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Astrand 6-minute Cycle Test

Testing and measurement are the means of collecting information upon which subsequent performance evaluations and decisions are made. In the analysis, we need to consider the factors influencing the results.

Astrand P.O. devised the Astrand 6-minute Cycle Test in 1956.



The objective of this test is to monitor the athlete's VO2 max.

Required Resources

To conduct this test, you will require:

  • Cycle ergometer
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Weighing Scales
  • Stopwatch
  • Assistant
Cycle Ergometer

How to conduct the test

  • The assistant weighs and records the athlete's weight
  • The athlete warms up for 10 minutes
  • The assistant sets the initial cycle work rate kg-m/min (kilogram-force meter/minute) as follows:
    • Male under 35 – 125
    • Male 35-55 – 115
    • Male over 55 – 85
    • Female under 35 – 115
    • Female 35-55 – 85
    • Female over 55 – 60

    1 watt is equal to 3600 J/hr, or 6.1183 kg-m/min

  • This setting should raise the athlete's heart rate to 130-160bpm after 2 minutes of cycling at 60rpm
  • The assistant gives the command “GO” and starts the stopwatch
  • The athlete pedals at 60rpm for 6 minutes whilst maintaining their heart rate between 130-160bpm
  • The assistant records the athlete's heart rate each minute
  • After 2 minutes - if the athlete's heart rate is not in the target range of 130-160bpm, then the assistant adjusts the work rate wattage accordingly
  • The assistant stops the test after 6 minutes and records the final work rate wattage

Convert rpm to km/hr

Enter the wheel "Diameter" (centimetres), "rpm" and then select the 'Calculate' button.

Wheel Diameter cm   rpm     km/hr=

Convert speed to watts

If you are using a stationary bike with no power setting, it is possible to estimate the wattage based on your speed (>16km/hr). Enter your speed and then select the 'Calculate' button.

Speed     watts


I have been unable to locate any normative data for this test.

The following calculator utilises a series of polynomial equations based on the Astrand-Rhyming Nomogram (Astrand 1954)[1]

For the calculator, the work rate range is: Male 450-900 & Female 300-750 kg-m/min and the pulse rate range is: 130-160 bpm.

To obtain an estimate of your VO2 (L) and VO2 max (ml/kg/min), please enter your, gender, weight, pulse rate and work rate (kg-m/min) and then select the 'Calculate' button.

Gender   Weight
Pulse Rate bpm   Work Rate kg-m/min
Estimated VO2 L   Estimated VO2 max ml/kg/min

If the estimated values are 0.00, then the values you entered are outside the specified ranges, and you will need to use the Astrand-Rhyming Nomogram (PDF copy) to obtain your estimates.

Astrand Graph

For an analysis of your VO2 max score, see the VO2 max page.


The test result is analysed by comparing it with the athlete's previous results for this test. It is expected that the analysis would indicate an improvement in the athlete's VO2 max with appropriate training between each test.

Target Group

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 a consistent and stable test 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 various factors influencing the results and therefore, the test reliability.


Test validity refers to the degree to which the test measures what it claims to measure and the extent to which inferences, conclusions, and decisions based on test scores are appropriate and meaningful. This test provides a means to monitor training on the athlete's physical development. There are published VO2 max tables, and the correlation to the actual VO2 max is high. For assessing your VO2 max, see the VO2 max normative data tables.


  • Minimal equipment required
  • Simple to set up and conduct


  • Specialist equipment required
  • Assistant required to administer the test


  1. 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:

  • MACKENZIE, B. (2007) Astrand 6-minute Cycle Test [WWW] Available from: [Accessed