VO2 Max Step Test
Measuring Respiration Rate

Taking the heart’s pulse recovery rate after a standardized bout of stepping is a practical and effective way to classify people in terms of aerobic fitness. With the use of "prediction equations" applied to step-test results, the VO2 max (Volume of oxygen in ml one can consume per Kg of body tissue per min.) can also be estimated with a reasonable degree of accuracy. In general, we can assume that the lower the heart rate response to a standard workout, the higher the VO2 max and the higher the level of aerobic fitness (ability of the body to efficiently consume oxygen). The formulas for figuring VO2 max are different for men than women. The following formulas apply according to gender:

  • MEN: max VO2 = 111.33 - (.42 * step-test pulse rate, beats / min)
  • WOMEN: max VO2 = 65.81 - (0.1847 * step-test pulse rate, beats / min)

The higher the VO2 max number the better one is able to use oxygen and be more aerobically fit.

PROCEDURE:

  1. While sitting quietly for at least 5 minutes, take your resting pulse rate in beats / min. Do it for 15 seconds and then multiply times 4.
  2. Warm up by stepping up on the steps and practicing the cadence for at least 30 seconds. The cadence should be "up-up-down-down" 22 steps per minute which would be to the beat of a metronome at 88 beats per minute. For men, the step should be taken at 24 steps per minute at 96 beats per minute.
  3. When instructed to do so begin stepping to the cadence continuously for 3 solid minutes.
  4. Immediately stop, remain standing, find your pulse within 5 seconds of completion of the 3 minutes. Take your pulse for 15 seconds starting your count at 0 beats. Multiply your count times 4 to get the number of beats / min.
  5. Take your pulse again 30 seconds after exercise completion, 60 seconds, 90 seconds, 120 seconds, 150, 180, 210, 240, 270, 300 record each result quickly in the data table.
  6. Enter your heart rate taken right after completion of exercise into the appropriate max VO2 formula to calculate yours.

DATA TABLE:

Min. before & after exercise
Pulse for 15 seconds * 4 =
Pulse for 60 seconds
resting pulse
after 3 min step test
<use this for VO2 calc
30 seconds after
60 seconds after
90 seconds after
120 seconds after
150 seconds after
180 seconds after
210 seconds after
240 seconds after
270 seconds after
300 seconds after

Calculated VO2 MAX:____________ Performance Rating:___________________

 Performance Rating Tables:

 

Fitness Rating

15 to 29

30 to 39

40 to 49

50 to 59

over 60

 

Excellent

> 54

> 50

> 46

> 44

> 40

M

Good

53-45

49-43

45-40

43-38

39-35

E

Average

44-40

42-35

39-33

37-31

34-29

N

Fair

39-33

34-27

32-25

30-22

28-21

 

Poor

< 33

< 27

< 25

< 22

< 21

W

Excellent

> 50

> 46

> 42

> 42

--

O

Good

48-44

45-41

41-37

41-37

--

M

Average

43-35

40-34

36-30

36-30

--

E

Fair

34-29

33-28

29-24

29-24

--

N

Poor

< 29

< 28

< 24

< 24

--

 

 

 

GRAPH OF YOUR HEARTíS RESPONSE TO EXERCISE

200
190
B
180
E
170
A
160
T
150
S
140
130
P
120
E
120
R
110
100
M
90
I
80
N
70
U
60
T
50
E
40
30
20
10
0
resting
after
30
sec
60
sec
90
sec
120
sec
150
sec
180
sec
210
sec
240
sec
270
sec
300
sec
T I M E IN S E C.

1)  What factors do you think affect your VO2 Max?

2)  If you were to attempt to increase your VO2 Max rating, what would you do?

3)  A cross-country skier named Bjorn Daehlie had the highest measured VO2 Max ever recorded at 90 ml/kg/min.  Lance Armstrong came in at an 84. Make a hypothesis about what might be different in Bjorn and Lance's muscle cells and organelles that causes them to be so high (please include the terms mitochondria, circulatory system, and respiratory system efficiency in your hypothesis).