Applications of the Critical Power Model to Dynamic Constant External Resistance Exercise: A Brief Review of the Critical Load Test

Haley C. Bergstrom, Taylor K. Dinyer, Pasquale J. Succi, Caleb C. Voskuil, Terry J. Housh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


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 Wj, that describe aerobic and anaerobic metabolic capacities, respectively. Various mathematical models have been used to estimate the CP and Wj 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 Lj. The CL and Lj 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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (


  • critical load
  • critical power
  • dynamic constant external resistance exercise
  • exercise intensity domains
  • fatigue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


Dive into the research topics of 'Applications of the Critical Power Model to Dynamic Constant External Resistance Exercise: A Brief Review of the Critical Load Test'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this