Extended steep ramp test normative values for 19-24-year-old healthy active young adults

M. S. Werkman*, B. C. Bongers, T. Blatter, T. Takken, H. Wittink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose To extend currently available sex and age-specific normative values in children and adolescents for the peak work rate (WRpeak) attained at the steep ramp test (SRT) to healthy active young adults. Methods Healthy male and female participants aged between 19 and 24 years were recruited. After screening and anthropometric measurements, participants performed a SRT on a cycle ergometer (increments of 25 W/10 s), monitoring and recording SRT-WRpeak, heart rate (HR), and blood pressure (BP) at rest and directly after peak exercise. Results Fifty-seven participants (31 males and 26 females; median age of 21.3 years) volunteered and were tested. Anthropometrics, resting BP and lung function were all within normal ranges. Ninety-three percent of the participants attained a peak HR (HRpeak) > 80% of predicted (mean HRpeak 87 +/- 5% of predicted). No differences were found in resting and peak exercise variables between females and males, except for absolute SRT-WRpeak (350 W [Q1: 306; Q3: 371] and 487 W [Q1: 450; Q3: 517], respectively) and SRT-WRpeak normalized for body mass (relative SRT-WRpeak; 5.4 +/- 0.5 and 6.2 +/- 0.6 W/kg, respectively). Low-to-moderate correlations (rho [0.02-0.71]) were observed between SRT-WRpeak and anthropometric variables for females and males separately. Extended reference curves (8-24-year-old subjects) for SRT performance show different trends between male and female subjects when modelled against age, body height, and body mass. Conclusions The present study provides sex-, age-, body height-, and body mass-related normative values (presented as reference centiles) for absolute and relative SRT performance throughout childhood and early adulthood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-115
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number1
Early online date8 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • Exercise testing
  • Field test
  • Cycle ergometry
  • Aerobic fitness
  • Cardiorespiratory fitness

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