Maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) is a direct measurement of aerobic fitness and several testing protocols have established the treadmill as a valid and reliable modality for this purpose. Accordingly, new exercise equipment are often compared to the treadmill regarding their efficacy in stressing the aerobic metabolism. PURPOSE: We determined the validity of a new recumbent cycle ergometer against a treadmill test to identify the feasibility of using the new ergometer for the determination of VO2max. METHODS: Participants (n=3 males, age 20.6±0.57 years, weight 68.6±13.8 kg and n=4 females, age 20.6±0.96 years, weight 59.3±8.13 kg) performed two VO2max tests in counterbalancing order, a week apart. The treadmill protocol consisted of a gradual increase in speed and grade every three minutes (initial 1.7 mph and 10%, 2.5 mph and 12%, 3.4 mph and 14%, 4.2 mph and 16%, and 5 mph and 18%) whereas the protocol for the recumbent cycle consisted of an initial load of 100 Watts increasing by 25 Watts every 2 minutes. Heart rate (HR), respiratory exchange ratio (RER) and rate of perceived exertion (RPE) were the criteria used to confirm VO2max. A paired-t test (p=0.05) was used to calculate differences between modalities and a Pearson correlation was performed to examine the relationship between the treadmill and the cycle ergometer. RESULTS: All participants met the criteria for a valid VO2max on both tests. Even though the two modalities yielded a very high correlation (r= 0.97, p<0.05) there were statistically significant differences for VO2max (57.2±13.4 treadmill vs. 44.2±15.0 cycle, p<0.05) between the two ergometers. The participants reached lower VO2 values on the recumbent cycle ergometer, and complained of localized fatigue rather than cardiorespiratory stress. CONCLUSION: Our results imply that different body positions between the exercise modalities will affect an individual's aerobic capacity as seen between seated cycling and running and that the recumbent cycle ergometer does not produce accurate VO2max values as tested. Future investigation should explore different VO2max protocols for the recumbent cycle ergometer.

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