Balke VO2max Test to Assessing General Endurance (VO2max)

Balke VO2max Test to Assessing General Endurance (VO2max)

The objective of Balke VO2max Test is to monitor the development of the athlete’s general endurance (VO2max).

Required resources
To undertake this test you will require:
  • 400m track
  • Stop watch
  • Assistant.
How to conduct the test
Balke VO2max Test 

The Balke test is conducted as follows:

  • Choose a windless day and run around a track for 15 minutes – the aim is to run as far as possible
  • The assistant notes the total distance achieved in the 15 minutes to the nearest 25 metres.


Analysis of the result is by comparing it with the results of previous tests. It is expected that, with appropriate training between each test, the analysis would indicate an improvement. The distance achieved can also be used to predict the athlete’s VO2max.

Performance assessment

The formula used to calculate VO2max (Obsession for Running by Frank Horwill)
  • VO2max = (((Total distance covered / 15) – 133) x 0.172) + 33.3
  • An athletes completes 5200 metres in 15 minutes
  • VO2max = (((5200/15)- 133) x 0.172) + 33.3
  • VO2max = 70 mls/kg/min.

Target group

This test is suitable for endurance athletes and players of endurance sports (eg football, rugby) but not for individuals where the test would be contraindicated.


Reliability would depend upon how strict the test is conducted and the individual’s level of motivation to perform the test.


There are published VO2max tables and the correlation to actual VO2max is high.

Mackenzie, Brian. 2005. 101 Perforamnce Evalution Test. Electric World Plc. London.

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