Evaluation of a standardized test protocol to measure wheelchair-specific anaerobic and aerobic exercise capacity in healthy novices on an instrumented roller ergometer

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This study aims to evaluate whether a test protocol with standardized and individualized resistance settings leads to valid wheelchair Wingate tests (WAnT) and graded exercise tests (GXT) in healthy novices. Twenty able-bodied individuals (10M/10F, age 23 ± 2 years, body mass 72 ± 11 kg) performed an isometric strength test, sprint test, WAnT and GXT on a wheelchair ergometer. Using a previously developed set of regression equations, individuals' isometric strength outcome was used to estimate the WAnT result (P30est), from which an effective individual WAnT resistance was derived. The subsequently measured WAnT outcome (P30meas) was used to estimate the GXT outcome (POpeakest) and to scale the individual GXT resistance steps. Estimated and measured outcomes were compared. The WAnT protocol was considered valid when maximal velocity did not exceed 3 m·s-1; the GXT protocol was considered valid when test duration was 8-12 min. P30est did not significantly differ from P30meas, while one participant did not have a valid WanT, as maximal velocity exceeded 3 m·s-1. POpeakest was 10% higher than POpeakmeas, and six participants did not reach a valid GXT: five participants had a test duration under 8 min and one participant over 12 min. The isometric strength test can be used to individually scale the WAnT protocol. The WAnT outcome scaled the protocol for the GXT less accurately, resulting in mostly shorter-than-desired test durations. In conclusion, the evaluated standardized and individualized test protocol was valid for the WAnT but less valid for the GXT among a group of novices. Before implementing the standardized individual test protocol on a broader scale, e.g. among paralympic athletes, it should be evaluated among different athletic wheelchair-dependent populations.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0274255
Number of pages15
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 6-Sept-2022

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