Submaximal VO2max test formula

One for the numerically inclined (or very boredimage

I've been looking at some different ways of measuring or predicting VO2max other than labs or races although I've used both of those before. When I can't afford a lab test I usually use the brianmac calculator based on race times which currently gives me a figure of around 45. I found this recent paper which claimed to have a good formula based on hr at a chosen jogging speed which successfully checked out against a proper maximal test. The formula is

VO2max (mL · kg-1 · min-1) = 58.687 + (7.520  x Gender; 0 = woman and 1 = man) + (4.334  x mph) - (0.211  x kg) - (0.148 x HR) - (0.107  x Age). 

A while ago I did a steady run on a canal towpath at hr=136, speed 7.1mph and assuming I've read and used the formula correctly I come up with about 59 which is way too high.(my weight 60k, age 46).

The abstract of the paper and the original formula can be read here : Submaximal Treadmill Exercise Test to Predict VO2max in Fit Adults

Would anyone else care to give it a go and compare with some race predicted values? All my recent race times (3k, 5k and 10k) give me 45-ish.

I might have mistyped the formula in Excel (if anyone wants the excel they are welcome image). The formula is admittedly stated to be valid for 18-40yos. So if there is someone who is quite a different fitness/age/weight to me and can check it out that would be interesting. Playing around varying the figures it looks to not be very sensitive to the achieved HR (only dependent on 0.148*HR); for example if 7.1mph took me to my maximum hr currently of 174 (!) I still get a vo2max of 53.

The full article is pay per view and I haven't read it, its possible of course there is a typo in the abstract which would be unfortuate for the authors.


  • You can send me the excel, I am pretty good at checking formulas, and I am a different level of performance from you image
  • You can download my xls here: VO2max formula:



  • We are either spectacular athletes or the formula has a mistake - you were slightly out on your method of putting the formula together, but within "close enough".

     Fiddling with the formula, I get you closer to "normal" by making it minus rather than plus the results after the initial fudge factor figure, however the bulk of the variance in the calcs come from gender and from heart rate.

    I figure unless you got a seriously posh HR monitor, then it picks up ectopic beats all the time, which makes them pretty inacurate - put it this way, there is often a 30 BPM difference between my HR monitor result and the old finger test when I am at rest, because I've got a funny (benign) heart rythmn - which is great fun for fooling medical students.

    If however you make the fudge factor 38, it works like magic image

    I can see I am going to have to enrol in a study once I am a student again if anyone is measuring VO2max at UEA...

    Helen <aka geekgirl>

  • Well the last full fitness test I had was at UEA, vo2max and lactate threshold. Excellent fun. I would be tempted to go there again for a retest if I wasn't so far away now although I can't see any reference to it online anymore, maybe they dropped it.

    I did put the formula terms in out of order but they looked correct other than that.

    Did you try it with any data of your own? ( I won't be nosy and ask you your age and weight in public!image)

    I have ectopic beats too but usually at rest, I think this is not an issue once I get running though, at least according to the scattergram chart in my Polar software once I upload the data.

  • I have no shame image

    Age 39, 66kg, can do 5.25mph (-ish) with an average heart rate of 165 according to my cheap and nasty HRM, which given I can still talk when running at that speed, I suspect is about 135.

    If I find out they are doing the tests still at UEA I will let you know - as a part-time PhD student I am bound to find the time to do this.

    The numbers as they stand work out at about 66 - like SO NOT!

    But whack 20 off it and it probably is about right...
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