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Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research


A standardized fitness assessment is critical for the development of an individualized exercise prescription. Although the benefits of aquatic exercise have been well established, there remains the need for a standardized nonswimming protocol to accurately assess cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) in shallow water. The present investigation was designed to assess (a) the reliability of a standardized shallow water run (SWR) test of CRF and (b) the accuracy of a standardized SWR compared with a land-based treadmill (LTM)test. Twenty-three healthy women (20 6 3 years), with body mass index (23.5 6 3 kg$m22), performed 2 shallow water peak oxygen consumption (V_ O2peak) running tests (SWRa and SWRb), and 1 V_ O2max LTM. Intraclass correlation coefficients indicated moderately strong reliability for V_ O2peak (ml$kg21$min21) (r = 0.73, p , 0.01), HR peak (b$min21) (r = 0.82; p , 0.01), and O2pulse (V_ O2 [ml$kg21$min21]$ HR [b$min21]) (r = 0.77, p , 0.01). Using paired t-tests and Pearson’s correlations, SWR V_ O2peak and HR peak were significantly lower than during LTM (p # 0.05) and showed moderate correlations of 0.60 and 0.58 (p , 0.001) to LTM. O2pulse was similar (p . 0.05) for the SWR and LTM tests with a moderate correlation of 0.63. A standardized SWR test asa measure of CRF is a reliable, and to some degree, valid alternative to conventional protocols and may be used by strength and conditioning professionals to measure program outcomes and monitor training progress. Furthermore, this protocol provides a water-based option for CRF assessment among healthy women and offers insight toward the development of an effective protocol that can accommodate individuals with limited mobility, or those seeking less musculoskeletal impact from traditional land-based types of training.