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Conconi Test

The Conconi Test is a relatively simple field test which measures the heart rate at different predefined intensity levels, which can be used to estimate Anaerobic Threshold, a point at which the body predominately uses the anaerobic energy system. It is also known as the ramp test. The Conconi Test was first described by Italian Sport Scientist Francesco Conconi in 1982 (Conconi et al. 1982).

test purpose: to determine the heart rate at the anaerobic threshold for setting training zones.

equipment required: stopwatch, heart rate monitor (with recording and recall function), running track or exercise equipment.

pre-test: Explain the test procedures to the subject. Perform screening of health risks and obtain informed consent. Prepare forms and record basic information such as age, height, body weight, gender, test conditions. See more details of pre-test procedures.

procedure: This test can be conducted on any equipment or during any exercise mode. Start at an easy pace, then at pre-determined intervals increase the workload. Record your heart rate at the end of each speed/workload level. Continue exercising until exhaustion.

marathon runnersmarathon runners

scoring: Plot the heart rate over speed/workload as a graph. Connect the points with a line. Initially the heart rate and workload graph should be linear. At a high intensity, the point where the line bends corresponds to your anaerobic threshold. Record your heart rate and workload at this point on the graph.

accuracy: This test assumes that the anaerobic threshold is related to a deflection point on the heart rate/intensity graph. Subsequent studies have found that the deflection point in heart rate only occurs in a certain individuals and that when it does, it significantly overestimates directly measured lactate threshold.

target population: endurance athletes (middle/long distance runners, cyclists, triathletes, rowers)

comments: Even if the anaerobic threshold level is not an accurate measure, you can use this test to look at improvements in fitness as your heart rate at each workload should decrease as you get fitter. You can also get a measure of your maximum heart rate from this test.


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