DÄ internationalArchive43/2018Degree of Physical Performance Capacity


Degree of Physical Performance Capacity

Dtsch Arztebl Int 2018; 115(43): 731; DOI: 10.3238/arztebl.2018.0731b

Ulmer, H


The first sentence of the abstract (1) conforms to the traditional view in suggesting that exercise testing can be used to assess physical performance capacity. The singular is misleading: the term physical performance capacity is suitable for the purposes of systematization and distinction from other aspects of performances. Any real degree of physical performance is, however, based on a complex interaction of many performance-specific personality traits. Real professional or athletic performance can therefore not be measured by one single test, unless the special performance is tested directly or in a close-to-reality simulator—as has been the case for a long time for air pilots and other vehicle drivers. A firefighter very rarely has to cycle to the site of a fire, and his/her task-specific performance capacity can be assessed rather better by means of a test track than by using a bicycle-ergometer.

With an ergometer only the ergometric performance capacity under the actual testing conditions is assessed, and even tests done on a bicycle ergometer will yield different performance values depending on the type of ergometer. To postulate a general endurance performance capacity on the basis of such a test is far-fetched, because movement-technique and the muscle groups involved are very task-specific for each type of endurance sports—cf rowing and pedaling an ergometer, for instance.

Just one more comment for the occupational health physician: according to the stress-strain concept, exercise testing does not measure stress. What is being measured is the intensity of work or work/time (ergon = work).

Even though the article is a selective literature search, the problems described here could have been included in the “Overview and future perspective” section.

DOI: 10.3238/arztebl.2018.0731b

Prof. i. R. Dr. med. Hans-Volkhart Ulmer
Facharzt für Physiologie, Institut für Sportwissenschaft
Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

Löllgen H, Leyk D: Exercise testing in sports medicine. Dtsch Arztebl Int 2018; 115: 409–16 VOLLTEXT
1.Löllgen H, Leyk D: Exercise testing in sports medicine. Dtsch Arztebl Int 2018; 115: 409–16 VOLLTEXT