Metabolic parameters for ramp versus step incremental cycle ergometer tests

Jorge M. Zuniga, Terry J. Housh, Clayton L. Camic, Haley C. Bergstrom, Daniel A. Traylor, Richard J. Schmidt, Glen O. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to examine mean differences and the patterns of responses for oxygen uptake (V̇O2), heart rate (HR), and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) for ramp (15 W·min-1) versus step (30 W increments every 2 min) incremental cycle ergometer tests. Fourteen subjects (age and body mass of 23.2 ± 3.1 (mean ± SD) years and 71.1 ± 10.1 kg, respectively) visited the laboratory on separate occasions. Two-way repeated measures ANOVAs with appropriate follow-up procedures, as well as paired t tests, were used to analyze the data. In addition, polynomial regression analyses were used to determine the patterns of responses for each dependent variable for the ramp and step tests. The ramp protocol resulted in lower mean V̇O2 and HR values at the common power outputs than the step protocol with no differences in RPE. The increased amount of work performed during the step (total work = 75.83 kJ) versus ramp (total work = 65.60 kJ) tests at the common power outputs may have contributed to the greater V̇O2 and HR values. The polynomial regression analyses showed that most subjects had the same patterns of responses for the ramp and step incremental tests for HR (86%) and RPE (93%) but different patterns for V̇O2 (71%). The findings from the present study suggested that the protocol selection for an incremental cycle ergometer test can affect the mean values for V̇O2 and HR, as well as the V̇O2 -power output relationship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1110-1117
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • Cycling
  • Graded exercise testing
  • Oxygen uptake
  • Pattern of responses
  • Perceived exertion
  • Protocol selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Physiology (medical)


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