Cooper VO2 max Test
Testing and measurement are the means of collecting information
upon which subsequent performance evaluations and
decisions are made but in the analysis we need to bear in mind the factors that may influence the results.
The Cooper Test (Cooper 1968) is used to monitor the development of the athlete's
aerobic endurance and to obtain an estimate of their VO2 max.
To undertake this test you will require:
- 400 metre track
How to conduct the test
This test requires the athlete to run as far as possible in 12 minutes.
- The athlete warms up for 10 minutes
- The assistant gives the command “GO”, starts the stopwatch and the athlete commences the test
- The assistant keeps the athlete informed of the remaining time at the end of each lap (400m)
- The assistant blows the whistle when the 12 minutes has elapsed and records the distance the athlete covered to the nearest 10 metres
Normative data for the Cooper Test
For an assessment of your VO2 max score see the VO2 max page.
Analysis of the test result is by comparing it with the athlete's previous results for this test. It is expected that, with appropriate training between each test, the analysis would indicate an improvement in the athlete's VO2 max, anaerobic and aerobic thresholds.
This test is suitable for endurance athletes and players of
endurance sports (e.g. football, rugby) but not for individuals where the test
would be contraindicated.
Test reliability refers to the degree to which a test is consistent and stable in measuring what it is intended to measure. Reliability will depend upon how strict the test is conducted and the individual's level of motivation to perform the test. The following link provides a variety of factors that may influence the results and therefore the test reliability.
Test validity refers to the degree to which the test actually measures what it claims to measure and the extent to which inferences, conclusions, and decisions made on the basis of test scores are appropriate and meaningful. This test provides a means to monitor the effect of training on the athlete's physical development. There are published VO2 max tables and the correlation to
actual VO2 max is high. For an assessment of your Vo2 max see the VO2 max normative data tables.
- Minimal equipment required
- Simple to set up and conduct
- More than one athlete can conduct the test at the same time
- The test can be administered by the athlete
- Specific facilities required - 400m track
- Assistant required to administer the test
COOPER, K.H. (1968) A means of assessing maximal oxygen intake. JAMA.
203, p. 135-138
- GRANT, S. et al. (1995) A comparison of methods of predicting maximum oxygen uptake. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 29 (3), p. 147-152
- ZWIREN, L. D. et al. (1991) Estimation of VO2max: a comparative analysis of five exercise tests. Research quarterly for exercise and sport, 62 (1), p. 73-78
The reference for this page is:
- MACKENZIE, B. (1997) Cooper VO2 max Test [WWW] Available from: http://www.brianmac.co.uk/gentest.htm [Accessed
The following Sports Coach pages should be read in conjunction with this page: