Wingate Testing

The Wingate Test is a classic laboratory assessment in exercise and sports physiology. However, it occurred to me one day after completing yet another of the tests I have done in my research and education career that the high cadence, unloaded start to the test causes the initial (~10 s) of the test results to be invalid. My concern became real after I thought more about how the routine rapid decrease in cadence that occurs at test onset transitions into a more sustained cadence and perceived pedal force production once cadence lowers to approximately 120 rev/min. See the below sample figure of cadence from one of my past research studies. It seemed to me that the test really commences once this lower cadence is reached, which seems to occur close to the 7 s time point of the peak cadence from a stationary start version of the test. Why? Because the initial high cadence of the Wingate Test is non-physiological and only attainable due to the pre-test absence of load. Contractile force cannot occur meaningfully at this high contractile velocity, and would progressively increase as cadence decreases. Thus, during the test, you see cadence somewhat plateau at this 10 s phase, and this is seen in the three examples below for different subjects from a recent study of ours. The power output data above this lower transition cadence are method induced, and hence my label of non-physiological. Cadence decreases rapidly because the subject cannot volitionally generate this power.

We are struggling to get a favorable peer review of this manuscript despite using unique methods of pedal force application, presenting unique and totally empirical proof of the invalidity of the initial 10 s of the test, and the added proof for the superiority of a stationary start to cycle ergometer power testing. I have learned that it is impossible to get an unbiased review when challenging conventional tests, for my theory is that too many "scientists" are unable to admit the errors of their past research and physiological inquiry and interpretation. It is easier to reject the truth than accept self incrimination of prior involvement in and support of poor science! Of course, this first became clear to me in my scholarship on the biochemistry of metabolic acidosis.

Nevertheless, as of February, 2015, the manuscript is once again in review. We think it is important to show the empirical evidence for problematic methods involved in the traditional Wingate Test. This is of further importance when such a simple modification, a stationary start, can resolve this fault and provide excellent data of true peak power, as well as a potentially more meaningful variable of time to peak power.