A "wearable" test for maximum aerobic power: Real-time analysis of a 60-m sprint performance and heart rate off-kinetics

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© 2017 Storniolo, Pavei and Minetti. Maximum aerobic power (V.O 2 peak) as an indicator of body fitness is today a very well-known concept not just for athletes but also for the layman. Unfortunately, the accurate measurement of that variable has remained a complex and exhaustive laboratory procedure, which makes it inaccessible to many active people. In this paper we propose a quick estimate of it, mainly based on the heart rate off-kinetics immediately after an all-out 60-m sprint run. The design of this test took into account the recent availability of wrist wearable, heart band free, multi-sensor smart devices, which could also inertially detect the different phases of the sprint and check the distance run. 25 subjects undertook the 60-m test outdoor and a V.O 2 peak test on the laboratory treadmill. Running average speed, HR excursion during the sprint and the time constant (t) of HR exponential decay in the off-kinetics were fed into a multiple regression, with measured V.O 2 peak as the dependent variable. Statistics revealed that within the investigated range (25-55 ml O 2 /(kg min)), despite a tendency to overestimate low values and underestimate high values, the three predictors confidently estimate individual V.O 2 peak (R 2 = 0.65, p < 0.001). The same analysis has been performed on a 5-s averaged time course of the same measured HR off-kinetics, as these are the most time resolved data for HR provided by many modern smart watches. Results indicate that despite of the substantial reduction in sample size, predicted V.O 2 peak still explain 59% of the variability of the measured V.O 2 peak.




Storniolo, J. L., Pavei, G., & Minetti, A. E. (2017). A “wearable” test for maximum aerobic power: Real-time analysis of a 60-m sprint performance and heart rate off-kinetics. Frontiers in Physiology, 8(NOV). https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2017.00868

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