European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 119, Issue 9, pp 2025–2031 | Cite as

Effects of different increments in workload and duration on peak physiological responses during seated upper-body poling

  • Berit BrurokEmail author
  • Mirjam Mellema
  • Øyvind Sandbakk
  • Julia Kathrin Baumgart
Original Article



To compare the effects of test protocols with different increments in workload and duration on peak oxygen uptake (\({\dot{V}}\)O2peak), and related physiological parameters during seated upper-body poling (UBP).


Thirteen upper-body trained, male individuals completed four UBP test protocols with increments in workload until volitional exhaustion in a counterbalanced order: 20 W increase/every 30 s, 20 W/60 s, 10 W/30 s and 10 W/60 s. Cardio-respiratory parameters and power output were measured throughout the duration of each test. Peak blood lactate concentration (bLapeak) was measured after each test.


The mixed model analysis revealed no overall effect of test protocol on \({\dot{V}}\)O2peak, peak minute ventilation (VEpeak), peak heart rate (HRpeak), bLapeak (all p ≥ 0.350), whereas an overall effect of test protocol was found on peak power output (POpeak) (p = 0.0001), respiratory exchange ratio (RER) (p = 0.024) and test duration (p < 0.001). There was no difference in POpeak between the 20 W/60 s (175 ± 25 W) and 10 W/30 s test (169 ± 27 W; p = 0.092), whereas POpeak was lower in the 10 W/60 s test (152 ± 21 W) and higher in the 20 W/30 s test (189 ± 30 W) compared to the other tests (all p = 0.001). In addition, RER was 9.9% higher in the 20 W/30 s compared to the 10 W/60 s test protocol (p = 0.003).


The UBP test protocols with different increments in workload and duration did not influence \({\dot{V}}\)O2peak, and can therefore be used interchangeably when \({\dot{V}}\)O2peak is the primary outcome. However, POpeak and RER depend upon the test protocol applied and the UBP test protocols can, therefore, not be used interchangeably when the latter is the primary outcome parameter.


Upper-body exercise Exercise test protocol Aerobic capacity 



Arm crank ergometry


Peak blood lactate


Peak heart rate


Peak power output


Respiratory exchange ratio


Ratings of perceived exertion


Upper-body poling


Carbon dioxide production


minute ventilation


Peak oxygen uptake





The authors are thankful and acknowledge the effort from the participant volunteers of the present study. The laboratory equipment was provided by NeXt Move, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). NeXt Move is funded by the Faculty of Medicine at NTNU and Central Norway Regional Health Authority.

Author contributions

JKB, ØS and BB conceived and designed the research. MM and BB conducted the data collection. BB and JKB analysed the data. BB wrote the manuscript. All authors read and approved the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical standards

All procedures in the present study are in accordance with the ethical standards of the Helsinki declaration. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Supplementary material

421_2019_4189_MOESM1_ESM.pptx (830 kb)
Supplementary file1 (PPTX 829 kb)
421_2019_4189_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (54 kb)
Supplementary file2 (XLSX 54 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Elite Sports Research, Department of Neuromedicine and Movement Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health SciencesNorwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway
  2. 2.Department of Technology, Art and Design, Faculty of Mechanical, Electronics and Chemical EngineeringOslo Metropolitan UniversityOsloNorway
  3. 3.Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Clinic for Spinal Cord InjuriesSt. Olavs University HospitalTrondheimNorway
  4. 4.Department of Human Movement Sciences, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life SciencesMaastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands

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