Article Text

Download PDFPDF

How is rating of perceived capacity related to VO2max and what is VO2max at onset of training?
  1. Christina Gjestvang,
  2. Trine Stensrud,
  3. Lene A H Haakstad
  1. Department of Sports Medicine, Norwegian School of Sports Sciences, Oslo, Norway
  1. Correspondence to Dr Christina Gjestvang, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences Department of Sports Medicine P.O Box 4014, Ullevål Stadion 0806 Oslo, Norway; christina.gjestvang{at}


Objective To evaluate how rating of perceived capacity (RPC) is related to maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) and examine VO2max at onset of training in healthy adults.

Methods In total, 125 newly registered fitness centre members, equally men and women, answered the RPC scale and performed a treadmill test for measurement of VO2max. Eligible criteria were <4 weeks of fitness centre membership, physically inactive, ≥18 years and not pregnant. The RPC is a one-page scale (1–20) based on metabolic equivalent tasks, where the individual chooses the most strenuous activity that can be sustained for at least 30 min.

Results The Bland-Altman plot demonstrated a tendency of overestimation, meaning that the participants ranked their own aerobic capacity 17.5% higher than objectively measured values of VO2max. The mean difference between the two methods were +4.92±1.96 and +6.35±1.96 mL/min/kg VO2 in men and women, respectively. The Pearson correlation coefficient was moderate, with r=0.426 (p<0.01). A linear regression analysis showed that both age and VO2max were significant predictors of RPC (p<0.01). Measured VO2max at onset of fitness centre membership was in men aged 38.7±11.7 and women aged 34.7±9.9, 40.5±7.2 and 35.0±6.0 mL/min/kg, respectively. Estimated VO2max from the RPC scale was 45.7±9.8 and 41.4±10.1 mL/min/kg in men and women, respectively.

Conclusions The RPC seems less accurate at the individual level and may overestimate VO2max. Still, it may be considered useful in large-scale studies.

  • rating of perceived capacity
  • RPC scale
  • measured VO2max
  • estimated VO2max
  • exercise testing

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Acknowledgements We thank Ingar Holme, professor in biostatistics, and Morten Fagerland, professor in biostatistics, Norwegian School of Sports Sciences, for important guidance with the statistical analysis.

  • Contributors CG plotted all data, developed the questionnaire together with LAHH and outlined the manuscript. TS developed the treadmill protocol together with CG and LAHH and supervised the testing. CG and LAHH were responsible for data collection and recruited the participants. LAHH originated the idea for the present study, led on its design and supervised the project. All authors participated in discussing the design of the study, read and corrected draft versions of the manuscript and approved the final manuscript.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval The Norwegian Social Science Data Service (NSD 44135).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement All published data from the present study are available to those who are interested (by contacting the first author). Unpublished data are currently only available to the projects group.