This study tested the hypotheses that: 1) secondary criteria (RER, heart rate, blood lactate) traditionally used to verify the determination of VO2max in children can result in the acceptance of a ‘sub-maximal’ VO2max or falsely reject a ‘true’ VO2max; and 2) the VO2peak recorded during a ramp test in children is comparable to the VO2peak achieved during supra-maximal testing. Thirteen children (9-10 y) completed a ramp cycle test to exhaustion to determine their VO2peak. After 15 min recovery, the participants performed a supra-maximal cycle test to exhaustion at 105% of their ramp test peak power. Compared to the VO2peak during the ramp test, a significantly lower VO2 was recorded at an RER of 1.00 (1.293 L•min-1 [SD 0.265] vs. 1.681 L•min-1 [SD 0.295], P<0.001, n=12), and at a heart rate of 195 beats•min-1 (1.556 L•min-1 [SD 0.265] vs. 1.721 L•min-1 [SD 0.318], P<0.001, n=10) and at 85% of age predicted maximum (1.345 L•min-1 [SD 0.228] vs. 1.690 L•min-1 [SD 0.284], P<0.001, n=13). Supra-maximal testing yielded a VO2peak that was not significantly different from the ramp test (1.615 L•min-1 [SD 0.307] vs. 1.690 L•min-1 [SD 0.284], P=0.090, respectively). The use of secondary criteria to verify a maximal effort in young people during ramp cycling exercise may result in the acceptance of a ‘sub-maximal’ VO2max. As supra-maximal testing elicits a VO2peak similar to the ramp protocol, thus satisfying the plateau criterion, the use of such tests are recommended as the appropriate method of confirming a ‘true’ VO2max with children.
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