Exercise testing protocol using a roller system for manual wheelchair users with spinal cord injury

Kerri A. Morgan, Kelly L. Taylor, Susan M. Tucker, W. Todd Cade, Joseph W. Klaesner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: Determine the validity and reliability of an exercise testing protocol to evaluate cardiorespiratory measures in manual wheelchair users (MWUs) with spinal cord injury (SCI) using a roller-based (RS) wheelchair system. Design: Repeated measures within-subject design. Setting: Community-based research laboratory. Participants: Ten adults with SCI requiring the use of a manual wheelchair. Interventions: Not applicable. Outcome measures: Cardiorespiratory measures (peak oxygen consumption [VO 2 peak], respiratory exchange ratio [RER], pulmonary ventilation [VE], energy expenditure [EE], heart rate [HR], accumulated kilocalories [AcKcal]) and perceived exertion (RPE) were measured during three separate maximal exercise tests using an arm crank ergometer (ACE) and an RS. Results: At maximal exertion, there were no significant differences in variables between groups, with moderate-to-strong correlations (P< 0.05, r = 0.79–0.90) for VO 2 , HR, RPE, AcKcal, and rate of EE between RS and ACE trials. Significant moderate-to-strong correlations existed between RS trials for VO 2 , AcKcal, rate of EE, and peak power output (P < 0.01, r = 0.77–0.97). Conclusions: VO 2peak was highly correlated between ACE and RS trials and between the two RS trials, indicating the RS protocol to be reliable and valid for MWUs with SCI. Differences in perceived exertion and efficiency at submaximal workloads and maximal pulmonary ventilation at peak workloads indicated potential advantages to using the RS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)288-297
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Spinal Cord Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 4 2019


  • Spinal cord injury
  • cardiorespiratory fitness
  • exercise testing
  • manual wheelchair
  • wheelchair roller system

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