4

Have collected some data points in measuring VO2max over a few years using two methods: non-exercise and stationary bike (2min warmup + 6min at constant heartrate). The latter is supposed to be more accurate, but a couple things stand out:

  1. The variability in the stationary bike method is far higher than what I would expect, even when discounting for the fact that it only returns integer values.
  2. Stationary bike method underestimates my VO2max compared to non-exercise method.

The non-exercise method adjusts for age, weight, gender and depends on a self-assessment score and is ultimately more of a marker-in-the-sand value. Now, the true VO2max will depend on many factors, but ceteris paribus (apart from age), is anybody familiar with the poor accuracy of a VO2max measurement using a stationary bike + chest-worn heartrate monitor?

enter image description here

2 Answers 2

3

First, it is worth noting that non-exercise tests are especially inaccurate at determining both VO₂max and changes thereto. One study examining a host of different methods, including that described by Jackson (1990), concluded:

"changes to [estimated cardiorespiratory fitness] (eCRF), as determined using non-exercise prediction equations, were significantly associated with changes in directly measured [cardiorespiratory fitness] (CRF). However, changes in eCRF values from most of the prediction equations were significantly different from the changes in directly measured CRF. Furthermore, all of the prediction equations had a low degree of accuracy when identifying even the directional change of CRF. These findings highlight the errors associated with non-exercise prediction equations, especially related to monitoring longitudinal changes, and suggest limited prognostic utility of eCRF within a clinical setting."

Exercise VO₂max tests are therefore more accurate, but without knowledge of the precise method employed by your stationary bicycle, it is impossible to assess its accuracy and/or limitations.

In sporting circles, VO₂max is typically tested directly with a multi-stage maximal test, but this requires specialised equipment and tester expertise. In the field, this can be replaced with a multi-stage submaximal test, such as the YMCA Submaximal Cycle Ergometer Test, which estimates VO₂max through extrapolation from submaximal efforts. Intervals are typically three to five minutes, since a maximal three-minute effort is around 95% aerobic and a four-minute effort around 99% aerobic.

I hope that helps, even though I can not give you more information about your particular stationary bicycle.

1
  • Exactly, and it surprised me also to find that with my own data I came to the opposite conclusion. Have in the meantime noticed that my stationary bike allows a fixed wattage and I can manually keep the revolutions fixed, so am planning to work on a method that proxies my VO2max.
    – longradix
    Jul 24, 2022 at 12:36
-4

The method that I will work with for the time being is VO2max = 190*calories per second when done on a stationary bike for at least 10 minutes. Level of resistance does not matter. Neither is heartrate, age or weight. I am a male.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.