The Wingate Test for Anaerobic Power

The Wingate test, also known as the Wingate Anaerobic Test (WANT), was developed at the Wingate Institute, in Israel, during the 1970s.

It is perhaps the most popular assessment for peak anaerobic power, anaerobic fatigue and total anaerobic capacity.

Before we look at the Wingate test in a little more detail, what exactly is anaerobic power?

Anaerobic power reflects the ability of the adenosine triphosphate and phosphocreatine (ATP-PCr) energy pathways to produce energy.

In short… adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is created and stored in muscle cells. These muscle cells then generate mechanical work (i.e. running) from the energy produced in a naturally occurring chemical reaction that converts ATP into adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and a phosphate (P)…

ATP is stored in limited supplies that are quickly consumed by muscle cells during exercise.

So… the body uses an organic compound found in muscle tissue called phosphocreatine and the resulting ADP to re-synthesize ATP.

The ATP-PC energy pathway defines the energy created by a breakdown of PCr to a re-synthesized ATP.

  • Peak anaerobic power represents the highest mechanical power generated during any 3-5 second interval of the test (see below).
  • Anaerobic capacity in the Wingate test is the total amount of work accomplished over a 30-second bout. Finally…
  • Anaerobic fatigue is the percentage decline in power compared with the peak power output.

Wingate Test Protocol

The Wingate test requires the subject to pedal a mechanically braked bicycle ergometer (an arm ergometer can also be used), for 30 seconds, at an “all out” pace.

A counter is used to record revolutions of the flywheel in 5-second intervals.

Although the actual Wingate test is performed in a 30-second time span, the individual is advised to complete a warm-up (3-5 minutes), followed by a recovery cool down (1-2 minutes).

On commencing the test (usually by a verbal signal from the tester), the individual pedals “all out” with no resistance. Within 3 seconds, the predetermined fixed resistance is applied to the flywheel and remains there for the duration of the 30-second test.

There are two primary bicycle ergometers used for the Wingate test… the Fleisch ergometer and the modified Monark ergometer. Fleisch ergometer resistance = 0.045 kg per kilogram of body weight Monark ergometer resistance = 0.075 kg per kilogram of body weight.

For power athletes and sprint athletes, resistance is often increased to values in the range of 1.0 kg per kilogram of body weight to 1.3 kg per kilogram of body weight.

So on the Monarch ergometer a 70kg athlete the flywheel resistance would equal 5.25kg (70 x 0.075).

Test Scores
Calculated measures from the Wingate test include:

1. Peak Power (PP)
Peak power is ideally measured in first 5-second interval of the Wingate test and is expressed as follows:

Force x Total Distance (Time in minutes)

Force is the amount of resistance (kg) added to the flywheel. Total distance is the number of revolutions x the distance per revolution. Time is 5 seconds or 0.0833 minutes. The result for peak power is expressed in watts (W).

2. Relative Peak Power (RPP)
Relative peak power is determined simply by dividing peak power by body mass and is expressed as W/kg

3. Anaerobic Fatigue (AF)
Anaerobic fatigue is calculated as follows:

Highest 5-second peak power output – Lowest 5-second peak power output ( Highest 5-second peak power output. Then multiply by 100 to get the percentage decline.

4. Anaerobic Capacity (AC)
Anaerobic capacity is expressed as kilogram-Joules (1 kg-m = 9.804 J) and is calculated by adding together each 5-second peak power output over the 30 seconds.