Laboratory ergometers have high costs, becoming inaccessible for most of the population, hence, it is imperative to develop affordable devices making evaluations like cardiorespiratory fitness feasible and easier. The objective of this study was to develop and validate an Automated Step Ergometer (ASE), adjusted according to the height of the subject, for predicting VO2max through a progressive test. The development process was comprised by three steps, the theoretical part, the prototype assembly and further validation. The ASE consists in an elevating platform that makes the step at a higher or lower level as required for testing. The ASE validation was obtained by comparing the values of predicted VO2max (equation) and direct gas analysis on the prototype and on a, treadmill. For the validation process 167 subjects with average age of 31.24 ± 14.38 years, of both genders and different degrees of cardiorespiratory fitness, were randomized and divided by gender and training condition, into untrained (n=106), active (n=24) and trained (n=37) subjects. Each participant performed a progressive test on which the ASE started at the same height (20 cm) for all. Then, according to the subject’s height, it varied to a maximum of 45 cm. Time in each stage and rhythm was chosen in accordance with training condition from lowest to highest (60-180 s; 116-160 bpm, respectively). Data was compared with the student’s t test and ANOVA; correlations were tested with Pearson’s r. The value of α was set at 0.05. No differences were found between the predicted VO2max and the direct gas analysis VO2max, nor between the ASE and treadmill VO2max (p= 0.365) with high correlation between ergometers (r= 0.974). The values for repeatability, reproducibility, and reliability of male and female groups measures were, respectively, 4.08 and 5.02; 0.50 and 1.11; 4.11 and 5.15. The values of internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha) among measures were all >0.90. It was verified that the ASE prototype was appropriate for a step test, provided valid measures of VO2max and could therefore, be used as an ergometer to measure cardiorespiratory fitness.
Kinanthropometry and Human Performance Laboratory, Federal University of Paraíba, João Pessoa, Brazil
Physical Education Post-graduate Associate Program, Federal University of Paraíba, João Pessoa, Brasil
Laboratório de Cineantropometria e Desempenho Humano, Núcleo de Pesquisa em Ciências do Movimento Humano Universidade Federal da Paraíba, Sala 06, Castelo Branco, CEP: 58051-900, João Pessoa-PB, Brazil. Phone number: +55 83 99500577
Anton SD, Duncan GE, Limacher MC, Martin AD, Perri MG. How much walking is needed to improve cardiorespiratory fitness? An examination of the 2008 physical activity guidelines for americans. Res Q Exerc Sport, 2011; 82: 365-370
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