CPEX (Cardio-Pulmonary Exercise Test)

The CHHP CPEX team are specialists in the assessment of clients across the health and disease spectrum. CPEX is the gold-standard assessment of the simultaneous function of the heart and lungs during exercise.

You may have heard of a V02 max test, the one where you are wired up to a machine, put on a static bike, shouted at to 'push, push, push!, keep going!' while your legs are screaming out in pain - burning, and you seriously expect them to be on fire when you look down, sweat dripping down your face, all finished when you slip off the bike and face plant the sweat covered floor... your sweat (and maybe, quite possibly tears!).

Yes, that's exactly what I thought would happen when I went for a CPEX test at CHHP, with Jim Pate, Exercise Physiologist.

When arriving, a medical history is taken, and the reason as to why you are having a CPEX is established. From here you are connected to an ECG and a soft rubber mask is fitted in place over your nose and mouth.

1. ECG: This allows the testing practitioner to gather information regarding the heart during the test, including heart rate.

2. MASK: This measure your breathing - not only does it show how much air is moving in and out of the lungs, it also measures how much Oxygen (O2) you consume, and how much Carbon Dioxide (CO2) you produce. 

It is important that readings from both the mask and ECG are gathered, as it allows us that the heart and lungs are functioning properly together as we place more demand on the body. The CPEX test also allows the testing practitioner to establish some objective measurements of cardiovascular fitness, VO2 max and anabolic threshold. From here you can compare the results to your age group average, look closer at peer groups, athletes, and also compare yourself to the professional athletes, who will have all had this test, and whose results will often be published.

So why should you have a CPEX?

The CPEX provides you with a bench mark for your level of fitness, and from there an exercise physiologist will create an individual training programme, and structure your training schedule so you reach your desired fitness goals, whether is be running a 5km in 20mins, or doing an Ironman.

If you are starting to exercise, and want to have an idea of appropriate training levels, how to train, how often to train, and what intensity you need to be training at to meet your goals.

The CPEX will identify if you need to modify your current training levels.

Final thoughts...

For me the CPEX was so interesting, disseminating the data with Jim Pate (Exercise Physiologist) after the test, and realising very quickly that my cardiovascular endurance needed work, but also my leg muscles (more used to weight training), although powerful in output, had poor endurance.

Now it's time to put in place my Individualised Training Plan...!

For more information regarding the test, head to the CHHP website: www.chhp.com