How to Test VO2 on a Treadmill


People who are very fit will have a higher VO2 max than people who are less fit. According to the website Medical Health Tests, "VO2 max refers to the level at which an individual consumes the highest amount of oxygen during an intensive workout." You can test your VO2 max using a treadmill or a stationary bike. While your VO2 max is genetically predetermined, you can enhance your VO2 max by 20 percent through an intense training program. In order to affect your VO2 max, you must push yourself as hard as you can each session, reports

Things You'll Need

  • Incline treadmill
  • Warm up on the treadmill by walking at a comfortable pace with no incline for 10 minutes. Then take the speed up to 1.7 miles per hour and the incline to 10 percent. Continue walking at this speed for three minutes.

  • Take the speed up to 2.5 miles per hour and the incline to 12 percent. Continue walking for another three minutes.

  • Take the speed up to 3.4 miles per hour and the incline to 14 percent. Continue walking or running for another three minutes. Repeat these intervals, adding two percent every three minutes. Your speed for minute nine should be 4.2 miles per hour, minute 12 5, minute 15 5.5, minute 18 6, minute 21 6.5, minute 24 7 and minute 27 7.5. If you have followed protocol properly, the incline should be 28 percent at minute 27. Walk or run for as long as you can and then stop. Record the time you have spent on the treadmill.

  • Use the Bruce Treadmill VO2 max formula to calculate your VO2 max. Men should use the following formula: VO2max = 14.8 - (1.379 x T) + (0.451 x T2) - (0.012 x T3) and women VO2 max = 4.38 x T - 3.9. T is the time you spent on the treadmill. If your total treadmill time is 10 minutes and 30 seconds, write it as 10.5 when using the formula.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use an assistant if possible for best results. You might not be able to properly record your statistics when you are extremely fatigued.

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  • Photo Credit bike image by Byron Moore from
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