European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 119, Issue 2, pp 477–486 | Cite as

Energetics of male field-sport athletes during the 3-min all-out test for linear and shuttle-based running

  • Mark KramerEmail author
  • Rosa Du Randt
  • Mark Watson
  • Robert W. Pettitt
Original Article



All-out, non-steady state running makes for difficult comparisons regarding linear and shuttle running; yet such differences remain an important distinction for field-based sports. The purpose of the study was to determine whether an energetic approach could be used to differentiate all-out linear from shuttle running.


Fifteen male field-sport athletes volunteered for the study (means ± SD): age, 21.53 ± 2.23 years; height, 1.78 ± 0.68 m; weight, 83.85 ± 11.73 kg. Athletes completed a graded exercise test, a 3-min linear all-out test and two all-out shuttle tests of varied distances (25 m and 50 m shuttles).


Significant differences between the all-out tests were found for critical speed (CS) [F(8.97), p < 0.001), D′ (finite capacity for running speeds exceeding critical speed) [F(7.83), p = 0.001], total distance covered [F(85.31), p < 0.001], peak energetic cost (\({{\rm EC}}\)) [F(45.60), p < 0.001], peak metabolic power (\(\dot {P}\)) [F(23.36), p < 0.001], average \({\text{EC}}\) [F(548.74), p < 0.001], maximal speed [F(22.87), p < 0.001] and fatigue index [F(3.93), p = 0.027]. Non-significant differences were evident for average \(\dot {P}\) [F(2.47), p = 0.097], total \({\text{EC}}\) [F(0.86), p = 0.416] and total \(\dot {P}\) [F(2.11), p = 0.134].


The energetic approach provides insights into performance characteristics that differentiate linear from shuttle running, yet surprising similarities between tests were evident. Key parameters from all-out linear and shuttle running appear to be partly interchangeable between tests, indicating that the final choice between linear and shuttle testing should be based on the requirements of the sport.


Aerobic fitness All-out test Energetics Field testing Shuttle running 



Adenosine diphosphate


Adenosine triphosphate


All-out test


Carbon dioxide


Critical speed


Critical speed derived from an all-out shuttle test of 25 m


Critical speed derived from an all-out shuttle test of 50 m


Critical speed derived from a linear all-out test (i.e. around a sprint track)


Maximal distance achievable at speed exceeding CS


Energetic cost


Equivalent distance


Equivalent slope


Equivalent mass


Gravitational acceleration


Graded exercise test


Hydrogen ion



\(\dot {P}\)

Metabolic power


Inorganic phosphate


Average speed attained


Maximal speed attained during all-out running

\(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_{2{\text{max}}}}\)

Maximal oxygen uptake



The authors would like to thank all participants who took part in this study, specifically the coaches Wayne Iveson, Andre Goosen and Jayde Howitz for allowing us access to their players. The results of the study are presented clearly, honestly and without fabrication, falsification or inappropriate data manipulation.

Author contributions

MK and RWP conceived and designed research. MK conducted experiments. MK and RWP analysed data. MK, RWP, RDR and MW wrote the manuscript. All authors read and approved the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest. No financial support was received.

Supplementary material

421_2018_4047_MOESM1_ESM.docx (13 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 13 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Human Movement Science DepartmentNelson Mandela UniversityPort ElizabethSouth Africa
  2. 2.Psychology DepartmentNelson Mandela UniversityPort ElizabethSouth Africa
  3. 3.Rocky Mountain University of Health ProfessionsProvoUSA

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