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Exercise Bike Fitness Test

Vic Denwood provides an overview of how to monitor your fitness level (VO2 max) on an exercise bike.

Congratulations! You have an exercise bike. It is easy to see how much weight it helps you lose by use of the bathroom scales, but you will also wish to know your gain in fitness. This is not quite so easy because thge fitness level is based upon your Maximum Volume of Oxygen taken up whilst exercising (VO2 max). However, Astrand (1954)[2]came up with a simple solution that relates your Pulse Rate and the Work Output in watts you are generating, to a VO2 max index, and thus to a tabular evaluation of your fitness.

Test Process

  1. Use your bike as normal for 5 minutes to warm-up at 60 rpm
  2. Adjust the loading until your pulse is at least 130
  3. Cycle for 6 minutes at that load, and then note your Pulse Rate and the Work Load in Watts
  4. Stop cycling, or carry on finishing your session if you wish
  5. Carry out your normal cool down

Results Evaluation

The Nomogram diagram below is used to evaluate your results.  It has pulse rate readings for Male and Female, and workload readings for Male and Female.

Decide which sex you are then:

  1. Locate your pulse rate on the left-hand line
  2. Locate your work load on the right-hand line
  3. See where a line between your two points intersects the middle line – that is your VO2 max index

An example line, in red, has been drawn, for a 55-year-old male with a pulse rate of 130 and a workload of 100 watts.  His resulting VO2 max index is 40.

A larger PDF copy of the Nonogram diagram below is available at this link - Astrand-Ryhming Nomogram[2]

Astrand

VO2Max Index Tables

Two tables are provided below, one for Female results, the other for Male results.  Choose the row appropriate to your age and see where your index number appears.  The column title will tell you your overall level of fitness. For our example, a 55-year-old male with a VO2 max of 40 gives a fitness rating of “Good”

Normative data (Heywood 2006)[1] for Female (values in ml/kg/min)

Age Poor Fair Good Excellent Superior
20 - 29 <36 36 - 39 40 - 43 44 - 49 >49
30 - 39 <34 34 - 36 37 - 40 41 - 45 >45
40 - 49 <32 32 - 34 35 - 38 39 - 44 >44
50 - 59 <25 25 - 28 29 - 30 31 - 34 >34
60 - 69 <26 26 - 28 29 - 31 32 - 35 >35
70 - 79 <24 24 - 26 27 - 29 30 - 35 >35

Normative data (Heywood 2006)[1] for Male (values in ml/kg/min)

Age Poor Fair Good Excellent Superior
20 - 29 <42 42 - 45 46 - 50 51 - 55 >55
30 - 39 <41 41 - 43 44 - 47 48 - 53 >53
40 - 49 <38 38 - 41 42 - 45 46 - 52 >52
50 - 59 <35 35 - 37 38 - 42 43 - 49 >49
60 - 69 <31 31 - 34 35 - 38 39 - 45 >45
70 - 79 <28 28 - 30 31 - 35 36 - 41 >41


References

  1. HEYWOOD, V. (2006) The Physical Fitness Specialist Manual, The Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research, Dallas TX, revised 2005. In: HEYWOOD, V (2006) Advanced Fitness Assessment and Exercise Prescription, Fifth Edition, Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
  2. ASTRAND, P.O. and RYHMING, I. (1954) A nomogram for calculation of aerobic capacity (physical fitness) from pulse rate during submaximal work. J Appl Physiol, 7, p. 218-221.

Page Reference

If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is:

  • DENWOOD, V. (2014) Exercise Bike Fitness Test [WWW] Available from: https://www.brianmac.co.uk/articles/article170.htm [Accessed

About the Author

Vic Denwood is a retired RAF Engineer and IBM Business Analyst.  This is his first article and his nomogram scores are:  Age 68, Pulse 126, Workload 125 watts

Related Pages

The following Sports Coach pages provide additional information on this topic: