Cooper's Formula VO2 Max Calculator

Cooper's 12 Minute Distance Equation for VO2 Max

Cooper VO2 Max Calculator
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VO₂ max is the maximal oxygen consumption or maximum aerobic capacity of an individual, it is the number of liters of oxygen one's body can transport per minute during incremental exercise (exercise that increase in intensity over time.) VO₂ max is a measure of physical fitness since people who are in better shape can use and transport more oxygen throughout their bodies during intense exercise. Besides L/min, VO₂ max may also be measured in milliliters of oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minute, or mL/kg/min.

A person's true VO₂ max can be measured in a clinical setting using treadmill and a device that records the O₂ and CO₂ concentrations in the air that is inhaled and exhaled. The maximal level is achieved when the body's consumption of oxygen holds steady even as the intensity of the exercise increases.

Since most people can't determine their VO₂ max level in an exercise lab, there are approximation formulas. Dr. Kenneth Cooper developed the 12-minute running test in the 1960s while working for the Air Force. The Cooper Test estimates your VO₂ max from the distance run in 12 minutes. The formula has the advantage of being very simple to implement. It is programmed into the calculator and explained below.

Cooper's Equation for VO2 Max

Cooper's VO₂ max estimation formula depends solely on the distance covered during 12 minutes of sustained running. Here, distance is measured in meters and VO₂ max is measured in mL/kg/min. The formula is

VO₂ Max = (D - 504.9)/44.73,

where D is the distance run (in meters) during 12 minutes. Because it only takes one variable into account, and because it was tested on a non-representative sample of the human population, it may not always provide the best estimate, however, it is a useful metric when used in conjunction with other VO₂ formulas and other physical fitness metrics.

Example: Sara warms up for 5 minutes and then times herself for 12 minutes while running. At the end of 12 minutes she has run 1.75 miles (7 laps around a track). Since 1.75 miles = 2816 meters, she can estimate her VO₂ by computing

VO₂ Max = (2816 - 504.9)/44.73 = 51.67 mL/kg/min.

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