Conconi Test: execution and evaluation

Like many other endurance tests, the Conconi test is reaching its limits. Here only the relationship between performance and heart rate is measured. Lactate values and respiratory gas values are ignored. The results are individual and cannot be generally asserted. The reading of the deflection point is usually very inaccurate. For a thorough performance diagnosis, contemporary performance tests should be carried out at regular intervals.

The performance diagnostics is only a framework of trainability. Individual training plans taking into account the individual constitution and condition of the athlete are decisive for long-term and successful training.

Creation of the Conconi Test

Francesco Conconi (* 19. April 1935 in Como), former Italian amateur cyclist, sports scientist, and biochemist developed the test of the same name. This test establishes a relationship between stress intensity and pulse frequency.

The test is no longer up to date and is usually called the lactate step review or spiroergometrie, which are very similar to the Conconi test in structure and procedure but provide much more reliable values.

Purpose of the Conconi Test

The test is a method to determine the individual heart rate and load intensity for endurance training in terms of physical performance – measured by the training speed – at the anaerobic threshold.

Conconi assumed that the heart rate in the aerobic range (at about 100-180 beats per minute) increases linearly.

ECG diagram

The anaerobic threshold is reached at the point where the linear relationship between heart rate and speed changes to a flatter curve. The curve thus – figuratively speaking – takes a bend downwards. This point is called the deflection point. However, the error tolerance of this test is large.

Execution and evaluation of the Conconi Test

The basic principle for the implementation is an even, gradual increase of the load levels. Tests on the treadmill or on the bicycle ergometer are common.

The speed is slow and relaxed at the beginning and is increased in every step (e.g. by 0.5 km/h every 200 meters when running or by 1 km/h every two minutes when cycling or by 20 watts on the ergometer). Heart rate is continuously measured and recorded at each level. The test is not terminated until the respondent is no longer able to increase his or her performance.

The following points must then be fulfilled:

  • 8 points in the linear, (assumed) aerobic range
  • At least 3 points above the anaerobic threshold, i.e. where the curve makes a downward bend.
  • increase the heart rate by at least 8 beats per level

The measured value pairs of heart rate and speed are entered into a diagram and evaluated. The resulting maximum heart rate then forms the basis for the subsequent endurance training program.

This post is also available in: German

William C. Hilberg
As an author, Mr. Hilberg has published several papers on health issues that have gained international recognition. He is close to nature and loves the seclusion and activity as a freelance journalist. In his function as editor William C. Hilberg manages the entire content of PENP. Our team greatly appreciates his expertise and is proud to have him on board.