


      males: 9.5 -12 km / h

      females: 8-10.5km/h

      athletes: 12 - 13.5 1an / h


      Grade increased 2% every 2 minutes

      Expired gases collected in last 30 sec of every step change


Aerobic Treadmill Protocol

c) Testing Protocols

      Any protocol used to determine VO2max should:

      Begin with submaximal exercise and increase in intensity gradually enough so that the subject does not become exhausted anaerobically before reaching VO2max, but not so gradually that the working muscles become fatigued and therefore prevent the attainment of VO2max. Generally, the test should last at least 6 minutes and not more than 15 minutes

Aerobic Treadmill Protocol

      Require dynamic exercise of large muscle groups, the type of which is familiar to the subject and within their competency in terms of skill.


Aerobic Treadmill Protocol

      Be as specific as possible to the sport or movement pattern of the activity of the subject. If specifically trained muscles are involved in the test, the results will accurately reflect the training state of the subject for his/her activity much better than if non-specific muscle groups are used. In other words, the aerobic power of a distance runner cannot be adequately assessed by a bicycle test.

Submaximal Tests

The Astrand and Rhyming Submaximal Cycle Ergometer Test* (Astrand and Rodahl, 1977)


      This protocol was developed by Per-Olof Astrand and Irma Rhyming in the early 1950's, first on physical education students and later on adults (males and females) aged 20 to 65. It is based on several assumptions.


Submaximal Tests

1) The VO2 for a given submaximal power output is fixed (e.g., a fixed mechanical efOciency); that is, there is very little difference between people in terms of their submaximal VO2 response to a standard submaximal power output. This means you can predict the submaximal VO2 accurately from the power output done.


2) The HR increases linearly with an increasing power output and VO2 up to the subject's maximal HR.


Submaximal Tests

3) The maximal HR can be estimated on the basis of age.

      Thus, if the HR is determined at 2 or 3 submaximal power outputs (with known VO2 equivalents), this relationship can be extrapolated to the subject's maximal HR to predict VO2max. The HR response to submaximal exertion is mainly linked to the size of the subject's stroke volume (SV).

Submaximal Tests

      Astrand and Rhyming related submaximal HR's and (O2's to directly determined VO2max values and developed a nomogram to predict (O2max. Later, I. Astrand added an age correction factor and refined the nomogram based on additional research on more subjects (Astrand, 1960). The cycle ergometer was the recommended methodology, but the nomogram was constructed for use with a step test as well.

Submaximal Tests

Astrand and Rhyming Submaximal Cycle Ergometer Test Protocol


      Adjust the seat height of the cycle appropriate to the leg length of the subject, so that the leg is slightly bent when the pedal is at thc lowest point.

      The subject pedals at a speed of 50 rpm or 18 km/h throughout the test, beginning with about 2 minutes with no resistance (to accommodate to the bicycle and the pedaling rate).


Submaximal Tests

      A power output is assigned for 6 minutes in an attempt to achieve a heart rate response between 120 and 150 bpm; normally 75 to 100 watts for women and 100 to 150 watts for men (power output in kpm min' = 50 rpm x resistance in kg), but lower in very unfit or small individuals. Check the resistance and speed of pedaling constantly to ensure that the power output remains accurate.

Submaximal Tests

      The HR is measured each minute during exercise and the mean of the fifth and sixth minutes is considered the steady-state HR. If these HR differ by more than 5 bpm, the exercise load should be prolonged by one more minute to ensure a steady-state.


Submaximal Tests

      If the HR response to the first power output is below 120 bpm, an additional power output can be assigned, increasing by 25 watts for women and 50 watts for men. Astrand and Rodahl (1977) recommend not exceeding 150 bpm for people over 40 years of age. See "Criteria for Termination of Exercise Tests" above for more specific guidelines

Submaximal Tests

      The power outputs assigned should elicit HR's between 120 and 170 bpm to enable a prediction of (O2max. If one, but preferably two or more power outputs have accomplished that, the test can be terminated by removing the resistance gradually over a few seconds. Allow the subject to continue to pedal at a comfortable rate to aid recovery.


Modified Canadian Aerobic Fitness Test (mCAFT)

Post-Stepping Procedures:


      after last session: take and record the post exercise HR; validate HR monitor

      sit client in chair

      record the post stepping systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings:

   between 2:00 - 2:30 minutes

   between 3:30 - 4:00 minutes



Modified Canadian Aerobic Fitness Test (mCAFT)

      Measure and record a 15 second post-stepping heart rate:

   between 4:00 - 4:30 minutes

      before departure ensure that

   heart rate is below 100 bpm

   systolic blood pressure is below 145 mmHg

   diastolic blood pressure is below 95 mmHg

      calculate aerobic fitness score

Leger 20 Meter Shuttle Run


   light 5 min jog

   5 min of stretching

      20 meter course with starting speed at 8.5 km / h

      Increases 0.5 km / h each minute

      Test stops when subject cannot maintain pace

      Running speed of last stage (Maximal aerobic speed: MAS) is used to predict aerobic capacity

      VO2max=24.4+6.0X(MAS) r=O.9O

Cooper 12 minute run


   light 5 min jog

   5 min of stretching

      Cover the greatest distance in 12 minutes

      No sharp turns if possible

      Measure to the nearest 0.1 km

      VO2 max = 22.35 X distance in km - 11.288


Cooper 12 minute run


Limitations of the Method

      Cooper's study was done on young healthy men in their early 20's, so the test may not be valid for other populations. The validity coefficient reported by Cooper is excellent (r = 0.90, standard error of the measurement = 9.3%), but other studies have reported lower correlations usually in the 0.75 to 0.85.

      Women seem to be more poorly predicted by the method (Katch et al., 1973) with coefficients in the 0.67 to 0.76 range.


Cooper 12 minute run


      The reliability of the method will be improved when the subjects have experience with the test. Novice subjects make pacing errors that invalidate the results.

      Again, this is a maximal test. The same guidelines for subject selection apply as for the Leger shuttle run test.