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The Rockport Walk Test & Calculator: Calculate Your V02 Max

Test your VO2 max with ease by following our measuring instructions and using our calculator to process the results. You can also calculate it yourself and compare your results to others.

All our fitness and training resources are rigorously vetted by our expert team and adhere to our Exercise Advice Guidelines.

The Rockport WalkTest, also called the Rockport 1 mile walk test or the Rockport fitness walking test, is a self-administered, submaximal VO2 max test that can help you estimate your V02 max simply by walking 1 mile as fast as possible.

In this Rockport Walk Test guide, we will discuss what the test is, its benefits, how to perform it, and how to calculate VO2 max using it.

A stopwatch.

What Is the Rockport Walk Test?

Your aerobic capacity. is measured by VO2 max, which refers to maximum oxygen uptake or oxygen consumption.

VO2 max is considered to be the gold standard measurement of cardiorespiratory fitness or aerobic fitness.1Habibi, E., Dehghan, H., Moghiseh, M., & Hasanzadeh, A. (2014). Study of the relationship between the aerobic capacity (VO2 max) and the rating of perceived exertion based on the measurement of heart beat in the metal industries Esfahan. Journal of Education and Health Promotion3(55), 55. https://doi.org/10.4103/2277-9531.134751

VO2 max denotes the maximum amount of oxygen (in milliliters of volume) that your body is able to use per minute per kilogram of body weight while running or performing some other form of vigorous cardio exercise.

The Rockport Walk Test for VO2 max, also called the Rockport 1-mile walking test, was developed by exercise physiologists and cardiologists at the Department of Exercise Science at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1986 and has since become one of the most popular submaximal VO2 max tests.2Rockport Walking Test. (n.d.). https://sites.uni.edu/dolgener/Advanced_exercise_physiologyy/Electronic%20Articles/Rockport%20Walking%20Test.pdf

A submaximal VO2 max test like the Rockport WalkTest predicts your maximum aerobic capacity based on heart rate and the time it takes you to walk 1 mile at an even pace; jogging is not allowed. 

The test has been validated on subjects between the ages of 30 and 69.

A person walking fast on treadmill.

What Are the Advantages of the Rockport Walk Test for VO2 Max?

There are several benefits of the Rockport Walking Test as a VO2 max test protocol.

Rockport Walking Test Advantages

  • Unlike other VO2 max tests which may require access to an exercise physiology lab, the Rockport test can be performed on a track or a treadmill, making it cheaper and more accessible.
  • Some VO2 max tests, for example, the VO2 bike test or step test, require the participant to exercise intensely. This makes the Rockport test more accessible, as it only exercise testing required is walking which most people are comfortable doing.
  • The Rockport walk VO2 test has been validated by numerous research studies and adjusted for different population groups over time, so the ability to predict VO2 max from the Rockport Walk Test is relatively high compared to some other submaximal VO2 max estimation tests.
  • Very little equipment is needed.
  • The Rockport Walk VO2 max protocol is very straightforward and doesn’t take very long to perform.
  • Knowing your VO2 max from the Rockport Walk Test can help you understand your current cardiovascular fitness level and health risk.
  • Because the Rockport Walk Test is a submaximal VO2 max calculation protocol, it is safer for those with contraindications to maximal exercise or high-impact VO2 max running tests like the 1.5-mile run.3Tests For Predicting VO 2max Maximal Tests. (n.d.). https://sites.uni.edu/dolgener/Fitness_Assessment/CV_Fitness_Tests.pdf
  • The Rockport Walk Test accuracy is on par with the Air Force 1.5-mile running test for assessing cardiovascular fitness while being less strenuous on the cardiovascular system and musculoskeletal system, making it a safer alternative for those who are elderly, overweight, dealing with arthritis or a contraindication to high impact running, or who may have poor fitness or heart conditions that make running or physical activity unsafe or unappealing.4Weiglein, L., Herrick, J., Kirk, S., & Kirk, E. P. (2011). The 1-Mile Walk Test is a Valid Predictor of VO2maxand is a Reliable Alternative Fitness Test to the 1.5-Mile Run in U.S. Air Force Males. Military Medicine176(6), 669–673. https://doi.org/10.7205/milmed-d-10-00444
A person performing the Rockport walk test on a track.

How Do You Perform the Rockport Walk Test for VO2 Max?

Performing the Rockport Walk Test to calculate your VO2 max is quite straightforward and requires basic equipment.

Here is the equipment necessary for the Rockport WalkTest:

  • A good pair of walking shoes and comfortable clothing
  • A stopwatch
  • A flat one-mile (1.6 km) track or a treadmill
  • An accurate scale that measures your body weight in pounds
  • Optional: a heart rate monitor; otherwise, you can take your pulse rate manually using your fingers and the stopwatch that you have
A person walking on a treadmill.

Below are the steps for how to do the Rockport Walking Test to calculate your own VO2 max.

The key to improving the Rockport VO2 max Walking Test accuracy in terms of how closely this VO2 max estimation protocol predicts your actual VO2 max is by taking the heart rate immediately after finishing the mile without waiting more than a couple of seconds at most.

Instructions

  1. Make sure that you have good walking shoes and comfortable clothing on.
  2. Weigh yourself and record your body weight in pounds.
  3. Find a flat course where you can walk 1 mile. Ideally, a running track that is 400m is the best option. This is the standard distance you will find at your local high school or university track. You will need to walk four laps for 1 mile. Alternatively, you can walk on the treadmill, but you should set the incline to 1% to negate the benefits of having the motorized belt pull you along. Otherwise, you can measure out a flat road course that is 1 mile long.
  4. Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes with easy walking to loosen up.
  5. When you are ready, get to your start line, start your stopwatch, and immediately begin walking as fast as you can. Try to walk as fast as possible at an even pace, but no jogging is allowed. You must remain walking the entire time.
  6. Complete all four laps of the track without stopping or the entire mile course that you have mapped out.
  7. As soon as the mile is complete, stop your stopwatch.
  8. Take your heart rate immediately. If you are using a heart rate monitor, look at the heart rate monitor for 10 to 15 seconds and take the average of the heart rate readings. If you do not have a heart rate monitor, immediately begin taking your pulse either by placing your fingers on your carotid artery on the right side of your neck near the front, or your radial pulse on the inside of your wrist just before your hand. Count the number of heartbeats that you feel in 15 seconds using your stopwatch, and then multiply that number by four to get your heart rate in beats per minute. For example, if you count 30 heartbeats in 15 seconds while palpating your pulse, your heart rate will be 120 bpm (30 x 4).
  9. Walk at an easy pace for 5 minutes to cool down or until your heart rate is back down to resting levels and you feel comfortable.
  10. Hydrate with water.
A person speed walking.

Rockport VO2 Max Calculator

To calculate your VO2 max using the Rockport formula, simply enter your info and the values recorded from your test into the calculator below and hit the calculate button.

How Do You Calculate VO2 Max From the Rockport One-Mile Walk Test?

Keep reading if you want to know how the above calculator works or if you want to do the calculations yourself.

Once you have completed the Rockport Walking Test protocol, convert your walking time from minutes and seconds to a decimal. For example, if it took you 13 minutes and 45 seconds to complete your Rockport Walking Test, your Rockport walking time would become 13.75.

Rockport Walk Test VO2 max calculations are then done by using the following formula for women:

  • Females: VO2max (ml/kg/min) = 132.853 – (0.0769 x weight in pounds) - (0.3877 x age) -  (3.2649 x mile walk time) -  (0.1565 x ending heart rate)

And the following formula for men:

  • Males: VO2max (ml/kg/min) = 132.853 – (0.0769 x weight in pounds) - (0.3877 x age) + 6.315 -  (3.2649 x mile walk time) -  (0.1565 x ending heart rate)

Based on research, there is a correction factor for individuals between 18-24 years old: You subtract 6 ml/kg/min from the value obtained from the regular VO2 max equation above.

Accuracy of Prediction: This equation has an R= 0.88.

Two people walking on a road.

VO2 Max Percentiles: How Does Your VO2 Max Result Compare To Others?

There are various VO2 max charts to interpret your Rockport Walking Test results.

Below, we provide VO2 max percentiles by age and sex, adapted from the Fitness Registry and the Importance of Exercise.

VO2 max percentiles allow you to more quantitatively compare your VO2 max to age- and sex-matched peers. 

For example, if you are a 44-year-old male with a VO2 max of 45 mL/kg/min, you’re in about the 75th percentile for your age. This means that your VO2 max is higher than about 75 percent of men your age.

A person walking on an indoor track.

VO2 Max Percentiles for Men

Age Group5th Percentile10th Percentile25th Percentile50th Percentile75th Percentile90th Percentile95th Percentile
20-292932.140.14855.261.866.3
30-3927.230.235.942.449.256.559.8
40-4924.226.831.937.84552.155.6
50-5920.922.827.132.639.745.650.7
60-6917.419.823.728.234.540.343
70-7916.317.120.424.430.436.639.7
A person walking fast.

VO2 Max Percentiles for Women

Age Group5th Percentile10th Percentile25th Percentile50th Percentile75th Percentile90th Percentile95th Percentile
20-2921.723.930.537.644.751.356
30-391920.925.330.236.141.445.8
40-491718.822.126.732.438.441.7
50-591617.319.923.427.63235.9
60-6913.414.617.22023.82729.4
70-7913.113.§15.618.320.823.124.1

There are many physical fitness and health benefits to improving your VO2 max. To learn more about how to improve your VO2 max, check out our article here.

A person speedwalking on a track.

References

  • 1
    Habibi, E., Dehghan, H., Moghiseh, M., & Hasanzadeh, A. (2014). Study of the relationship between the aerobic capacity (VO2 max) and the rating of perceived exertion based on the measurement of heart beat in the metal industries Esfahan. Journal of Education and Health Promotion3(55), 55. https://doi.org/10.4103/2277-9531.134751
  • 2
    Rockport Walking Test. (n.d.). https://sites.uni.edu/dolgener/Advanced_exercise_physiologyy/Electronic%20Articles/Rockport%20Walking%20Test.pdf
  • 3
    Tests For Predicting VO 2max Maximal Tests. (n.d.). https://sites.uni.edu/dolgener/Fitness_Assessment/CV_Fitness_Tests.pdf
  • 4
    Weiglein, L., Herrick, J., Kirk, S., & Kirk, E. P. (2011). The 1-Mile Walk Test is a Valid Predictor of VO2maxand is a Reliable Alternative Fitness Test to the 1.5-Mile Run in U.S. Air Force Males. Military Medicine176(6), 669–673. https://doi.org/10.7205/milmed-d-10-00444
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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