There are conflicting suggestions regarding the most valid resistance (3-5% of body weight) to use for the critical power (CP) 3-min all-out (CP3min) test to estimate CP and anaerobic work capacity (AWC). The purpose of this study was to determine if the CP and AWC estimates from the CP3min test were affected by the percentage of body weight used to set the resistance on a Monark cycle ergometer. Ten recreationally trained participants (mean ± SD: Age: 22.2 ± 2.2 yrs.) completed the CP3min test at resistances of 4.5% (CP4.5%) and 3% (CP3%) of body weight to determine the CP and AWC. There were no significant differences between the CP4.5% (167 ± 34 W) and CP3% (156 ± 36 W) estimates. The AWC3% (5.6 ± 2.5 kJ) estimates were significantly lower than the AWC4.5% (9.0 ± 4.0 kJ).The CP and AWC estimates from the CP4.5% were consistent with values reported in the literature, however, the AWC estimate from the CP3% was lower than typically reported. These findings suggested that a resistance set at 3% of body weight for the CP3min test may be too low to accurately estimate AWC, but 3% and 4.5% resulted in the same estimation of CP. Thus, the principal finding of this study was that a resistance of 4.5% of body weight for CP3-min in recreationally trained participants resulted in more accurate estimates of AWC, compared to a resistance of 3%, and supports the use of 4.5% body weight resistance to measure both CP and AWC.

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Published in International Journal of Exercise Science, v. 11, issue 4, p. 585-597.

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