Joelle L. Flueck1
Journal of Visualized Experiments

Reliable exercise protocols are required to test changes in exercise performance in elite athletes. Performance improvements in these athletes may be small; therefore, sensitive tools are fundamental to exercise physiology. There are currently many exercise tests that allow for the examination of exercise capacity in able-bodied athletes, with protocols mainly for lower-body or whole-body exercise. There is a trend to test athletes in a sport-specific setting that closely resembles the actions that the participants are used to performing. Only a few protocols test short-term, high-intensity exercise capacity in participants with an impairment of the lower body. Most of these protocols are very sportspecific and are not applicable to a wide range of athletes. One well-known test protocol is the 30 s Wingate test, which is well-established in cycling and in arm crank exercise testing. This test analyzes high-intensity exercise performance over a 30 s time duration. In order to monitor exercise performance over a longer duration, a different method was modified for application to the upper body. The 3 min, all-out arm crank ergometer test allows athletes to be tested in a manner specific to 1,500 m wheelchair racing (in terms of exercise duration), as well as to upper body exercises such as rowing or hand-cycling. In order to increase the reliability with identical test conditions, it is crucial to precisely replicate settings such as the resistance (i.e., torque factor) and the position of the participants (i.e., the height of the crank, the distance between the crank and the participant, and the fixation of the participant). Another important issue concerns the beginning of the exercise test. Fixed revolutions per minute are required to standardize the test conditions for the start of the exercise test. This exercise protocol shows the importance of accurate operations to reproduce identical test conditions and settings.

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