Term of Award

Summer 2001

Degree Name

Master of Science

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)


Department of Health and Kinesiology

Committee Chair

Garth D. Spendiff

Committee Member 1

Matthew A. Williamson

Committee Member 2

W. Kent Guion

Committee Member 3

James L. McMillan


BACKGROUND: In the Fourth Edition of the American College of Sports Medicine's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription (1991). the protocol for the ACSM's submaximal bike test was to terminate the test at 65-70% of the age predicted maximal heart rate. In the Fifth Edition, this was changed to 85% of the age-predicted maximal heart rate.

OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to find out, by using the ACSM submaximal cycle ergometer test (see Appendix A) if the 85% heart rate maximum termination provides a more accurate estimate of maximal aerobic capacity than the 70% heart rate maximum termination. The subjects were thirty volunteer undergraduate students at a mid-sized southeastern university, a group of 16 males and 14 females with a mean age of 19.7 (+/- 1.49) years.

METHODS: One ACSM bike protocol test was performed with workloads progressing by 25 or 50 watts every 3 minutes until volitional fatigue. While the submaximal heart rates at 70% and 85% of heart rate max were used to predict VO2 max using the multistage protocol, each criterion was correlated to the value of the direct measurement of VO2 max and then compared to each other using Fisher's zr test.

RESULTS: The analysis showed the correlation between the actual measured VO2 max and the estimate at 70% (.503), the actual and the estimate at 85% (.748), and between the two estimates (.503). However, the zr transformation did not show a significant difference between the two correlations (p > .05). Several variables were entered into a Stepwise multiple regression equation and used to predict the actual VO2 maximum. These variables included age, sex, resting heart rate, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, weight, and body fat percentage. All variables were entered into the formula for predicting together with either the estimated VO2 at 70%) or the estimated VO2 at 85%. Interestingly, the only variables that were used in each prediction equation were the estimated VO2 at 70 or 85%). The equation using the estimate at 70%) showed an adjusted R square value of .227, with a standard error of the estimate of 4.61. This means that only 23% of the estimate can be explained. The adjusted R square value of the 85%) estimate was .544, with the standard error of the estimate at 3.54. This has a lower SEE and is a better predictor, but is still only able to explain 54% of the estimated value.

CONCLUSION: The conclusion that can be made from this study is that, in assessing the VO2 maximum of a group of apparently healthy college aged males and females, a submaximal exercise test that terminates at 70% of maximal heart rate can be used to predict their actual maximal VO2.


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