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Measure Your Fitness with the Cooper Test

April 27, 2022

The Cooper Test is an endurance test (not a workout) that consists of running the greatest possible distance in a 12-minute period at a constant speed on flat and even ground. During the test you can also get the partial times (of 3, 6 and 9 minutes) to know your rhythm.


With this simple test you can obtain a lot of information about your aerobic capacity, check if you are evolving with training, indirectly estimate your maximum oxygen consumption (VO2 max), adapt the loads of your training plans and more!


Origins of the Cooper test


We owe the origin of the Cooper Test to Kenneth H. Cooper, who presented it for the first time in 1968 in an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Cooper at that time was a colonel and a doctor in the United States Air Force. It occurred to him to create a test as simple and cheap as possible to evaluate his soldiers. He also designed tables with the approximate values or scales that would correlate with 90% of VO2 max.


What is VO2 max?


VO2 max (aka oxygen uptake) measures the maximum amount of oxygen the body utilizes during exercise. V stands for volume, O2 for oxygen, and max for maximum. This parameter can be obtained directly with a cardiopulmonary exercise test. Since not everyone has access to this equipment, tests like the Cooper Test that can provide us with similar information indirectly. Keep in mind that measuring something indirectly will likely cause greater variability in the results.


How to estimate the VO2 max with the Cooper test?


These are 3 ways of estimating the VO2 max:

  • VO2 max = (meters - 504.9) / 44.73
  • VO2 max = (22.351 x km) - 11.288
  • VO2 max = (35.97 x miles) - 11.288


Cooper test results table


In the Cooper Test table, different categories are distinguished: first, qualifying the physical conditions of the subject, and second, by age and sex.


Cooper test results table

You can also check out this calculator

For more information, talk to one of our Fitness Experts and get customized advice by submitting a request through our Mavyn app or Mavyn Fitness page.