Aerobic fitness tests are useful for determining your aerobic fitness level and for seeing your improvement after a period of aerobic exercise training. Sub-maximal exercise tests are those that do not require all-out effort and can be effective in estimating your maximal oxygen uptake. Aerobic fitness tests can be done on a treadmill, an exercise bike or on a track or other safe place to walk or run.
Regardless of the type of fitness test used, the American College of Sports Medicine, or ACSM, recommends that certain procedures be followed. It recommends obtaining your resting blood pressure and heart rate immediately before starting your exercise. It also suggests that you become familiar with the equipment used during the test and the testing procedures. A certified exercise specialist can help you determine which type of sub-maximal fitness test is right for you.
Rockport Walk Test
The Rockport Walk Test is a sub-maximal exercise test that can be done on a treadmill or on a track. It is used for people who are generally less fit and cannot run for very long. To do this test you simply walk for one mile at a pace that you can sustain for the entire distance. Immediately after you complete the mile, check your heart rate and note the time it took you to complete the distance. You can determine your aerobic fitness by entering your heart rate, time, age and weight into a specific formula.
BYU Jog Test
The BYU Jog Test is typically used for more fit people than the Rockport Walk Test. This test consists of jogging one mile at a steady pace after a two to three minute warm-up and then checking your heart rate upon completion of the distance. To make sure the test stays sub-maximal, your run time should not be less than eight minutes for men or less than nine minutes for women. After your test, you can estimate your fitness level by entering in your test results into the proper formula.
YMCA Cycle Test
The YMCA Cycle Test is a multi-stage sub-maximal test that can also help you estimate your aerobic fitness. This test should be administered by an exercise specialist as it requires specific equipment and procedures. You begin this test by pedaling at a specific work rate for three minutes. Your heart rate is checked at the end of the stage and the work rate is increased to a specific level after that, depending on your measured heart rate. By plotting your heart rate against the work rate of each stage on a graph, the test administrator can estimate your aerobic fitness level.