Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport

Degree Type

Master of Science in Physical Education


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect that varying cadence had on the ability of a submaximal cycle ergometry test to accurately predict peak oxygen uptake (VO2) using the standard YMCA protocol workloads. There has been limited scholarship investigating the effect that varying cadence has on trained cyclists and almost none on untrained participants. For this study twelve moderately healthy participants (age: 20.75 ± 1.87, body fat: 15.8 ± 4.91 %) who did not use cycling as part of their workout regime performed a peak VO2 cycle test and three randomized submaximal tests. The three submaximal tests followed the standard YMCA protocol except the cadence was increased to 70 rpm for one and 90 rpm for the other. Heart rate and RPE data were gathered every minute and upon completion of the submaximal tests, and a linear analysis was performed using age predicted maximal heart rate to estimate peak VO2 which was subsequently compared to measured VO2 peak obtained during maximal test to determine variability and error. Bland-Altman plot analysis revealed the standard YMCA protocol of 50-rpm underestimated 67.5% of the participant's predicted peak VO2 scores with large variability in all predictions with a standard deviation of 0.844 liters/minute. The 70-rpm protocol underestimated all predicted peak scores by an average of 19% with a standard deviation of 0.40 liters/minute. Just as the 50-rpm protocol, the 90-rpm protocol showed large variability with 75% of the predicted scores being underestimated and the standard deviation was 0.76 liters/minutes. This data demonstrates that varying cadence has a large effect on the ability of submaximal tests to accurately predict peak VO2 and further scholarship should be performed to determine other possible improvements in protocols to increase the validity and accuracy of submaximal tests.


Physiology | Sports Sciences