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Int J Sports Med. 2011 Jan;32(1):1-6. doi: 10.1055/s-0030-1267192. Epub 2010 Nov 11.

Incidence of the plateau at V˙O 2max is dependent on the anaerobic capacity.

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Anglia Ruskin University, Life Sciences, Unit for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Cambridge, United Kingdom.


The purpose of this study was to address if there is an association between the plateau at V˙O (2max) and the anaerobic capacity. 9 well-trained cyclists (age 22.2 ± 3.5 yr, height 182.5 ± 5.0 cm, mass 75.7 ± 8.7 kg, V˙O (2max) 59.3 ± 4.8 ml x kg(-1) x min(-1)completed both an incremental step test of 20 W x min(-1) starting at 120 W for determination of maximal oxygen uptake (MOU) and a maximally accumulated oxygen deficit (MAOD) trial at 125% MOU for estimation of anaerobic capacity. Throughout all trials expired air was recorded on a breath-by-breath basis. A significant inverse relationship was observed between the MAOD and the Δ V˙O (2) during the final 60 s of the MOU test (r=-0.77, p=0.008). Of the 9 participants it was noted that only 4 exhibited a plateau at MOU. There were non-significant differences for V˙O (2) and the associated secondary criteria for those exhibiting a plateau and the non-plateau responders, despite a significant difference for MAOD (p=0.041) between groups. These data suggest that incidence of the plateau at MOU is dependent on anaerobic substrate metabolism and that ranges of responses reported in the literature may be a consequence of variations in anaerobic capacity amongst participants.

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