European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 117, Issue 11, pp 2295–2307 | Cite as

Estimating VO2max in children aged 5–6 years through the preschool-adapted 20-m shuttle-run test (PREFIT)

  • Jose Mora-GonzalezEmail author
  • Cristina Cadenas-Sanchez
  • Borja Martinez-Tellez
  • Guillermo Sanchez-Delgado
  • Jonatan R. Ruiz
  • Luc Léger
  • Francisco B. Ortega
Original Article



(1) To examine the comparability, i.e., discriminatory power, in a preschooler test (PREFIT 20-m shuttle-run test) and the 20mSRT-Original in 5–6-year-olds; (2) to provide an equation to estimate VO2max from the 20mSRT-PREFIT.


138 participants aged 5–6 years performed the 20mSRT-PREFIT and the 20mSRT-Original in a counterbalanced order. Total test duration, completed stages, maximum speed and maximum heart rate were registered.


Participants finished stages from 2–10 in the 20mSRT-PREFIT, whereas stages 1–5 were completed in the 20mSRT-Original and a null was registered, showing the original version a lower discriminatory power. We also observed that the higher the cardiorespiratory fitness level the more comparable were the tests, i.e., − 0.04 km h−1 difference between tests in the fittest participants (i.e., maximum speed ≥ 9.5 km h−1). Using the original equation proposed by Leger and colleagues in 1988 and based on the estimation regression of maximum speed in the 20mSRT-Original from the PREFIT version, we computed a new equation to estimate VO2max from the 20mSRT-PREFIT: Y = 44.657 + 1.795X 1  2.601X 2  + 0.0852X 1 X 2 (r = 0.77; r 2 = 0.59; SEE = 1.25 ml kg−1 min−1 or 2.59% of estimated mean VO2max = 48.38 ml kg−1 min−1), where X 1 is the 20mSRT-PREFIT maximum speed (km h−1) and X 2 is the age of participants. The 20mSRT-PREFIT resulted in a significantly higher maximum heart rate than the 20mSRT-Original.


The 20mSRT-PREFIT has higher discriminatory power than the 20mSRT-Original. Our study provides for the first time an opportunity to estimate VO2max in preschoolers and children based on the 20mSRT-PREFIT maximum speed and the age of participants.


Cardiorespiratory fitness Preschool children Equation Exercise test Physical fitness Validity 



Analysis of variance


Cardiorespiratory fitness


Maximum heart rate




Standard error of estimate


Statistical package for the social sciences


Maximal oxygen uptake


Peak oxygen uptake


20-meter shuttle-run test PREFIT


20-meter shuttle-run test-Original



We would like to thank the preschool and children students, parents and teachers for their participation in this study. We also acknowledge everyone who helped with the data collection and all the members involved in the field-work for their effort, enthusiasm and support. This work was supported by the Ramón y Cajal Grant held by FBO (RYC-2011-09011). JM-G and GS-D are supported by the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport (FPU 14/06837 and FPU 13/04365, respectively). CC-S is supported by a grant from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (BES-2014-068829). FBO is supported by grants from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (RYC- 2011–09011). Additional funding was obtained from the University of Granada, Plan Propio de Investigación 2016, Excellence actions: Units of Excellence; Unit of Excellence on Exercise and Health (UCEES). In addition, funding was provided by the SAMID III network, RETICS, the PN I + D + I 2017–2021 (Spain), ISCIII-Sub-Directorate General for Research Assessment and Promotion, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) (Ref. RD16/0022) and the EXERNET Research Network on Exercise and Health in Special Populations (DEP2005-00046/ACTI). This work is part of a Ph.D. thesis conducted in the Biomedicine Doctoral Studies of the University of Granada, Spain.

Supplementary material

421_2017_3717_MOESM1_ESM.tif (10.2 mb)
Figure Supplementary 1. Bland-Altman plots representing variability between the 20mSRT-PREFIT and the 20mSRT-Original for maximum speed at last completed stage (Panel A) and maximum heart rate (Panel B). Upper and lower lines represent 95% limits of agreement (±1.96 SD). Middle line represents the systematic errors for speed and hear rate (-0.4 km h-1 and +4.2 bpm, respectively). 20mSRT = 20-meter shuttle-run test, Bpm = Beats per minute (TIFF 10,425 KB)
421_2017_3717_MOESM2_ESM.tif (4.7 mb)
Figure Supplementary 2. Simple regression scatter plot between cumulated shuttles performed in 20mSRT-PREFIT and 20mSRT-Original. Dashed lines represent a SEE ± 3.00 with respect to the regression line. Empty dots represent outliers which were considered those participants with abnormal or out of normal range performances for either tests, as defined by being out of the expected range of a SEE ± 3.00 with respect to the regression line. Regression equation including outliers (n=138) and using Anderson et al. (1986) technique was also obtained: Y=0.914X - 14.21 (r=0.71, r²=0.51, SEE=6.48, n=138). 20mSRT = 20-meter shuttle-run test, SEE = Standard Error of Estimate (TIFF 4,812 KB)
421_2017_3717_MOESM3_ESM.docx (87 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (DOCX 86 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jose Mora-Gonzalez
    • 1
    Email author
  • Cristina Cadenas-Sanchez
    • 1
  • Borja Martinez-Tellez
    • 1
  • Guillermo Sanchez-Delgado
    • 1
  • Jonatan R. Ruiz
    • 1
    • 2
  • Luc Léger
    • 3
  • Francisco B. Ortega
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.PROFITH “PROmoting FITness and Health through physical activity” Research Group, Department of Physical Education and Sport, Faculty of Sport SciencesUniversity of GranadaGranadaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Biosciences and NutritionKarolinska InstitutetHuddingeSweden
  3. 3.Département de KinésiologieUniversité de MontréalQuebecCanada

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