An examination of exercise mode on ventilatory patterns during incremental exercise

Adrian D. Elliott, Fergal Grace

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Both cycle ergometry and treadmill exercise are commonly employed to examine the cardiopulmonary system under conditions of precisely controlled metabolic stress. Although both forms of exercise are effective in elucidating a maximal stress response, it is unclear whether breathing strategies or ventilator efficiency differences exist between exercise modes. The present study examines breathing strategies, ventilatory efficiency and ventilatory capacity during both incremental cycling and treadmill exercise to volitional exhaustion. Subjects (n = 9) underwent standard spirometric assessment followed by maximal cardiopulmonary exercise testing utilising cycle ergometry and treadmill exercise using a randomised cross-over design. Respiratory gases and volumes were recorded continuously using an online gas analysis system. Cycling exercise utilised a greater portion of ventilatory capacity and higher tidal volume at comparable levels of ventilation. In addition, there was an increased mean inspiratory flow rate at all levels of ventilation during cycle exercise, in the absence of any difference in inspiratory timing. Exercising V(E)/VCO(2) slop and the lowest V(E)/VCO(2)value, was lower during cycling exercise than during the treadmill protocol indicating greater ventilatory efficiency. The present study identifies differing breathing strategies employed during cycling and treadmill exercise in young, trained individuals. Exercise mode should be accounted for when assessing breathing patterns and/or ventilatory efficiency during incremental exercise.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)557-562
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiopulmonary testing
  • Ventilatory efficiency
  • Breathing patterns
  • V(E) versus VCO(2) slope


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