The Wingate test is 90 seconds all-out effort and is used to identify your anaerobic weakness. This means the test allows you to quickly identify your weaknesses, so you know what to improve. During the Wingate test we have seen that there is three different weakness that can be detected: muscular limitation, supply limitation or Respiratory limitation.
The most common weakness is the muscular limitation, where the limiting factor is the working muscle’s ability to use the oxygen provided by the capillary network. To improve this limitation, you should focus on really hard efforts at short duration with long/ sufficient recovery. For further information see here
*The capillary network is a network of tiny blood vessels that transport the oxygenated blood into the muscle.
During the 90-second all-out test the following parameters are accessed:
Baseline Muscle Oxygen: the starting rest level of Muscle Oxygen.
The negative slope of Muscle Oxygen when work starts, or how quickly your Muscle Oxygen drops.
The minimum Muscle Oxygen reached during work, or how low you can push your Muscle Oxygen.
The positive slope of Muscle Oxygen when resting, or how quickly you recover after an effort.
The time of recovery until baseline Muscle Oxygen is reached, or how long time it takes before you are back at resting level.
To explain this, here are the three different limitations that can be detected. They are illustrated on below, with an “ideal” reference represented as the green line.
Red line – Muscular limitation: Your muscles are not able to fully use all the oxygen that is supplied to your muscle. To improve this, you should add some high-intensity interval at short duration with sufficient recovery. You can also identify a muscular limitation as a small difference between baseline Muscle Oxygen (A) and minimum Muscle Oxygen (C).
Purple line – Supply limitation: Here the limiting factor is the heart, airways, and your network of blood vessels, in other words, your supply system. This supply system can’t keep up with the demand for oxygen in the muscle, which means that you can’t keep performing. You can improve this with longer endurance-based trainings, to train your supply system without overstressing the muscle. You can also identify this by the opposite of muscular weakness, the difference between A and C would be much greater.
Dotted purple line – Respiratory limitation: The limiting factory is the respiratory muscles and lung functionality. This can be due to conditions such as asthma, or a low breathing rate. If you’re not suffering from asthma, or other conditions, this can be improved by specifically training the respiratory muscle, e.g., with breathing exercises. This weakness would be easy to spot because of the slow recovery time, going from C to E.
Assessing these weaknesses at the end or beginning of a new training block is an extremely valuable tool to find out what kinds of intervals you should do.