P. M. Smith, M. Doherty, D. Drake, M. J. Price
International Journal of Sports Medicine 2004; 25(8): 616-621

The present study examined the impact of two exercise protocols on the attainment of peak physiological responses during arm crank ergometry (ACE). Fourteen physically active, although non-specifically trained male subjects completed two V•O2 peak tests using an electrically braked arm ergometer (Lode Angio, Groningen, Netherlands). The tests consisted of a stepwise or rampwise increase in external workload. The order of tests was randomised and each test was separated by at least two days. Respiratory data were collected continuously using an on-line gas analysis system with sample time set at 30 s. Fingertip capillary blood samples (∼ 20 µL) were collected at volitional exhaustion and at minute intervals for 7 min of passive recovery for the determination of peak whole blood lactate concentration. Time on the test (Tlim; s), peak minute power (PMP; W), and total work done (TWD; kJ) were also recorded. In addition to determining systematic bias using separate independent t-tests, the level of agreement was also examined by way of calculating the 95 % limits of agreement. Sub-maximal values of V•O2, V•E, and HR were similar (p > 0.05) between test when the amount of external work completed was taken into consideration. There was no systematic bias (p > 0.05) for mean (± s) peak values of V•O2 (3.12 [0.37] vs. 3.04 [0.38] L • min-1) or any other parameter between the step and ramp tests, respectively. Mean values of Tlim, PMP, and TWD were also similar (p > 0.05) between tests. However, the level of agreement for peak values of all test parameters was low. It is therefore concluded that while either test can be considered as being suitable for the purpose of eliciting V•O2 peak and other physiological responses using ACE, they should not be used interchangeably for the purpose of assessing parameters linked to the aerobic capacity of the upper-body.

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