Ramp-incremented and RPE-clamped test protocols elicit similar VO <inf>2max</inf> values in trained cyclists

A.M. Straub, A.W. Midgley, G.S. Zavorsky, A.R. Hillman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


The present study compared the efficacy of ramp incremented and ratings of perceived exertion (RPE)-clamped test protocols for eliciting maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max).

Sixteen trained cyclists (age 34 ± 7 years) performed a ramp-incremented protocol and an RPE-clamped protocol 1 week apart in a randomized, counterbalanced order. The RPE-clamped protocol consisted of five, 2-min stages where subjects self-selected work rate and pedal cadence to maintain the prescribed RPE. After completing both test protocols subjects were asked which they preferred.

The mean ± SD test time of 568 ± 72 s in the ramp protocol was not significantly different to the 600 ± 0 s in the RPE-clamped protocol (mean difference = 32 s; p = 0.09), or was the VO2max of 3.86 ± 0.73 L min−1 in the ramp protocol significantly different to the 3.87 ± 0.72 L min−1 in the RPE-clamped protocol (mean difference = 0.002 L min−1; p = 0.97). Furthermore, no significant differences were observed for peak power output (p = 0.21), maximal minute ventilation (p = 0.97), maximal respiratory exchange ratio (p = 0.09), maximal heart rate (p = 0.51), and post-test blood lactate concentration (p = 0.58). The VO2max attained in the preferred protocol was significantly higher than the non-preferred protocol (mean difference = 0.14 L min−1; p = 0.03).

The RPE-clamped test protocol was as effective as the ramp-incremented protocol for eliciting VO2max and could be considered as a valid alternative protocol, particularly where a fixed test duration is desirable.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1581-1590
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Early online date29 Apr 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2014


Dive into the research topics of 'Ramp-incremented and RPE-clamped test protocols elicit similar VO <inf>2max</inf> values in trained cyclists'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this