comments: PWC stands for physical work capacity. PWC-170 estimates the working capacity at a heart rate of 170 beats per minute, while PWC-75% estimates the working capacity at 75% of maximum heart rate. The procedures are very similar for the two tests, below is described the method for the PWC170. For the PWC75% the heart rates aim for each stage may be different.
procedure: Athletes perform three consecutive workloads
on a cycle ergometer. Begin by setting up subject on bike to
ensure correct seat height (knee slightly bent at bottom of
cycle). Place heart rate monitor on the subject. Check their exercise history
to determine the starting workload (estimated to achieve a heart rate between 100-115). Start the test and measure
heart rate each minute and continue for 3-4 minutes (until a steady
heart rate is achieved). Continue the test for 2nd and 3rd workloads, set to achieve
a HR between 115-130 and 130-145 beats per minute respectively.
scoring: Each steady-state heart rate and workload
are graphed, with the line of best fit for the three points
extrapolated to estimate the workload that would elicit a heart
rate of 170 beats per minute (or 75% of maximum HR for the PWC-75% test). This workload value can then be compared
advantages: Having the athletes seated during this test makes it appropriate
for ECG monitoring.
As the PWC test is performed on a cycle ergometer,
the test favors cyclists.
Determining the line of best fit
and extrapolating to 170 bpm can be subjective and open to error.
test versions: As well as the PWC 170 and 75%, other levels may also be used, such as PWC 130 for measuring elderly or other populations in which you do not wish to excessively elevate the heart rate.