Determining Your VO₂ Max – No Special Equipment Required!
What is the Rockport Walk Test?
The Rockport Walk Test (RWT) is a one-mile walk scientifically formulated to predict maximal oxygen uptake, referred to as VO₂ max.
Who developed the Rockport Walk Test and where was it developed?
In the mid-1980s, Greg M. Kline, Robert Hintermeister, John P. Porcari, Patty S. Freedson, Robert F. Mccarron, Ann Ward, Jessica Ross, and James M. Rippe developed the Rockport walk test. They were cardiologists and scientists from the Department of Exercise Science at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
The study included 309 participants between the ages of 30 and 69. Each participant took a minimum of two 1-mile walk tests.
In 1987, the American College of Sports Medicine published the results in the article: “Estimation of VO2max from a one-mile track walk, gender, age, and body weight.”
What does the Rockport Walk Test Assess?
The Rockport Walk Test estimates your maximum oxygen uptake, giving you insight into your overall cardiovascular health.
What is the easiest test for determining your VO₂ Max?
The Rockport Walk Test is by far the easiest way to determine your VO₂ Max without straining your body to the nth degree. The Astrand Treadmill Test is another form of testing your VO₂ Max while on a treadmill. This test starts off with a 10-minute warmup (all the tests have a warm-up) and then the treadmill is increased at an incline of 2.5% every two minutes until you are unable to go on. Basically taking you to the point of failure.
This is the beauty of the Rockport Walk Test in that all walking-capable individuals, regardless of age, can perform the Brockport walk test in about 20 – 30 minutes at much less strenuous exercise intensities. No running is required and discouraged for the test.
What equipment do I need to perform the Rockport Walk test?
What variables are used for the Rockport Walk Test?
The Rockport walk test uses the following variables:
- Heart rate (beats per minute, or BPM)
- The total time it took you to walk the mile (minutes and seconds)
What is the formula/equation to compute the walk test VO2Max?
The formula used to calculate your VO2 max is as follows:
VO2 max = 132.853 – (0.0769 x your weight in pounds) – (0.3877 x your age) + (0 for females and 6.315 for males) – (3.2649 x length of time it took you to walk the mile) – (0.1565 x heart rate immediately upon finishing the mile walk)
VO2 Max Example Result
While it may seem complicated, you can break it down to make it easier to compute. For instance, if you are a 40-year-old woman who weighs 140 pounds and finished the mile walk in 12 minutes, 15 seconds with a heart rate of 155 bpm upon completion, you would calculate your VO2 max as follows:
- Age 40
- Gender: Woman
- Weight: 140 pounds
- Time: 12:15
- Heart Rate: 155 bpm
132.853 – (0.0769 x 140 pounds) = 122.087
122.087 – (0.3877 x 40 years of age) = 106.579
106.579 + (0 for a female) = 106.579
106.579 – (3.2649 x 12 minutes) = 67.4002
67.4002 – (0.1565 x 155 bpm) = 43.1427
Her VO2 max is 43.1 ml/kg/min (typically you round to one decimal place) based on this calculation. Her VO2 Max is classified as Excellent for her age and gender.
Another option is to use an online calculator. There is no math involved – you just plug in the numbers and you will see your VO2 max estimate.
Calculate your own VO2 Max with the following calculator
VO2 Max Calculator
VO2 Max Results
How long does the Rockport walk test take to perform?
The Rockport walk test requires that you walk one mile as fast as you are physically able.
The test is often used for older individuals and those that live more of a sedentary lifestyle.
Results will vary from person to person. Some individuals can finish the test and well under 30 minutes well it takes others longer.
Tips for your Rockport Walk Test
Are you taking the Rockport walk test? We have compiled a list of helpful tips so that you can figure out your VO2 max in no time.
1) Be prepared. Wear good walking shoes. Have your stopwatch and heart rate monitor. You can wear a tracking device so that you know when you have gone a mile, or you can use a track. Four laps are typically one mile. You can walk on the inside or outside of the track
2) Begin by warming up for 5 to 10 minutes by walking slowly.
3) Once you are ready to go, start your stopwatch. You want to walk as fast as you can for the entire mile. Try to keep a steady pace, and avoid jogging or running.
4) Once you have reached a mile, make sure to stop your stopwatch. Record the time in decimals and take your heart rate immediately (within 10 seconds).
Tip: If you do not have a heart rate monitor, you can take your own pulse. You simply count your heartbeats for 15 seconds and then multiply that by four. You can practice before you go to ensure you get the best results.
Are there any limitations or drawbacks to the results of the test?
Many factors can affect the VO2 max outcome. These factors can include things such as gender, age, altitude, athletic ability.
Everyone’s cardiovascular system operates slightly differently, which can affect the results of the test.
Is the Rockport walk test used by the military?
Yes. The United States Air Force has used the Rockport walk test during physical assessments. Other branches of the military have also conducted the test when evaluating personnel.
Does NASM support the Rockport walk test?
The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) supports the Rockport Walk Test as a cardiovascular assessment. NASM includes the Rockport walk testing its curriculum.
My VO₂ Max Test Results
VO₂ Max Test 1 Results
My first test results were off because I was holding my camera in my right hand and couldn’t get my full walking gait to an optimal level. This made me score just an average result for my gender/age group. I knew my VO₂ Max was much higher than this score so I tested again:
VO₂ Max Test 2 Results
My second test result put me at an excellent result.
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