Rockport Walk Test
VO2 Max Calculator
VO2 Max Calculator
Use this calculator to estimate your VO2 Max based on the results of the Rockport Walk Test
How-to complete the test
The Rockport Walk Test is an assessment for estimating VO2 Max without the use of sophisticated gas exchange equipment. The test is performed at a submaximal intensity, making it ideal for people who may be at a higher risk of heart disease, or who may not be able to run.
In the original study, heart rate was electronically monitored, so it is recommended to use a chest strap heart rate monitor.
- You can either complete the test on a flat track surface, or on a treadmill at a 1% incline.
- Walk one mile as fast as possible. One foot must remain in contact with the ground at all times. At no point are you able to run.
- Immediately upon completing one mile, record both your overall time and your heart rate.
- If wearing an HR monitor, record pulse at time of completion.
- Without an HR monitor, count heart beats for the first 15 seconds after completion and multiply by 4 to find your heart rate.
- While not required, a test proctor is helpful to quickly gather data.
Calculator created by Jeff Burmann, NSCA-CPT. Questions? Email Jeff
What is VO2 Max?
VO2 Max is the maximum amount of oxygen you can take in and utilize. Not all the air you inhale is actually used by the body. The greater your cardiovascular fitness, the higher your VO2 max, thus the more oxygen you’ll be able to utilize with each breath. Finding VO2 max is among the best measures of cardiorespiratory fitness. Each liter of oxygen utilized burns about 5 kcal, so the higher your VO2 max, the more calories you burn while training. Improving VO2 max is one of the best ways to improve all cardiovascular functions in the body which will improve your overall fitness level.
VO₂ Max, and Heart Rate Reserve (HRR)
Heart Rate Reserve (HRR) is the difference between your maximal heart rate, and the heart rate you are currently working at. It is the most common way to measure intensity during aerobic exercise. Measuring heart rate is far more practical than measuring gas exchange during exercise, but it is very easy to estimate percentage of VO2 max based on percentage of HRR; for example, 50% VO2 max is equal to about 50% HRR, 75% VO2 max = 75% HRR, etc.
VO2 Max vs. VO2 Reserve
VO2 Reserve (VO2R) is the difference between VO2 max and the VO2 intensity you’re currently working at. You can use the following equation to find target VO2 or VO2 R.
VO2R = [(Intensity %) x (VO2 max – VO2 rest)] + VO2rest.
VO2 Max and METs
At rest, oxygen utilization is about 3.5mL ⋅ kg-1 ⋅ min-1 and is known as a “Metabolic Equivalent of Tasks” or MET. At rest, you are at 1 MET, so at 5 METs, the body is working 5x harder than at rest. 1 Met is also known as VO2rest. Normal healthy individuals typically have a VO2 max of 25-80 or 7.1 to 22.9 METs.
For another perspective, here is a list of estimated METs for various activities.
- 1 MET = lying in bed or sitting, watching T.V., doing nothing.
- 3 METs = resistance training with light to moderate effort, or walking 2.5 mph
- 5 METs = walking 4 mph on level surface, or low impact aerobic dancing
- 6 METs = vigorous resistance training
- 8 METs = playing singles tennis, or circuit training including cardio stations with limited rest
- 10 METs = running 6mph, or swimming vigorously
- 16 METs = running 10 mph, or cycling outdoors at >20 mph
Formula from ACSM’s Resources for the Personal Trainer, 3rd Edition 2010.
Some information gathered from NSCA’s Essentials of Strength and Conditioning, 3rd Edition 2008 and NSCA’s Essentials of Personal Training, 2nd Edition 2012.