European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 114, Issue 1, pp 21–27 | Cite as

Influence of blood donation on the incidence of plateau at \( \dot{V}{\text{O}} \) 2max

  • Dan GordonEmail author
  • Madeleine Wood
  • Andrew Porter
  • Vignesh Vetrivel
  • Marie Gernigon
  • Oliver Caddy
  • Viviane Merzbach
  • Don Keiller
  • James Baker
  • Richard Barnes
Original Article



The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of reductions in blood volume and associated oxygen-carrying capacity on the incidence of plateau at \(\dot{V}{\text{O}}\) 2max.


Fifteen well-trained athletes (age 23.3 ± 4.5; mass 77.4 ± 13.1 kg, height 180.1 ± 6.0 cm) completed three incremental cycle tests to volitional exhaustion, of which the first was defined as familiarisation, with the remaining two trials forming the experimental conditions of pre- (UBL) and post-(BLE) blood donation (~450 cm3). The work rate for the incremental tests commenced at 100 W for 60 s followed by a ramp of 0.42 W s−1, with cadence being held constant at 80 rpm. Throughout all trials, \(\dot{V}{\text{O}}\) 2 was determined on a breath-by-breath basis using a pre-calibrated metabolic cart. The criteria for plateau determination was a ∆\(\dot{V}{\text{O}}\) 2 ≤ 50 ml min−1 over the final two consecutive 30 s sampling periods.


Despite a significant (P = 0.0028) 9.4 % reduction in haemoglobin concentration and 10.8 % (P = 0.016) reduction in erythrocyte count between UBL and BLE, there was no change in plateau incidence. However, significant differences were observed for both \(\dot{V}{\text{O}}\) 2max (P = 0.0059) 51.3 ± 7.6 (UBL) 48.4 ± 7.9 ml kg−1 min−1 (BLE) and gas exchange threshold arrival time 383.4 ± 85.2 s (UBL) 349.2 ± 71.4 s (BLE) (P = 0.0028).


These data suggest that plateau at \(\dot{V}{\text{O}}\) 2max is unaffected by O2 availability lending support to the notion of the plateau being dependent on the anaerobic capacity and the classically orientated concept of \(\dot{V}{\text{O}}\) 2max.


Plateau \(\dot{V}{\text{O}}\)2max Blood r eduction Anaerobic metabolism 


Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dan Gordon
    • 1
    Email author
  • Madeleine Wood
    • 2
  • Andrew Porter
    • 2
  • Vignesh Vetrivel
    • 2
  • Marie Gernigon
    • 3
  • Oliver Caddy
    • 1
  • Viviane Merzbach
    • 1
  • Don Keiller
    • 1
  • James Baker
    • 1
  • Richard Barnes
    • 2
  1. 1.Sport and Exercise Sciences Research GroupAnglia Ruskin UniversityCambridgeUK
  2. 2.University of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  3. 3.Laboratory for Vascular InvestigationsUniversity HospitalAngersFrance

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