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8. 8. 2012.

Cooper VO2max test

The objective of the Cooper test is to predict an athlete’s VO2max.

Required resources

To undertake this test you will require:
  • 400 metre track – marked every 50m
  • Stop watch
  • Assistant

How to conduct the test

The test comprises of seeing how far an athlete can run/walk in 12 minutes. The assistant should record the total distance covered.

Performance assessment

Based on the distance covered an estimate of the athlete’s VO2max can be calculated as follows:
VO2max = (Distance covered in metres – 504.9) / 44.73

The athlete, a male soccer player, completes a total distance of 3500m in the 12 minutes.
VO2max = (3500 – 504.9) / 44.73 = 66, 96 ml/kg/min


Analysis of the result is by comparing it with the results of previous tests. It is expected that, with appropriate training between each test, the analysis would indicate an improvement.

The result from the Cooper test can be used to:
  • Predict future performance
  • Indicate weakness
  • Measure improvement
  • Enable the coach to assess the success of his training programme
  • Place the athlete in appropriate training group
  • Motivate the athlete

Ideal VO2max scores for various sports

> 75 ml/kg/min
Endurance runners and cyclists
65 ml/kg/min
60-65 ml/kg/min
55 ml/kg/min
50 ml/kg/min
50 ml/kg/min

Target group

This test is suitable for endurance athletes and players of endurance sports(soccer, rugby…), but not for individuals where the test would be contraindicated.


The following factors may have an impact on the test result:
  • The ambient temperature, noise level and humidity
  • The amount of sleep the athlete had prior to testing
  • The athlete’s emotional state
  • Medication the athlete may be taking
  • The time of day
  • The athlete’s caffeine intake
  • The time since the athlete’s last meal
  • The test environment – surface(track, grass, road, gym)
  • The athlete’s prior test knowledge/experience
  • Accuracy of measurements(times, distances etc)
  • Is the athlete actually applying maximum effort in maximal tests
  • Inappropriate warm-up
  • People present
  • The personality, knowledge and skill of the tester
  • Athlete’s level of motivation to give 100% effort.


There are published VO2max tables on the top of the thread, and the correlation to actual  VO2max is high.

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