Validity and reliability of combining three methods to determine ventilatory threshold

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Abstract

Purpose:

This research was undertaken to validate a combination of methodologies to determine ventilatory threshold (VT).

Methods:

Three methods were used individually and then combined to determine VT as follows: 1) ventilatory equivalencies, 2) excess CO2 production, and 3) a modified V-slope method. Three groups of participants—endurance athletes (N = 132), healthy, aerobically active adults (N = 31), and healthy, sedentary/low-active adults (N = 22)—were independently evaluated for VT and compared with the criterion standard lactate threshold (LT) defined as the first rise in blood lactate with increasing intensity of exercise.

Results:

VT and LT were significantly correlated using the combined VT method within each study group (r = 0.98, 0.97, and 0.95, respectively;P < 0.001). Mean V̇O2 values at VT and LT were not significantly different between the three groups (P > 0.20). The combined method improved the determination rate of VT and reduced the standard deviation of the LT − VT difference by 80–170% over the individual methods. During test-retest procedures V̇O2lt and V̇O2vt determined by the combined method met criteria demonstrating further reliability.

Conclusion:

The combined method to determine VT is valid and reliable across a wide fitness range in healthy individuals and improves the determination rate and accuracy of VT determination over the use of single methods.

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