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Treadmill VO2 max 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 bear in mind the factors that may influence the results.


To monitor the development of the athlete's general endurance (VO2 max).

Required Resources

To conduct this test, you will require:

  • Treadmill where speed and grade of the slope can be adjusted
  • Stopwatch
  • Assistant


How to conduct the test

This test requires the athlete to run on a treadmill, which at one-minute intervals has its slope increased, for as long as possible.


  • The assistance sets the treadmill to a speed of 11.3 km/hour (7.02 miles/hr) and a slope of 0°



  • The assistant gives the command "GO", starts the stopwatch and the athlete commences the test


  • The assistant, at one-minute intervals, adjusts the treadmill slope as per the table opposite


  • The assistant stops the stopwatch when the athlete is unable to continue (ideally between 9 and 15 minutes)
Time (mins) Slope
5 10°
6 11°
7 12°
8 13°
9 14°
10 15°
11 16°
12 17°
13 18°
14 19°
15 20°

Converting from Percent Grade to Degrees

To determine the angle of elevation of a 15% grade you find the inverse tangent (Arctan) of 15 ÷ 100 (0.15), which is 8.5°.

If the slope is 10°, you determine the tangent of that angle, which is 0.176, x 100 to give a 17.6% grade.

Enter a value, select the parameter (degrees or percent) and then select the "Calculate" button.

Convert = =


From the total running time, an estimate of the athlete's VO2 max can be calculated as follows:

  • VO2 max = 42 + (Time × 2)

"Time" is the total time of the test expressed in minutes and fractions of a minute.


The athlete stopped the test after 13 minutes 15 seconds of running (13.25 minutes).

  • VO2 max = 42 + (13.25 × 2)
  • Vo2 max = 68.5 mls/kg/min

VO2 max Calculator

For an estimate of your VO2 max enter the duration of the run and then select the 'Calculate' button.

Time minutes VO2 max mls/kg/min

For an analysis 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.

Target Group

This test is suitable for endurance athletes and players of endurance sports (e.g. football, rugby) who are capable of running at a steady pace of 7 miles per hour (11 km/hour) or faster 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 measures what it claims to measure and the extent to which inferences, conclusions, and decisions made based on test scores are appropriate and meaningful. This test provides a means to monitor the effect of training on the athlete's physical development. For an assessment of 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

Free Calculator

Related References

The following references provide additional information on this topic:

  • JONES, A. M. and DOUST, J. H. (1996) A 1% treadmill grade most accurately reflects the energetic cost of outdoor running. Journal of sports sciences, 14 (4), p. 321-327

Page Reference

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

  • MACKENZIE, B. (2002) Treadmill VO2 max Test [WWW] Available from: [Accessed

Related Pages

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