Midgley, Adrian W., Earle, Keith, McNaughton, Lars R., Siegler, Jason C., Clough, Peter J. and Earle, Fiona (2017) Exercise tolerance during VO2max testing is a multifactorial psychobiological phenomenon. Research in Sports Medicine, 25 (4). pp. 480-494. ISSN 1543-8627

Fifty-nine men completed a VO2max test and a questionnaire to establish reasons for test termination, perceived exercise reserve (difference between actual test duration and the duration the individual perceived could have been achieved if continued until physical limitation), and perception of verbal encouragement. Participants gave between 1 and 11 factors as reasons for test termination, including leg fatigue, various perceptions of physical discomfort, safety concerns, and achievement of spontaneously set goals. The two most common main reasons were leg fatigue and breathing discomfort, which were predicted by pre-to-post test changes in pulmonary function (p = 0.038) and explosive leg strength (p = 0.042; R2 = 0.40). Median (interquartile range) perceived exercise reserve, was 45 (50) s. Two-thirds of participants viewed verbal encouragement positively, whereas one-third had a neutral or negative perception. This study highlights the complexity of exercise tolerance during VO2max testing and more research should explore these novel findings.

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