Nutrition and Health Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version



Bergstrom, H.C.; Dinyer, T.K.; Succi, P.J.; Voskuil, C.C.; Housh, T.J. Applications of the Critical Power Model to Dynamic Constant External Resistance Exercise: A Brief Review of the Critical Load Test. Sports 2021, 9, 15. sports9020015




The study and application of the critical power (CP) concept has spanned many decades. The CP test provides estimates of two distinct parameters, CP and W0 , that describe aerobic and anaerobic metabolic capacities, respectively. Various mathematical models have been used to estimate the CP and W0 parameters across exercise modalities. Recently, the CP model has been applied to dynamic constant external resistance (DCER) exercises. The same hyperbolic relationship that has been established across various continuous, whole-body, dynamic movements has also been demonstrated for upper-, lower-, and whole-body DCER exercises. The asymptote of the load versus repetition relationship is defined as the critical load (CL) and the curvature constant is L0 . The CL and L0 can be estimated from the same linear and non-linear mathematical models used to derive the CP. The aims of this review are to (1) provide an overview of the CP concept across continuous, dynamic exercise modalities; (2) describe the recent applications of the model to DCER exercise; (3) demonstrate how the mathematical modeling of DCER exercise can be applied to further our understanding of fatigue and individual performance capabilities; and (4) make initial recommendations regarding the methodology for estimating the parameters of the CL test.