Health and Safety Using the Cooper Test 12-Minute Run to Check Aerobic Fitness By Elizabeth Quinn Updated November 20, 2018 Pin Flip Email Print Corey Jenkins/Getty Images More in Fitness Health and Safety Beginners Motivation Sports Nutrition Fitness Trends Running Strength Walking Workouts Cardio Flexibility and Stretching Yoga Pilates Fitness Tools and Equipment View All The 12-minute run fitness test was developed by Dr. Ken Cooper in 1968 as an easy way to measure aerobic fitness and provide an estimate of VO2 max for military personnel. The Cooper test, as it's also known, is still used today as a field test for determining aerobic fitness. Dr. Cooper found that there is a very high correlation between the distance someone can run (or walk) in 12 minutes and their VO2 max value, which measures the efficiency with which someone can use oxygen while exercising. This test is still one of the basic fitness tests used by the military. It is also used by many coaches and trainers to determine cardiovascular fitness and track fitness over time. This simple test also allows you to compare your cardiovascular endurance with others of your age and gender. What Is Cardiovascular Endurance? In sports, cardiovascular endurance refers to an athlete's ability to sustain prolonged exercise for minutes, hours, or even days. Endurance testing is a way to measure the efficiency of an athlete's circulatory system and respiratory system in supplying oxygen to the working muscles and support sustained physical activity. Endurance generally refers to aerobic endurance. Aerobic exercise requires oxygen to help supply the energy needed for exercise. The objective of endurance training, then, is to develop and improve the body systems that produce and deliver the energy needed to meet the demands of prolonged activity. How to Perform the 12-Minute Run Test The Cooper 12-minute run test requires the person being tested to run or walk as far as possible in a 12 minute period. The objective of the test is to measure the maximum distance covered by the individual during the 12 minute period and is usually carried out on a running track by placing cones at various distances to enable measuring of the distance. A stopwatch is required for ensuring that the individual runs for the correct amount of time. Safety First. This is a strenuous fitness test and it's recommended that you have your physician's clearance before performing this test on your own.Equipment. You'll need a timer to know when 12 minutes are up. Note that some running watches and fitness monitors have a 12-minute fitness test mode.Location. This test is designed to be conducted on a track with clearly marked distance. You can perform the test on a treadmill, but be sure to raise the incline to one degree to simulate outdoor running.Warm Up. Perform a short warmup for 10 to 15 minutes before performing any fitness testing.Run or Walk. When you are warmed up, get going. Run or walk as far as you can in 12 minutes.Record Your Distance. Record the total number of miles or kilometers you traveled in 12 minutes. Calculate Your 12-Minute Run Test Results To calculate your estimated VO2 Max results (in ml/kg/min) use either of these formulas: In Miles: VO2max = (35.97 x miles) - 11.29.In Kilometers: VO2max = (22.351 x kilometers) - 11.288 The easiest way to get your test results (your VO2 max score) and compare yourself with others of your age and gender is with an online 12-minute test results calculator. After you complete the test, you can compare your results to the norms and recommendations for your age and gender. 12-Minute Run Fitness Test Results Instead of using the calculation and getting your VO2 max, you can use the distance you achieved to find how you rate. Age Excellent Above Average Average Below Average Poor Male 20-29 over 2800 meters 2400-2800 meters 2200-2399 meters 1600-2199 meters under 1600 meters Females 20-29 over 2700 meters 2200-2700 meters 1800-2199 meters 1500-1799 meters under 1500 meters Males 30-39 over 2700 meters 2300-2700 meters 1900-2299 meters 1500-1999 meters under 1500 meters Females 30-39 over 2500 meters 2000-2500 meters 1700-1999 meters 1400-1699 meters under 1400 meters Males 40-49 over 2500 meters 2100-2500 meters 1700-2099 meters 1400-1699 meters under 1400 meters Females 40-49 over 2300 meters 1900-2300 meters 1500-1899 meters 1200-1499 meters under 1200 meters Males 50 over 2400 meters 2000-2400 meters 1600-1999 meters 1300-1599 meters under 1300 meters Females 50 over 2200 meters 1700-2200 meters 1400-1699 meters 1100-1399 meters under 1100 meters Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Get exercise tips to make your workouts less work and more fun. Email Address Sign Up There was an error. Please try again. Thank you, , for signing up. What are your concerns? Other Inaccurate Hard to Understand Submit Article Sources Cooper KH. A Means of Assessing Maximal Oxygen Uptake. Journal of the American Medical Association, 1968. 203:201-204. Mayorga-Vega D, Bocanegra-Parrilla R, Ornelas M, Viciana J. Criterion-Related Validity of the Distance- and Time-Based Walk/Run Field Tests for Estimating Cardiorespiratory Fitness: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Fraidenraich D, ed. PLoS ONE. 2016;11(3):e0151671. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0151671. Continue Reading List How to Check Your Fitness Levels at Home Before a Workout Routine Article The Value of VO2 Max Testing in Athletes Article Estimating VO2 Max in Athletes Using the Bruce Treadmill Test Article Try This Test to Measure Upper Body Strength Article How's Your Cardiovascular Fitness? 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