Research Study: Validating the Modified 300m Shuttle Run Test to Measure Anaerobic Capacity

Abstract


The purpose of this study was to validate the use of a modified 300 metre shuttle run test to measure anaerobic capacity. Sixteen male and female university aged subjects participated in the study by performing three fitness tests: the modified 300 metre shuttle run (MOD), the standard 300 metre shuttle run (STA), and the Cunningham & Faulkner (CUN) test. The score as well as the relationship between all three tests was investigated. When comparing the rank order of participants for each test, the results are consistent in that the participants who ranked the highest did so on each of the tests, and the participants who ranked lowest also did so on each individual test. Pearson Correlation analysis shows that there is a significant relationship between the MOD and STA shuttle tests (r=.987; p<0.01) and between the CUN test and both STA (r=-.915 p<0.01) and MOD (r=-.935 p<0.01) shuttle tests. The results provide preliminary evidence that the MOD appears to be measuring the same construct as the previously determined valid and reliable STA and CUN anaerobic capacity tests. It can therefore be argued that the MOD is a valid field-based assessment of anaerobic capacity.   



Introduction


            In competitive sports, coaches and trainers often implement fitness testing protocols to their respective athletes. By doing so, it can help recognize and highlight the areas of fitness that are required for success in their sport. Additionally, it allows them to not only review individual athlete fitness levels, but also how they relate to other athletes in similar stages of development. Fitness tests are often designed as a battery of tests, with a variety of different assessments used to measure the different physiological requirements of the sport. Among others, one of the common test measures used in sports, especially ones that require high intensity bursts of energy output, is an assessment of anaerobic capacity.
            Anaerobic capacity is defined as the maximal rate of energy production from both the phosphagen (anaerobic alactic) and glycolytic (anaerobic lactic) energy systems (McGuigan, 2016). Tests of anaerobic capacity measure the maximal power output during activities that last up to approximately two minutes in highly trained athletes, and is different from maximal anaerobic power tests, which only last a few seconds. Typically, anaerobic capacity tests evaluate how fast an individual can cover a predetermined distance, or how long they can maintain a high energy output. It has been determined that evaluating anaerobic capacity is considered an important part of physiological fitness testing (Peterson, 2012).
            In a lab setting, a common measure of anaerobic capacity is the Cunningham & Faulkner test (CUN; Cunningham & Faulkner, 1969). During this assessment, participants are required to run on a treadmill for as long as possible with a set speed of 12.9 km/hr (8.0 miles/hr) and an incline of 20% (11.3°). However, this particular test may not be appropriate to include in a fitness testing battery, especially when a large group of athletes needs to be tested and a treadmill is not available. In many cases, field-based fitness tests that require minimal equipment are preferred by coaches who want to assess their athletes within a restricted time period or with limited resources (McGuigan, 2016). Therefore, the standard 300-metre shuttle (STA) test is often used as a field-based assessment to measure anaerobic capacity  (McGuigan). In the STA, athletes sprint to a line 25-metres away from the starting line, make foot contact with it, then immediately sprint back to the starting line for a total of six round trips as fast as possible (6 X 50 metres = 300 metres). The time it takes to complete the 300 metres is the score on the test. The STA has been shown to be a valid and reliable assessment of anaerobic capacity in trained individuals (Moore & Murphy, 2003).
            However, because the shuttle length in the standard version is 25-metres long, it can be argued that it is not appropriate for athletes who are never required to cover 25-metres. For instance, in many of the combat sports, the area of the competitive ring is only 10 square metres, and athletes have to maneuver within this restricted area. For these athletes, a modified 300 metre shuttle test (MOD), where the distance between the shuttle lines is 10 metres (opposed to the 25 metres in the standard version), is required to assess anaerobic capacity in a more sport-specific manner. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the use of the MOD as a valid measure of anaerobic capacity. 
Participants
16 healthy university-aged subjects were recruited for this study to validate the use of a modified 300-metre shuttle run test. 10 of the participants were males, and 6 were female. All participants completed each of the anaerobic capacity tests and an information session was conducted prior to participation that addressed all aspects of the study, including rationale, research procedures, risks and benefits of participation, and answered any questions that were posed. Participants provided both a physical activity readiness questionnaire (PAR-Q) as well as written informed consent prior to participation. This study was conducted with approval from the University of Victoria Human Research Ethics Board and Biosafety committee.

Table 1. Descriptive characteristics of all participants included in the study
Participant
Sex
Age
(Years)
Body Height
(cm)
Body Mass
(kg)
1
M
25
181
71.6
2
M
27
195
99.5
3
M
31
178
87.3
4
M
26
179
122.2
5
F
19
165
55.0
6
M
21
172
80.0
7
F
20
158
53.5
8
F
24
176
59.8
9
M
30
181
91.5
10
F
28
169
61.2
11
M
27
171
79.4
12
F
23
174
58.8
13
M
25
183
91.2
14
M
29
172
80.3
15
F
30
160
61.1
16
M
26
180
87.7






Methods

Data were collected for the validation of the MOD in March 2017. During this time, participants completed all three anaerobic capacity tests in succession in the same order (MOD, STA, and then CUN; Figure 1). All participants were familiarized with the test protocols prior to performing them, and were given a 10 minute individual warm-up period prior to the tests, as well as a 10 minute cool-down period in-between tests. All tests were conducted at similar times of the day, and participants were instructed to not consume caffeine 2 hours prior to the tests. The tests were conducted by the same data collector for every participant, and the scores (time) of each test was recorded immediately following completion, as well as the rank order for each individual test for all participants. After all participants completed the tests, data was then analyzed using the bivariate Pearson Correlation method to measure the strength of the relationships between the tests to determine if the MOD is a measure of anaerobic capacity.

Figure 1. Demonstration of shuttle tests and Cunningham & Faulkner treadmill test


Results

The results of each of the anaerobic capacity tests can be found in Table 2. The average time to complete the MOD for all participants was 91.6 seconds, while the average time to complete the STA was 78.6 seconds. The CUN, which measures how long participants can maintain a given speed, opposed to how fast they can complete a set distance as completed in the shuttle tests, had an average time to exhaustion of 37.6 seconds.
            When comparing the rank order of participants for each test, the results are consistent. The participant who ranked the highest did so on each of the tests, and the participant who ranked lowest also did so on each individual test. Similarly, the majority of the participants were ranked the same across all tests (Table 2).

Table 2. Results from the three anaerobic capacity tests included in the study including rank order
Participant
Modified 300m shuttle
(seconds)
Rank
Standard 300m Shuttle
(seconds)
Rank
Cunningham & Faulkner Test
(seconds)
Rank
1
87.3
5
75.6
6
44.4
5
2
80.4
1
67.6
1
60.5
1
3
91.4
10
77.8
10
32.4
10
4
101.1
15
89.20
15
22.7
15
5
89.1
8
76.7
8
36.7
8
6
98.3
13
82.4
12
27.8
13
7
107.8
16
92.3
16
20.1
16
8
82.6
2
70.2
2
47.7
4
9
87.5
6
74.8
5
43.9
6
10
93.3
11
78.5
11
31.1
11
11
100.2
14
87.1
14
25.5
14
12
88.7
7
76.3
7
40.3
7
13
90.3
9
77
9
33.5
9
14
98.2
12
86.1
13
30.3
12
15
83.4
3
72.4
3
54.8
2
16
86.6
4
74.2
4
50.6
3
Means:
91.6

78.6

37.6


            The results of the Pearson Correlation analysis between the three anaerobic capacity tests are given in Table 3. Results show that there is a positive relationship between the MOD and the STA (r=.987). Additionally, there is a negative relationship between the CUN and both the STA (r=-.915) and the MOD (r=-.935). The correlation between all three tests is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).  

Table 3. Results of the Pearson Correlation analysis of all three anaerobic capacity tests

Modified 300m Shuttle
Standard 300m Shuttle
Cunningham & Faulkner




Modified 300m Shuttle
r = 1.0
r = .987**
r = -.935**




Standard 300m Shuttle
r = .987**
r = 1.0
r = -.915**




Cunningham & Faulkner
r = -.935**
r = -.915**
r = 1.0





** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).

Discussion

The objective of this study was to examine the use of the MOD as a valid assessment of anaerobic capacity in healthy individuals. The two other tests included in this study (STA & CUN), which were used to correlate results with the MOD, have previously been determined to be valid and reliable assessments of anaerobic capacity (Moore & Murphy, 2003; (Thomas, Plowman, & Looney, 2009). As the results show, the MOD has a strong relationship to both the STA and CUN. Additionally, these findings were found to be significant (p<0.01). If we use the CUN as our criterion-referenced model for the assessment of anaerobic capacity, then the MOD had a higher correlation (r= .935) than the STA (r= -.915). Therefore, it can be argued that the MOD may be more effective than the STA in measuring anaerobic capacity due to a higher correlation with the criterion-reference model, however more research is needed to support this. However, due to the results of this study, there is strong evidence to support the validity of the MOD as an assessment of anaerobic capacity.   



References


Cunningham, D., & Faulkner, J. (1969). The effect of training on aerobic and anaerobic    
metabolism  during a short exhaustive run. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 1(2), 65-69.

McGuigan, M. (2016). Principles of test selection and administration. In G. Haff & T. Triplett       (Eds.), Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning (pp. 249-258). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Moore, A., & Murphy, A. (2003). Development of an anaerobic capacity test for field sport          athletes. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 6(3), 275-284.

Peterson, M. (2012). Power. In T. Miller (Ed.), NSCA's Guide to Tests and Assessments (pp. 217-  252). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.


Thomas, C., Plowman, S., & Looney, M. (2009). Reliability and validity of the anaerobic speed     test and the field anaerobic shuttle test for measuring anaerobic work capacity in soccer  players. Measurement in Physical Education and Exercise Science, 6(3), 187-205.