Senior Honors Projects, 2010-2019

The effect of electrically-braked cycle ergometers on the validity of the YMCA cycle ergometer test.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Spring 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)


Department of Kinesiology


Christopher J. Womack

Trent Hargens

Kent Todd


Maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) serves as an accurate predictor of an individual’s cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and is typically measured via a maximal treadmill test. Due to costs, age and health limitations, submaximal tests (such as the YMCA test) can be administered to estimate VO2max values. There is much dispute regarding the validity and accuracy of these tests as estimators of CRF. This study investigated the effect of using an electrically-braked cycle ergometer on the validity of the YMCA cycle ergometer test. A population of healthy, fit college-aged individuals (n = 20) were administered one maximal treadmill test to obtain actual VO2max, and four submaximal tests following the YMCA protocol (2x Monark ergometer and 2x Viapsrint ergometer) to estimate VO2max. Overall this study observed estimated VO2max values obtained from the YMCA protocol underpredicts VO2max (regardless of whether the test is performed on either an electrically-braked or a mechanically-braked ergometer. Neither submaximal test showed a strong correlation (Monark: R = 0.53 & Viasprint: R = 0.30) with actual VO2max but the Monark test was more valid and reliable than the Viasprint test due to the lack of a significant validity and reliability coefficient for the electrically-braked ergometer protocol. Additionally, both submaximal tests showed relatively low reliability coefficients (Monark: R = 0.50 R; Viasprint: R = 0.42). The findings from this study indicate that the YMCA submaximal test needs to undergo improvements in order to serve as an accurate predictor of VO2max in this population.

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