The aim of this study is to determine the magnitude of maximal fat oxidation (MFO) during incremental upper and lower body exercise. Thirteen non-specifically trained male participants (19.3 ± 0.5 y, 78.1 ± 9.1 kg body mass) volunteered for this repeated-measures study, which had received university ethics committee approval. Participants undertook two incremental arm crank (ACE) and cycle ergometry (CE) exercise tests to volitional exhaustion. The first test for each mode served as habituation. The second test was an individualised protocol, beginning at 40% of the peak power output (PO peak) achieved in the first test, with increases of 10% PO peak until volitional exhaustion. Expired gases were recorded at the end of each incremental stage, from which fat and carbohydrate oxidation rates were calculated. MFO was taken as the greatest fat oxidation value during incremental exercise and expressed relative to peak oxygen uptake (%V˙O 2peak). MFO was lower during ACE (0.44 ± 0.24 g·min -1) than CE (0.77 ± 0.31 g·min -1; respectively, p < 0.01) and occurred at a lower exercise intensity (53 ± 21 vs. 67 ± 18%V˙O 2peak; respectively, p < 0.01). Inter-participant variability for MFO was greatest during ACE. These results suggest that weight loss programs involving the upper body should occur at lower exercise intensities than for the lower body.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15311
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH)
Issue number22
Early online date19 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2022


  • Humans
  • Male
  • Exercise
  • Ergometry/methods
  • Exercise Test/methods
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Health Status
  • cycle ergometry
  • Fat
  • carbohydrate oxidation
  • arm crank ergometry
  • variability
  • Article
  • Fatmax


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