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# The constant work rate critical power protocol overestimates ramp incremental exercise performance

Springer Berlin Heidelberg

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### Abstract

##### Purpose

The parameters of the power-duration relationship (i.e., the critical power, CP, and the curvature constant, W′) may theoretically predict maximal performance capability for exercise above the CP. The CP and Wʹ are associated with the parameters of oxygen uptake ( \documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{upgreek} \setlength{\oddsidemargin}{-69pt} \begin{document}$${\dot{\text{V}}}$$\end{document} O 2) kinetics, which can be altered by manipulation of the work-rate forcing function. We tested the hypothesis that the CP and Wʹ derived from constant work-rate (CWR) prediction trials would overestimate ramp incremental exercise performance.

##### Methods

Thirty subjects (males, n = 28; females, n = 2) performed a ramp incremental test, and 3–5 CWR prediction trials for the determination of the CP and Wʹ. Multiple ramp incremental tests and corresponding CP and Wʹ estimates were available for some subjects such that in total 51 ramp test performances were predicted.

##### Results

The ramp incremental test performance (729 ± 113 s) was overestimated by the CP and Wʹ estimates derived from the best (751 ± 114 s, P < 0.05) and worst (749 ± 111 s, P < 0.05) individual fits of CWR prediction trial data. The error in the prediction was inversely correlated with the magnitude of the Wʹ for the best ( r = −0.56, P < 0.05) and worst individual fits ( r = −0.36, P < 0.05).

##### Conclusions

The overestimation of ramp incremental performance suggests that the CP and Wʹ derived from different work-rate forcing functions, thus resulting in different \documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{upgreek} \setlength{\oddsidemargin}{-69pt} \begin{document}$${\dot{\text{V}}}$$\end{document} O 2 kinetics, cannot be used interchangeably. The present findings highlight a potential source of error in performance prediction that is of importance to both researchers and applied practitioners.

### Most cited references30

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### Critical power: implications for determination of V˙O2max and exercise tolerance.

(2010)
For high-intensity muscular exercise, the time-to-exhaustion (t) increases as a predictable and hyperbolic function of decreasing power (P) or velocity (V ). This relationship is highly conserved across diverse species and different modes of exercise and is well described by two parameters: the "critical power" (CP or CV), which is the asymptote for power or velocity, and the curvature constant (W') of the relationship such that t = W'/(P - CP). CP represents the highest rate of energy transduction (oxidative ATP production, V˙O2) that can be sustained without continuously drawing on the energy store W' (composed in part of anaerobic energy sources and expressed in kilojoules). The limit of tolerance (time t) occurs when W' is depleted. The CP concept constitutes a practical framework in which to explore mechanisms of fatigue and help resolve crucial questions regarding the plasticity of exercise performance and muscular systems physiology. This brief review presents the practical and theoretical foundations for the CP concept, explores rigorous alternative mathematical approaches, and highlights exciting new evidence regarding its mechanistic bases and its broad applicability to human athletic performance.
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### Author and article information

###### Contributors
01392 262815 , a.vanhatalo@exeter.ac.uk
###### Journal
Eur J Appl Physiol
Eur. J. Appl. Physiol
European Journal of Applied Physiology
Springer Berlin Heidelberg (Berlin/Heidelberg )
1439-6319
1439-6327
27 October 2016
27 October 2016
2016
: 116
: 11
: 2415-2422
###### Affiliations
[1 ]Sport and Health Sciences, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, St. Luke’s Campus, Heavitree Road, Exeter, EX1 2LU UK
[2 ]School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Epinal Way, LE11 3TU UK
###### Author notes

Communicated by David C. Poole.

###### Article
3491
10.1007/s00421-016-3491-y
5118414
27787608

###### Categories
Original Article