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Balke Treadmill Test


To determine what your peak VO2 max is a Balke Treadmill test is beneficial to perform.

In the comfort of your home or local gym, this test helps you measure the amount of oxygen your body needs to have in order to successfully perform aerobic activity, and consequently helps you chart the improvements your training program has resulted in.

What is the point?

The purpose of this assessment is to measure your VO2 max, which can be defined as the maximum amount of oxygen your body is able to use while performing aerobic activity as well as the effectiveness of your cardiovascular training program. People with higher VO2 max scores will be able to exercise at a higher intensity without becoming as fatigued.

The point of the Balke Treadmill test is to help measure how much oxygen your body needs to perform aerobic tasks, and consequently how fit you are.

What do you need?

  • A treadmill
  • a clock or stopwatch
  • An electrocardiograph if available
How do you do the test?

One of the nice things about the Balke treadmill test is that you have the option of walking the entire time whereas many other assessments will have you start running if you progress far enough. You can use running for this one as well but there are different varieties available for those who do not wish to do so.

  • One way of completing the test is to first set the speed at 3.3 mph with a gradient of 0%. After one minute has elapsed you will increase the gradient to 2% and then by 1% after each successive minute after that.
  • A slightly different version has be put out for females and that is to start at 3.0 mph and then increase the gradient by 2.5% every three minutes. This will be a slightly easier version since you will not be walking at such a high speed.

What results you'll get :

The results of the performance are assessed by how long the participant was able to last. Usually one is able to go for 9-15 minutes, as it's the general fitness standard that has been set.

If you want to compute your VO2 max from the protocol then place your total time into the formula below.

Men: 1.444 (Time) + 14.99
Women: 1.38 (Time) + 5.22

This will give you a good indication on how well your body is able to perform in intense ongoing physical activity. Do note that there can be various factors that can influence your performance such as what foods you have consumed in the few days prior to the assessment and your current state of rest (if you have already performed a few hard workouts in the last few days this may negatively impact performance).

What is being measured again?

These test measures the amount of oxygen your body needs to perform aerobic activity and consequently your level of fitness.




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