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Wingate Test In Physiology

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To better human athletic performance, it is important to first understand how the energy systems throughout the body work and how they assist in human performance. Adenosine Triphosphate or ATP is the main source of assistance for muscle contraction, therefor this is a huge factor of performance. The body re-synthesises ATP through 3 main energy systems, these being the phosphagen system, glycolytic system and mitochondrial respiration (Glaister, 2005). These systems can be categorised into the specific ways depending on the oxygen availability, the mitochondrial respiration requires oxygen to fully function and it relies on aerobic metabolism to obtain energy in the form of ATP from carbohydrates, amino acids and fatty acids. Therefor mitochondrial respiration is characterised as an aerobic energy system. Phosphagen and glycolytic systems are available when oxygen is not present, without the use of oxygen, our cells form ATP through glycolysis and fermentation. This process means that our body produces considerably less ATP than its aerobic equivalent and will also lead to the build-up of lactic acid throughout the body. Because of this phosphagen and glycolytic systems are characterised as anaerobic energy systems (Patel et al., 2017). It has been shown in the literature that all energy systems are working in unison with one other during exercise with only one becoming dominant (Baker, McCormick & Robergs, 2010). All energy systems serve a purpose when it comes to exercise and more specifically high intensity exercise. Once high intensity exercise commences then the aforementioned phosphagen and glycolytic systems begin working. On the onset of high intensity exercise the phosphagen system utilises energy to help the body for roughly 2-5 seconds, if this high intensity does not subside then the glycolytic system takes over to prevent intensity from dropping off (Gastin, 2001).

The Wingate Anaerobic Test (WAT) is said in the literature to be the gold standard measurement of anaerobic performance, it is one of the most frequently implemented tests for measuring anaerobic capacity (Harvey, Bousson, McLellan & Lovell, 2017). Although this test is predominantly known for its anaerobic contribution it is worth noting that the aerobic system is involved also, it is stated that the aerobic contribution to a 30-second high intensity WAT has been estimated to be 9-19%, 28%, or as high as 44% in some studies (Smith & Hill, 1991). The distribution of energy systems varies depending on studies but most research backs the fact that the Adenosine Tri-Phosphate – Phosphocreatine system (ATP-PC) supports the first 5 seconds of a maximal effort, at this point anaerobic systems such as the glycolytic system help sustain the maximal effort for roughly 10-15 seconds which is when aerobic power supports the rest of the time taken in a thirty-second Wingate test (Smith & Hill, 1991). Before delving any deeper into energy systems used it is important to understand what a WAT is and what it is used for. It was stated in 1987 by Bar-Or in the Journal of Sports Medicine that Wingate testing was established in Israel at the Department of Research and Sport Medicine of the Wingate Institute for Physical Education and Sport, during the mid to late 1970’s. Since then WAT has been recognised as an applicable tool in measuring both muscular power and anaerobic capacity in a ten-second or thirty-second time frame which can give a predictive measure of peak power output and aerobic capacity (Zupan et al., 2009). This test is commonly conducted on a cycle ergometer bike but also has been seen tested on arm cycle ergometers ,treadmills or stationary rowing machines.

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Existing literature has shown that the difference between a ten-second and thirty-second Wingate test is that peak power is reached quicker and is constant for a shorter period of time in a 10-second test, it is also worth noting that total external work is less. This shows that the total energy expenditure and rate of energy expenditure is higher for the ten-second test, which suggests that the subject could be reserving energy and pacing themselves in the 30-second version. Post-exercise heart rate and lactic acid concentrations are shown to be higher following the thirty-second Wingate test indicate a prevalence of the glycolytic system working, this evidence shows that the 30-second test is more valuable in the assessment of anaerobic capacity (Zajac, Jarzabek & Waskiewicz, 1999). Some of the measures that can be gained from this test are; average power, peak power, fatigue index, and percentage of anaerobic and aerobic contribution. A WAT can help professionals working with athletes and general population in many ways, for example; a study conducted in 2018 examined the relationship between WAT performance with twenty metre sprints and vertical jumping ability of one-hundred and ninety soccer players. The study confirmed that there was a moderate to large relationship between the WAT and twenty metre sprint times, they also went on to say that due to these findings it will fill a gap within the industry of exercise professionals and testing due to the positive results shown in the testing (Nikolaidis et al., 2018). Another study was conducted in 2002 to establish whether strength trained adults have superior anaerobic power output in comparison to non-strength trained adults and to identify the relationship between anaerobic power and performance based physical function. Thirty-five men and woman grouped by their training history and current training status where put through a WAT and the results concluded that high levels of physical function in strength trained adults are likely to be explained by higher levels of anaerobic power which is connected to regular strength training (Slade, Miszko, Laity, Agrawal & Cress, 2002).

The aims of this study are to find the contribution on aerobic and anaerobic energy systems on a ten and thirty-second Wingate test along with analysing other markers such as peak power, average power and fatigue index to understand which test is more beneficial for athletes to use to test these measures and what would be best to use going forward with analysing and testing.

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Wingate Test In Physiology. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 10, 2023, from
“Wingate Test In Physiology.” Edubirdie, 17 Feb. 2022,
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