How to Calculate VO2 & VCO2

Written by doug leenhouts
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How to Calculate VO2 & VCO2
VO2 max is a measure of your body's ability to process oxygen. (woman runner image by jimcox40 from

VO2 and VCO2 are measures of the body's ability to consume oxygen and produce carbon dioxide. These are mainly measured and calculated for endurance athletes, especially runners, who are interested in learning about well their bodies can perform. These values can be predicted based on a number of factors, including age, weight, gender, heart rate and the elapsed time it takes to run a flat mile. Otherwise, it can be measured at an athletic performance centre using a treadmill and a measuring apparatus.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Calculator
  • Scale
  • Stopwatch
  • Breath analyzer

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  1. 1

    Weigh yourself on the scale, in kilograms, before running a mile.

  2. 2

    Time how long it takes to run a mile. Convert this time to minutes in decimal form. For example, a 5:15 mile would be expressed as 5.25 minutes.

  3. 3

    Measure your heart rate, in beats per minute, as you cross the finish line.

  4. 4

    Multiply your weight by 0.1692, your age in years by 0.3877, your mile time by 3.2649, your heart rate by 0.1565, and your gender factor by 6.315. Your gender factor is 0 for female and 1 for male.

  5. 5

    Subtract each of these values from 132.853 to calculate your VO2 level in ml/kg/min. For example, a 27-year-old male who weighs 72.5kg and ran a mile in 5 minutes flat and had a heart rate of 190 beats per minute at the finish line would have a VO2 level of 132.853 - (0.169272.5) - (0.387727) - (3.26495) - (0.1565190) - (6.315*1) = 57.743ml/kg/min.

  6. 6

    Breathe into the breath analyzer when you finish the mile before you recover. It will measure your volume of air inhaled, volume of air exhaled, the amount of carbon dioxide in each volume, and will give you your VCO2 level.

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