Critical power in adolescent boys and girls - an exploratory study

Williams, Craig A.; Dekerle, Jeanne; McGawley, Kerry; Berthoin, Serge; Carter, Helen
December 2008
Applied Physiology, Nutrition & Metabolism;Dec2008, Vol. 33 Issue 6, p1105
Academic Journal
The purpose of the study was to identify critical power (CP) in boys and girls and to examine the physiological responses to exercise at and 10% above CP (CP+10%) in a sub-group of boys. Nine boys and 9 girls (mean age 12.3 (0.5) y performed 3 constant-load tests to derive CP. Eight of the boys then exercised, in random order, at CP and CP+10% until volitional exhaustion. CP was 123 (28) and 91 (26) W for boys and girls, respectively (p < 0.02), which was equivalent to 75 (6) and 72 (10) % of peak oxygen uptake, respectively (p > 0.47). Boys’ time to exhaustion at CP was 18 min 37 s (4 min 13 s), which was significantly longer (p < 0.007) than that at CP+10% (9 min 42 s (2 min 31 s)). End-exercise values for blood lactate concentration (B[La]) and maximal oxygen uptake were higher in the CP+10% trial (5.0 (2.4) mmol·L-1 and 2.15 (0.4) L·min-1, respectively) than in the CP trial, (B[La], 4.7 (2.1) mmol·L-1; maximal oxygen uptake, 2.05 (0.35) L·min-1; p > 0.13). Peak oxygen uptake (expressed as a percentage of the peak value) was not attained at the end of the trials (94 (12) and 98 (14) % for CP and CP+10%, respectively). These results provide information about the boundary between the heavy and severe exercise intensity domains in children, and have demonstrated that CP in a group of boys does not represent a sustainable steady-state intensity of exercise.


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