Fitness: V02 Max Test Using an Easy One-Mile Jog

Fitness: V02 Max Test Using an Easy One-Mile Jog

Dick Moss, Editor, Physical Education

V02 max tests will give you a good general indication of aerobic ability and current fitness. Unfortunately, the most accurate test procedures involve a lab, a treadmill and sophisticated monitoring equipment and aren't not practical for physical education teachers or school coaches. These tests also require subjects to run almost to exhaustion, which is beyond the motivation levels of the average PE student.

Fortunately, a test devised by researchers at Brigham Young University will allow you to estimate the V02 max of your students using nothing more than their body weight, post-exercise heart rate a slow one mile jog as the test procedure. That's right -- the run has to be slow for this test to be accurate!

The Study
Researchers used the data from 54 students to devise this simple test and formula. They then used it to estimate the V02 max of 52 different runners. These estimates were compared with readings obtained through lab testing of these subjects and were found to be surprisingly accurate.

Test Procedure
Testing is simple. Obtain your students' body weight in kilograms (which you may or may not want to do - if you do, keep this confidential). Then have your students jog one mile on a track or flat course (one mile = 1609 metres or 1760 yards ). Immediately after the run, take a heart rate (beats per minute).

The pace of the mile is slow. Male students must take longer than eight minutes and females nine minutes to complete the course.

Heart rates can be measured manually, but heart rate monitors will greatly improve the accuracy of the test.

Plug your students' weight, heart rate and mile time into the following formula. You'll obtain a V02 max reading in ml/kg/minute.

Male Athletes - VO2max = 108.844 - 0.1636W - 1.438T - 0.1928H
Female Athletes - VO2max = 100.5 - 0.1636W - 1.438T - 0.1928H

W = Weight in kg (convert to kilograms from pounds by dividing by 2.2)
T = Time in minutes and 100ths of a minute (i.e. 8.50 minutes) for the one-mile run
H = Heart rate at the end of the run

For example, a 70 km boy who took 8 minutes 30 seconds to complete the course and finished with a heart rate of 140.

108.844 - (0.1636 x 70) - (1.438 x 8.5) - (0.1928 x 140) =
108.844 - (11.452) - (12.223) - (26.992) = 58.177

His V02 Max would be 58.17 ml/kg/min

This testing method is simple and can easily be performed in a physical education class or team practice. It's appropriate for any sport.

While the test is most accurate for subjects aged 18-28, it will give you a ballpark V02 max estimate for younger students - although some practitioners find that it may overestimate results. However, it can be used to monitor improvements in fitness. And because a slow mile can be performed with a large group without risk of mutiny, it's a repeatable test you can actually use!

Free Calculation Spreadsheet
If you don't want to perform all these calculations yourself, use the Excel calculators I have provided. Download them below:

Male Calculator Download

Female Calculator Download

1. George JD, Vehrs PR, Allsen PE, Fellingham GW, Fisher AG. (Brigham Young University), VO2max estimation from a submaximal 1-mile track jog for fit college-age individuals. Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise, March 1993.
2. V02 Max from a One Mile Jog, The Personal Trainers Organization,

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