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Calorie based Astrand Test

Vic Denwood provides an overview of how to monitor your fitness level (VO2 max) on an exercise bike or rowing machine based on the calories you have burned during the test.

If your bike or exercise machine does not have a work-load readout in watts but provides a "calorie" reading, then this Calorie based test is for you.

Test Process

  1. Use your bike/rower as normal for 2 minutes to warm-up. At a Pedal Rate of 60 rpm.
  2. Adjust the loading until your pulse is at least 130 if possible.
  3. If you can reset your computer to zero the timer and calorie readouts without affecting your loading, then do so and start the test.
  4. If you cannot reset your computer because it controls your machine's loading, then when ready to start the test. Make a note of your start time and start calories.
  5. Exercise for EXACTLY 6 minutes at that load with a constant pedal/stroke rate, and then note your Pulse Rate and your end calorie count reading at the 6-minute point.
  6. Stop exercising or carry on to finish.
  7. Cool down in your usual manner.

Results Evaluation

The Nomogram below is used to evaluate your results. It has pulse rate readings and workload and equivalent calorie count readings (in red numbers) for Male and Female.

Decide which sex you are then:

  1. Locate your pulse rate on the left-hand line.
  2. Work out the calories you have burned. (End number – Start Number)
  3. Locate your workload on the right-hand line by calorie count.
  4. See where a line between your two points intersects the middle line – that is your VO2 max index.

An example line, in blue, has been drawn on the Nonogram diagram below for a 35-year-old female with a pulse rate of 136, who consumed 11 Calories in 6 minutes. Her resulting VO2 max index is 48.

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 at the bottom of the Nomogram, 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.

In our example given above our female 35-year-old with a VO2 max of 48 gains a fitness rating of "Superior"

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

Why 6 Minutes?

The original Astrand Bike test on which the Nomogram was used was for 6 minutes, so I saw no need to change it. The calorie count to workload equivalence (calories to watts) is a derived relationship and is totally dependent upon the duration of the exercise session.

For a 6-minute session there are 360 seconds so if you exercise at 100 watts, that produces 360 x 100 = 36,000 Joules. There are 4.184 Joules in a Calorie. I have rounded this to 4. So, 36,000 Joules divided by 4 = 9,000 calories or 9Kcal. Thus, for a 6-minute session, we have 100 watts equating to 9 calories.


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) Calorie based Astrand Test [WWW] Available from: https://www.brianmac.co.uk/articles/article171.htm [Accessed

About the Author

Vic Denwood is a retired RAF Engineer and IBM Business Analyst.

Related Pages

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