Publication Date

Spring 2020

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Scott Lyons (Director), Whitley Stone, Dano Tolusso, and Mark Schafer

Degree Program

Department of Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport

Degree Type

Master of Science


Though there are several to choose from, the Bruce protocol is the most commonly utilized treadmill protocol when assessing maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max). Originally developed for cardiac patients, the Bruce protocol may not be an appropriate treadmill protocol for young or trained individuals with higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness. The steep grade used often leads localized muscular fatigue, which may cause participants to end the test prior to reaching their true VO2max. Another popular protocol, the Astrand, also utilizes a steep grade, but the speed remains constant. Similar to the Bruce, the Astrand protocol may not prompt a maximal cardiovascular response in healthy individuals. Though validated, these tests may have inherent limitations resulting in an underestimation of VO2max in healthy or well-trained populations. The purpose of this study is to validate a novel VO2max protocol that may be better suited for healthy, well-trained populations by starting at a higher intensity and reducing the initial grade to limit lower extremity fatigue. Fifteen participants performed the Bruce, Astrand, and Novel protocols with the following maximal values being recorded from each protocol: VO2max, maximal ventilation (VEmax), respiratory exchange ratio (RER), heart rate (HR), rating of perceived exertion (RPE) and time to exhaustion (TTE). Bland-Altman analysis revealed that the Novel protocol exhibited a low degree of bias with tight limits of agreement when compared to the Bruce (bias ±95% LOA = 0.824 ± 3.163) and Astrand protocols (-0.153 ± 3.528) for VO2max. A paired samples t-test revealed no significant differences between Novel and criterion protocols for VO2max. Paired samples ttest revealed that the Novel protocol resulted in significantly lower TTE when compared to the Bruce and Astrand protocols. The Novel protocol produces similar VO2max values to that of the Bruce and Astrand protocols with lower TTE, and thus a shorter test duration, making it a more time-efficient protocol for this population.


Kinesiology | Physiology | Sports Sciences