European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 109, Issue 6, pp 1129–1135 | Cite as

Examining the accumulated oxygen deficit method in breaststroke swimming

  • Victor Machado ReisEmail author
  • Daniel Almeida Marinho
  • Fernando Policarpo Barbosa
  • António Malvas Reis
  • Laura Guidetti
  • António José Silva
Original Article


The present study investigated the accumulated oxygen deficit (AOD) method in breaststroke swimming with the aims to assess the reliability of the oxygen uptake/swimming velocity regression line and to quantify the precision of the AOD. Sixteen male swimmers performed two swimming tests in different days, with a 24-h recovery between tests: a graded swimming test and an all-out test. The all-out test was performed in one of two distances: 100 m (n = 7) or 200 m (n = 9). Through all testing, expired gases were collected breath by breath and analysed with a K4b2 Gas Analyser (Cosmed, Rome, Italy) connected to an AquaTrainer Valve (Cosmed, Rome, Italy). The standard error of the regression lines was ≈5–6 ml kg−1 min−1 and the regressions allowed an extrapolation of the energy cost to higher intensities with a standard error of the predicted value that was lower in the 200-m bout (≈3.5 ml kg−1 min−1) comparatively to the 100-m bout (≈6 ml kg−1 min−1). The AOD imprecision was calculated as the square root of the sum of the oxygen uptake measurement error and the standard error of the predicted value for energy cost. AOD imprecision was smaller in the 200-m bout (≈9 ml kg−1 min−1) comparatively to the 100-m bout (≈12 ml kg−1 min−1). However, since the AOD values during the two distances were small, the AOD relative errors can be viewed as high. Additionally, the data variability was considerable (95% confidence intervals of the linear extrapolation larger than 20 ml kg−1 min−1).


Breaststroke swimming Accumulated oxygen deficit Precision 



This investigation was supported by grants of Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT-POCI/DES/58362/2004). All the experiments herein comply with the current laws of the country in which they were performed.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. Barbosa TM, Fernandes R, Keskinen KL, Colaço P, Cardoso C, Silva J, Vilas-Boas JP (2006) Evaluation of the energy expenditure in competitive swimming strokes. Int J Sports Med 27:894–899CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Barbosa TM, Fernandes R, Keskinen KL, Vilas-Boas JP (2008) The influence of stroke mechanics into energy cost of elite swimmers. Eur J Appl Physiol 103:139–149CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Bickham D, Le Rossignol P, Gibbons C, Russell AP (2002) Re-assessing accumulated oxygen deficit in middle-distance runners. J Sci Med Sport 5:336–340CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Capelli C, Pendergast DR, Termim B (1998) Energetics of swimming at maximal speeds in humans. Eur J Appl Physiol 78:385–393CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Demarie S, Sardella F, Billat V, Magini W, Faina M (2001) The VO2 slow component in swimming. Eur J Appl Physiol 84:95–99CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. diPrampero P, Pendergast D, Wilson D, Rennie D (1978) Blood lactacid acid concentrations in high velocity swimming. In: Eriksson B, Furberg B (eds) Swimming medicine IV. University Park Press, Baltimore, pp 249–261Google Scholar
  7. Duffield R, Dawson B, Goodman C (2004) Energy system contribution to 100-m and 200-m track running events. J Sci Med Sport 7:302–313CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Faina M, Billat V, Squadrone R, de Angelis M, Koralsztein J, Dal Monte A (1997) Anaerobic contribution to the time to exhaustion at the minimal exercise intensity at which oxygen uptake occurs in elite cyclists, kayakists and swimmers. Eur J Appl Physiol 76:13–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Faulkner JA (1968) New perspectives in training for maximum performance. J Am Med Assoc 205:741–746CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fernandes RJ, Keskinen KL, Colaço P, Querido AJ, Machado LJ, Morais PA, Novais DQ, Marinho DA, Vilas-Boas JP (2008) Time limit at VO2max velocity in elite crawl swimmers. Int J Sports Med 29:145–150CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Kjendlie PL, Ingjer F, Madsen O, Stallman RK, Stray-Gundersen J (2004) Differences in the energy cost between children and adults during front crawl swimming. Eur J Appl Physiol 91:473–480CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Klentrou PP, Montpetit RR (1992) Energetics of backstroke swimming in males and females. Med Sci Sports Exerc 24:371–375PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Medbø J, Mohn A, Tabata I, Bahr R, Vaage O, Sejersted O (1988) Anaerobic capacity determined by maximal accumulated O2 deficit. J Appl Physiol 64:50–60PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Ogita F, Onodera T, Tabata I (1999) Effect of hand paddles on anaerobic energy release during supramaximal swimming. Med Sci Sports Exerc 31:729–735CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Reis VM, Duarte JA, Espírito-Santo J, Russell AP (2004) Determination of accumulated oxygen deficit during a 400 m run. J Exerc Physiol 7:77–83Google Scholar
  16. Reis VM, Silva AJ, Ascensão A, Duarte JA (2005) Inclusion of exercise intensities above the lactate threshold in O2/running speed regression does not improve the precision of accumulated oxygen deficit estimation in endurance-trained runners. J Sports Sci Med 4:455–462Google Scholar
  17. Reis V, Silva AJ, Reis A, Garrido N, Moreira A, Carneiro A, Marinho D, Neto S (2006) Assessment of sub maximal and supra maximal swimming energy cost in crawl and breaststroke swimmers. In: Vilas-Boas JP, Alves F, Marques A (eds) Book of abstracts of the Xth biomechanics and medicine in swimming. Port J Sport Sci 6:(Suppl 1):55–56Google Scholar
  18. Reis VM, Guidetti L, Duarte JA, Ascensão A, Silva AJ, Sampaio JE, Russell AP, Baldari C (2007) Slow component of VO2 during level and uphill treadmill running: relationship to aerobic fitness in endurance runners. J Sports Med Phys Fitness 47:135–140PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Robergs RA, Burnett AF (2003) Methods used to process data from indirect calorimetry and their application to VO2max. J Exerc Physiol 6:44–57Google Scholar
  20. Russell AP, Rossignol P, Lo S (2000) The precision of estimating the total energy demand: implications for the determination of the accumulated oxygen deficit. J Exerc Physiol 3:55–63Google Scholar
  21. Russell AP, Rossignol P, Snow R, Lo S (2002) Cycling at 120 when compared to 80 rev/min increases the accumulated oxygen deficit but does not affect the precision of its calculation. J Exerc Physiol 5:32–38Google Scholar
  22. Silva A, Reis VM, Reis A, Garrido N, Moreira A, Carneiro A, Alves F (2006) Associations between energy release and performance in a supramaximal effort of 200 m in crawl. In: Vilas-Boas JP, Alves F, Marques A (eds) Book of abstracts of the Xth biomechanics and medicine in swimming. Port J Sport Sci 6(Suppl 1):59–60Google Scholar
  23. Takahashi G, Nomura T, Yoshida A, Miyashita M (1983) Physiological energy consumption during swimming, related to added drag. In: Matsui H, Kobayashi K (eds) Biomechanics VIIIB. Human Kinetics Publishers, Illinois, pp 842–847Google Scholar
  24. Thompson KG, MacLaren DP, Lees A, Atkinson G (2004) The effects of changing pace on metabolism and stroke characteristics during high-speed breaststroke swimming. J Sport Sci 22:149–157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Troup J (1991) Aerobic characteristics of the four competitive strokes. In: Troup J (ed) International Center for Aquatic Research Annual: studies by the International Center for Aquatic Research (1990–1991). US Swimming Press, Colorado Spring, pp 3–7Google Scholar
  26. Zamparo P, Capelli C, Cautero M, Di Nino A (2000) Energy cost of front crawl swimming at supra-maximal speeds and underwater torque in young swimmers. Eur J Appl Physiol 83:487–491CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Zoeller R, Nagle E, Robertson R, Moyna N, MLephart S, Goss F (2000) Peak blood lactate and accumulated oxygen deficit as indices of freestyle swimming performance in trained adult female swimmers. J Swim Res 14:18–25Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Victor Machado Reis
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Daniel Almeida Marinho
    • 2
    • 3
  • Fernando Policarpo Barbosa
    • 1
    • 2
  • António Malvas Reis
    • 1
    • 2
  • Laura Guidetti
    • 4
  • António José Silva
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Sport Sciences, Exercise and HealthUniversity of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro (UTAD)Vila RealPortugal
  2. 2.Research Centre in Sport Health and Human Development (CIDESD)Vila RealPortugal
  3. 3.Department of Sport SciencesUniversity of Beira Interior (UBI)CovilhãPortugal
  4. 4.University Institute of Motor Sciences (IUSM)RomeItaly

Personalised recommendations