The purpose of this study was to assess whether maximal oxygen uptake (V.O2max) could be predicted from submaximal ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) elicited during the multistage fitness test (MFT). Eleven female volunteers completed three maximal exercise tests in random order; the MFT, a simulated MFT on a motorised treadmill and a graded exercise test to volitional exhaustion (GXT), also on a motorised treadmill. RPE values were recorded at the end of each 1 min stage in all three tests. Oxygen consumption (VO2) was recorded continuously during the treadmill tests. Measured V.O2max values from the GXT and simulated MFT were not significantly different (48.2 and 47.5 ml/kg/min, respectively), but they were significantly higher than V.O2max values predicted by the MFT (41.2 ml/kg/min, p<0.05). Regression of submaximal RPE values (7–17) elicited from the MFT and VO2 values predicted by the MFT were extrapolated to RPE 20 to predict V.O2max. The RPE-predicted V.O2max from the MFT (47.5 ml/kg/min) was similar to measured V.O2max. The findings suggest that submaximal RPE values can be used to provide acceptable estimates of V.O2max which are more accurate than the published table values for the MFT. Furthermore, the use of RPE measures in conjunction with the MFT enhances the accuracy of V.O2max prediction by the MFT.
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Competing interests: None.