Oxygen consumption and energy expenditure of level versus downhill running

Robergs, R.A., Wagner, D.R., & Skemp, K.M. (1997) Oxygen consumption and energy expenditure of level versus downhill running. The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 37(3), pp. 168-174.

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  • The purpose of this study was to assess and compare submaximal oxygen consumption (VO2) and energy expenditure (kJ) while running at 0, -1.8, -3.6, and -5.4% grades for three individually selected running speeds (9.4 + 0.79, 10.3 + 0.74, 11.3 + 0.73 km.h-1).

Experimental Design

  • Subjects completed the four grade conditions in random order via a modified Latin squares design at three self-selected submaximal running speeds for each condition.


  • Thirteen (5 females and 8 males) recreational (< 35 km.wk-1) runners (age: 27.7 +/- 4.3 yrs) volunteered for the study.


  • Two-way repeated measures ANOVA (Grade x Speed) was used to analyze steady-state VO2 and kJ expenditure. Stepwise linear multiple regression was used to develop an equation for predicting VO2 for running at recreational speeds on moderately negative grades.


  • VO2 and kJ mean values were significantly different between all speed and % grade comparisons. Compared to level grade, the average reductions in VO2 and kJ expenditure ranged from approximately 9% at a grade of -1.8% to 22% at a grade of -5.4%. The relationship between VO2 and % grade for each running speed was linear.


  • For a given speed, running at a modest negative grade can significantly decrease VO2 and kJ expenditure compared to level running. The following regression equation can be used to estimate VO2 (ml.kg-1.min-1) for running at recreational speeds on slight downhills: VO2 = 6.8192 + 0.1313 (speed in m.min-1) + 1.2367 (% grade).

Impact and interest:

15 citations in Scopus
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14 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 96943
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: No
Keywords: adult; article; controlled study; energy expenditure; energy metabolism; female; human; human experiment; male; normal human; oxygen consumption; running; treadmill exercise; volunteer, Adult; Algorithms; Analysis of Variance; Body Composition; Energy Metabolism; Exercise Test; Female; Forecasting; Heart Rate; Humans; Linear Models; Male; Oxygen Consumption; Pulmonary Gas Exchange; Respiration; Running; Spirometry; Tidal Volume
ISSN: 0022-4707
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences
Deposited On: 20 Jul 2016 01:04
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2016 01:10

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