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Validation of two running tests as estimates of maximal aerobic power in children


In order to validate the “Maximal Multistage 20 Meter Shuttle Run Test” by Leger and Lambert (1982) (20-MST) as an estimate of maximal aerobic power (\(\dot V_{{\text{O}}_{\text{2}} {\text{max}}}\)) and to compare the results of this test with the results of a 6 min endurance run, 82 subjects (41 boys and 41 girls) aged 12–14 performed the 20-MST and the 6 min endurance run, and had their \(\dot V_{{\text{O}}_{\text{2}} {\text{max}}}\) directly measured during maximal treadmill running.

The 20-MST is a maximal running test starting at a running speed of 8.0 km · h−1, which is increased every minute and in which the pace is set by an audio signal. Performing the test, one runs a 20-meter course back and forth. The test result is expressed as “palier” (one palier is approximately one minute).

The mean results of the 20-MST were, for boys, 8.0 palier (± 1.7) and for girls, 6.4 palier (± 1.5). The mean results of the 6 min endurance run were for boys, 1264.4 meters (± 160.8), and for girls, 1103.9 meters (± 144.7). The mean \(\dot V_{{\text{O}}_{\text{2}} {\text{max}}}\) for boys was 53.2 ml · kg−1 · min−1 (± 5.4) and for girls, 44.1 (± 4.8) ml · kg−1 · min−1. The correlation coefficient between \(\dot V_{{\text{O}}_{\text{2}} {\text{max}}}\) and the 20-MST was found to be 0.68 (± 3.9) for boys, 0.69 (± 3.4) for girls and 0.76 (± 4.4) for both sexes, and that of \(\dot V_{{\text{O}}_{\text{2}} {\text{max}}}\) with the 6 min endurance run was 0.51 (± 4.6) for boys, 0.45 (± 4.3) for girls and 0.63 (± 5.3) for both sexes. The conclusion is that the 20-MST is a suitable tool for the evaluation of maximal aerobic power. Although the differences in validity between the 20-MST and the 6 minutes endurance run were statistically not significant (p>0.05), for reasons of practicability the 20-MST should be preferred to the 6 minutes endurance run when used in physical education classes.

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Correspondence to W. van Mechelen.

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van Mechelen, W., Hlobil, H. & Kemper, H.C.G. Validation of two running tests as estimates of maximal aerobic power in children. Europ. J. Appl. Physiol. 55, 503–506 (1986).

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Key words

  • Field tests
  • \(\dot V_{{\text{O}}_{\text{2}} {\text{max}}}\)
  • Validity
  • Children
  • Direct measurements