Metabolic testing does not alter distance running lower body sagittal kinematics

Document Type


Publication Date



Background: Distance running fitness is commonly assessed using metabolic testing (MT). During MT, the runner must wear a mask that covers the nose and mouth. It is unclear if this increased challenge alters running kinematics and/or stride-to-stride variability (SSV). In this study we thoroughly assess the sagittal plane lower body joint angles. Research question: Are there significant differences between standard treadmill running kinematics and those collected during MT? Methods: Twenty recreational runners participated (34.8 ± 10.0 years; 20+ miles per week). Six Vicon Bonita cameras were used to collect kinematic data (200 Hz). A metabolic cart (Parvo Medics TrueOne 2400) was used for heart rate (HR) collection and testing. Participants ran 4 × 4 min at preferred pace: 2 control runs (CON) and 2 MT runs. Ten strides were used to generate average stance and swing joint angle plots. The phase plots were compared for CON and MT and mean difference scores were calculated (to determine the kinematic change). SSV was determined by assessing the standard deviations among the 10 strides. Repeated measures ANOVA was used to test for significant differences among CON and MT trials. Reliability was assessed for 8 discrete joint angles using ICC analysis. Results: There were no significant differences between CON and MT for both the joint angle plot comparisons and SSV. For the discrete kinematic measures, ICC scores were strong (0.89-0.99) between CON and MT. During MT, there were slight increases (p < 0.01) in HR (145 ± 14 vs. 147 ± 14) and RPE (10.4 ± 1.5 vs. 11.4 ± 1.5). Significance: Results from this study support the validity of simultaneously conducting a kinematic and MT analysis. However, clinicians and performance coaches should be aware that 1) MT is slightly more physiologically demanding than CON and 2) approaches from this study can be used during individual assessments to confirm that kinematics are similar (between CON and MT).

Publication Title

Gait and Posture



First Page


Last Page


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


PubMed ID