European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 119, Issue 5, pp 1245–1252 | Cite as

Prediction of maximal oxygen consumption using the Young Men’s Christian Association-step test in Korean adults

  • On Lee
  • Sukho Lee
  • Minsoo Kang
  • Junbae Mun
  • Jinwook ChungEmail author
Original Article



To develop accurate and practical prediction models of maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) using the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA)-step test in South Korean adults.


In total, 568 adults (20–66 years) were included in this study. To develop and cross-validate prediction models of VO2max, the total sample was divided into 80% training and 20% testing using a simple random sampling method. VO2max was measured using the maximal-graded exercise treadmill test. Sex, age, 1-min recovery heart rate, body weight, and height were measured as potential predictors. Each test was conducted within a 2- to 3-day interval, ensuring sufficient rest. Preliminary prediction models were developed from training datasets, which were cross-validated using regression analyses and/or repeated-measures analysis of variance. The accuracy of prediction models was evaluated using R2, standard error of estimate (SEE), and mean difference (MD) against a criterion-measured VO2max.


The average age and VO2max were 43.5 ± 12.9 years and 39.1 ± 7.5 ml/kg/min, respectively. For model development, three practical models with acceptable accuracy were developed (R2 = 0.56–0.61; SEE = 4.74–5.01). For model cross-validation, significant relationships between the criterion-measured and predicted VO2max were observed in all three models (R2 = 0.56–0.61; SEE = 4.62–4.88). The difference between criterion-measured and predicted VO2max was not significant in the models (MD =− 0.03 to − 0.14).


The prediction models included 3–5 variables as significant predictors of VO2max and had acceptable accuracy in a large sample of South Korean adults. The selected models provide a simple and practical method to estimate VO2max using the YMCA-step test for South Korean adults.


VO2max Submaximal exercise tests Prediction model Cross-validation 



Cardiorespiratory fitness


Coronary heart disease


Mean difference


Recovery heart rate


Standard error of estimate


Young Men’s Christian Association


Author contributions

OL was involved in participant recruitment, data collection, data reduction, statistical analysis and manuscript editing; SL, JM, and MK were involved in participant statistical analysis and manuscript editing; JC was involved in study design, statistical analysis, and manuscript editing. All authors have read and approved the final version of the manuscript and agree with the order of presentation of the authors.


  1. Åstrand PO (1976) Quantification of exercise capability and evaluation of physical capacity in man. Progress Cardiovasc Disease 19(1):51–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Åstrand PO, Rodahl K, Dahl HA, Strømme SB (2003) Textbook of work physiology: physiological bases of exercise. Hum KinetGoogle Scholar
  3. Beutner F, Ubrich R, Zachariae S, Engel C, Sandri M, Teren A, Gielen S (2015) Validation of a brief step-test protocol for estimation of peak oxygen uptake. Eur J Prev Cardiol 22(4):503–512CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bruce RA, Blackmon JR, Jones JW, Strait G (2004) Exercising testing in adult normal subjects and cardiac patients. Ann Noninvasive Electrocardiol 9(3):291–303CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Buchfuhrer MJ, Hansen JE, Robinson TE, Sue DY, Wasserman K, Whipp BJ (1983) Optimizing the exercise protocol for cardiopulmonary assessment. J Appl Physiol 55:1558–1564CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Charkoudian N, Joyner MJ (2004) Physiologic considerations for exercise performance in women. Clin Chest Med 25(2):247–255CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Culpepper MI, Francis KT (1987) An anatomical model to determine step height in step testing for estimating aerobic capacity. J Theor Biol 129(1):1–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Ferretti G (2014) Maximal oxygen consumption in healthy humans: theories and facts. Eur J Appl Physiol 114(10):2007–2036CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Francis K, Brasher J (1992) A height-adjusted step test for predicting maximal oxygen consumption in males. J Sports Med Phys Fitness 32(3):282–287Google Scholar
  10. Francis K, Feinstein R (1991) A simple height-specific and rate-specific step test for children. South Med J 84(2):169–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Golding LA (2000) YMCA fitness testing and assessment manual. Human Kinetics, ChampaignGoogle Scholar
  12. Gulati M, Black HR, Shaw LJ, Arnsdorf MF, Merz CNB, Lauer MS et al (2005) The prognostic value of a nomogram for exercise capacity in women. N Engl J Med 353(5):468–475CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hamlin M, Draper N, Blackwell G, Shearman J, Kimber N (2012) Determination of maximal oxygen uptake using the bruce or a novel athlete-led protocol in a mixed population. J Hum Kinet 31:97–104CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Howley ET, Bassett DR, Welch HG (1995) Criteria for maximal oxygen uptake: review and commentary. Med Sci Sports Exerc 27(9):1292–1301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Im JH, Jeon YJ (2013a) Prediction and validity of VO2max in Korean men. Korean J Phys Educ 52:461–470 (In Korean)Google Scholar
  16. Im JH, Jeon YJ (2013b) Prediction and validity of VO2max with metabolic variables in sub-maximal exercise. Korean J Phys Educ 52:431–440 (In Korean)Google Scholar
  17. Jacks DE, Topp R, Moore JB (2012) Prediction of VO2 peak using a sub-maximal bench step test in children (revised). Clin Kinesiol 66(3):74–82Google Scholar
  18. Kasch FW, Phillips WH, Ross WD, Carter JE, Boyer JL (1966) A comparison of maximal oxygen uptake by treadmill and step-test procedures. J Appl Physiol 21(4):1387–1388CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ko YW, Seo CJ (2007) Prediction and establishment of optimal exercise intensity in obese male high school students according to bench step heights for development of cardiorespiratory endurance. J Korean Sport Res 18:391–402 (In Korean)Google Scholar
  20. Kodama S, Saito K, Tanaka S, Maki M, Yachi Y, Asumi M et al (2009) Cardiorespiratory fitness as a quantitative predictor of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular events in healthy men and women: a meta-analysis. JAMA 301(19):2024–2035CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lai N, Tolentino-Silva F, Nasca MM, Silva MA, Gladden LB, Cabrera ME (2012) Exercise intensity and oxygen uptake kinetics in African-American and Caucasian women. Eur J Appl Physiol 112(3):973–982CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lakomy HKA, Lakomy J (1993) Estimation of maximum oxygen uptake from submaximal exercise on a Concept II rowing ergometer. J Sports Sci 11(3):227–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Margaria R, Aghemo P, Rovelli E (1965) Indirect determination of maximal O2 consumption in man. J Appl Physiol 20(5):1070–1073CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Mcardle WD, Katch FI, Pechar GS, Jacobson LONI, Ruck S (1972) Reliability and interrelationships between maximal oxygen intake, physical work capacity and step-test scores in college women. Med Sci Sports 4(4):182–186Google Scholar
  25. Mcmurray RG, Harrell JS, Bradley CB, Deng S, Bangdiwala SI (2002) Predicted maximal aerobic power in youth is related to age, gender, and ethnicity. Med Sci Sports Exerc 34(1):145–151CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Myers J, Prakash M, Froelicher V, Do D, Partington S, Atwood JE (2002) Exercise capacity and mortality among men referred for exercise testing. N Engl J Med 346(11):793–801CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Noh WH, Jin SM, Kim WJ (2014) Research on the relationship between evaluation of cardiorespiratory function and shuttle run test. Tech Educ 32:15–26 (In Korean)Google Scholar
  28. O’Brien RM (2007) A caution regarding rules of thumb for variance inflation factors. Qual Quant 41(5):673–690CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Perez-Gomez J, Rodriguez GV, Ara I, Olmedillas H, Chavarren J, González-Henriquez JJ et al (2008) Role of muscle mass on sprint performance: gender differences? Eur J Appl Physiol 102(6):685–694CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee (2008) Physical activity guidelines advisory committee report, 2008. US Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, p G2Google Scholar
  31. Roy JL, Hunter GR, Fernandez JR, McCarthy JP, Larson-Meyer DE, Blaudeau TE et al (2006) Cardiovascular factors explain genetic background differences in VO2max. Am J Hum Biol 18(4):454–460CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Rush EC, Goedecke JH, Jennings C, Micklesfield L, Dugas L, Lambert EV, Plank LD (2007) BMI, fat and muscle differences in urban women of five ethnicities from two countries. Int J Obes 31(8):1232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Rush EC, Freitas I, Plank LD (2009) Body size, body composition and fat distribution: comparative analysis of European, Maori, Pacific Island and Asian Indian adults. Br J Nutr 102(4):632–641CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Santo AS, Golding LA (2003) Predicting maximum oxygen uptake from a modified 3-minute step test. Res Q Exerc Sport 74(1):110–115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Sartor F, Vernillo G, De Morree HM, Bonomi AG, La Torre A, Kubis HP, Veicsteinas A (2013) Estimation of maximal oxygen uptake via submaximal exercise testing in sports, clinical, and home settings. Sports Med 43(9):865–873CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Shahnawaz H (1978) Influence of limb length on a stepping exercise. J Appl Physiol 44(3):346–349CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Shephard RJ, Thomas S, Weiler I (1991) The Canadian home fitness test. Sports Med 11(6):358–366CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Stanfield KM, Wells JC, Fewtrell MS, Frost C, Leon DA (2012) Differences in body composition between infants of South Asian and European ancestry: the London Mother and Baby Study. Int J Epidemiol 41(5):1409–1418CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Tanaka H, Monahan KD, Seals DR (2001) Age-predicted maximal heart rate revisited. J Am Coll Cardiol 37(1):153–156CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Korea Institute of Sport ScienceSeoulSouth Korea
  2. 2.Department of Counseling, Health, and Kinesiology, College of Education and Human DevelopmentTexas A&M University-San AntonioSan AntonioUSA
  3. 3.Health, Exercise Science, and Recreation ManagementThe University of MississippiUniversityUSA
  4. 4.Department of Physical EducationKorea Military AcademySeoulSouth Korea
  5. 5.Sports Culture DepartmentDongguk UniversitySeoulSouth Korea

Personalised recommendations