1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Homework Help: VO2 max and exercise testing

  1. Nov 22, 2012 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Alright, so I am a graduating senior studying Exercise science and physiology. I just had what we call "Client Testing" and ran my client (who was a collegiate athlete for the last four years and this year was her first year not competing or training) in the Bruce protocol for a maximal exercise test. The test went well, but when I was able to finally look at the metabolic print out that my group-mate was working, she only had a VO2 max (according to the sheet) of 29.7 mL/kg/min.

    I thought that was strange, it should be a lot higher as she was conditioned.

    After Graphing the data and trying to find VT and RCP, it is evident that she did not reach VO2 max, though she did look as if she was doing total body exertion.

    So, My question is, can I use my data as if she had run a submaximal test? She ended on the end of stage four and I know that protocol says to only use three stages, but since she is conditioned and an athlete, I was wondering how to go about getting a better estimate for VO2 max.
    2. Relevant equations
    Volleyball player
    22 years of age
    5'4" (163 cm) 59 kg

    Vo2Max of 29.7 (as per testing data)
    Max heart rate: 192
    Resting heart rate: 66
    resting BP: 110/67
    Ending BP: 183/84

    EKG normal findings

    3. The attempt at a solution

    So, My question is, can I use my data as if she had run a submaximal test? She ended on the end of stage four and I know that protocol says to only use three stages, but since she is conditioned and an athlete. IF i were to treat this as a submaximal test to make a better estimation and I would plot VO2 vs heart rate for each minute and continue the line, stopping at her max heart rate and assuming that that is the maximal VO2.

    Would that still be a plausible explanation and use the first three stages?

    Thanks so much for your help!
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 25, 2012 #2

    There are many possible reasons for a submaximal test. In any case, you should follow the protocol. I assume you are using the plateau value, but if her peak value was substantially better, it is probably a better indication of her true VO2 max.

    A simple estimate of what the target VO2 max should be, based on a resting heart rate for 20 seconds for a female aged 22 and a heart rate of 22/20 seconds, is 45 ml/kg/min (from a standard formula).


    Since your result is so far below this, the test is either invalid or there is an organic problem which caused the subject to perform submaximally. Because you deviated from the protocol, that would be the first thing to look into IMO.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2012
  4. Nov 25, 2012 #3
    Thanks so much for your response!

    29.7 was her peak value unfortunately. After plotting the data, she did not have any plateus which lead me to believe that she did not reach VO2 max to begin with

    I completely agree with you. Thats when I figured that something was off when looking at the norms.

    After further thinking and plotting the submaximal data, I calculated what her max heart rate would be (she reached 192) using the formula 206. 9 - (0.67*age) which turned out to be 192.16, meaning that she reached maximal heart rate.

    I know that VO2 max and max heart rate are related. If you reach max heart rate, you reach VO2 max. Would this mean that there may be something organically or physiologically that went wrong?

    Could her small body and weight have something to do with it as well? She is rather small, and I know larger people have much higher VO2 maxes due to the need for more o2.

    lastly, Im sorry, I dont know what you are referring to when you say IMO.

    Thanks so much for your help! I really appreciate it!
  5. Nov 25, 2012 #4
    IMO just means "In my opinion..." The predicted target VO2 max I used is based on the average wt of a female subject of that age in a European population as far as I know. If she's much smaller than average, that would affect the estimation. However I don't think it would be as much as observed. If you looked at the chart in the link, <35 ml/kg/min is "poor" for her category. I would suggest a medical evaluation after which she could be re-tested under the standard protocol if found healthy enough.

    EDIT: There are more elaborate formulas for estimating VO2max using up to 7 variables which are available on Google.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2012
  6. Nov 26, 2012 #5
    Thank you so much for your help!

    No, 45 is the US calculation too. According to the ACSM guidelines 35 is poor as well.
    Her stature isnt actually that small according to real standards. In the volleyball world she is, so I think that is actually my person bias.
    I will talk to my professor today before recommending medical evaluation but I believe that you are correct.

    I really appreciate your help. Thank you once more
  7. Nov 26, 2012 #6
    You're welcome.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook