The Cooper 12-minute walk/run test is a popular maximal test of aerobic fitness, in which participants try and cover as much distance as they can in 12 minutes. There are several other variations of running/walking tests, including the Cooper 1.5 mile run test, and also a swimming version.
purpose: to test aerobic fitness (the ability of the body to use oxygen to power it while running)
pre-test: Explain the test procedures to the subject. Perform screening of health risks and obtain informed consent. Prepare forms and record basic information such as age, height, body weight, gender, test conditions. See more details of pre-test procedures.
procedure: Place markers at set intervals around the track to aid in measuring the completed distance. Participants run for 12 minutes, and the total distance covered is recorded. Walking is allowed, though the participants must be encouraged to push themselves as hard as they can to maximize the distance covered.
scoring: There are Cooper test norm tables for general guidelines for interpreting the results of this test for adults. There is an equations that can be used to estimate VO2max (in ml/kg/min) from the distance score (there's a formula for either kms or miles). The formula are derived from the original article by Cooper (1968).
VO2max = (35.971 x distance in miles) - 11.288
VO2max = (22.351 x distance in kilometers) - 11.288
target population: This test can be modified to be suitable for most populations. For those who are unfit or unable to run, there are similar walking tests that can be performed.
validity: Cooper (1968) reported a correlation of 0.90 between VO2max and the distance covered in a 12 min walk/run.
reliability: the reliability of this test would depend on practice, pacing strategies and motivation level. There should be good reliability if these issues are addressed.
advantages: large groups can be tested at once, and it is a very cheap and simple test to perform.
disadvantages: Practice and pacing are required, and performance on this test can be affected greatly by motivation.
comments: the world record for 5000m is held by Kenenisa Bekele in 12:37.35. Based on that time, he would complete 4752m or 11.88 laps in 12 min.
variations / modifications: The test can also be conducted by running on a treadmill for 12 minutes, set to level 1 (1 percent) incline to mimic outdoor running. There are also many variations of the walk / run test. A very similar test is the Balke 15 minute run. Testing is generally easier to administer when the distance is fixed and the finishing time measured, so the alternative Cooper 1.5 mile (2.4km) run test was developed. See also the 12-minute swimming and cycling versions.
- Cooper, K. H. (1968) A means of assessing maximal oxygen uptake. Journal of the American Medical Association 203:201-204.
- Cooper 2.4 km run test — run 2.4km as fast as you can.
- Swim 12-minute test — swim for maximum distance in 12 minutes.
- Cycle 12-minute test — cycle for maximum distance in 12 minutes.
- Lucas 12 — a new fitness test based on the Cooper 12-minute Test.
- Wheelchair 12-minute Aerobic Test — participants wheel around a track for 12 minutes, and the total distance covered is recorded
- Review of the 12-minute run iphone app
- Cooper test norms
- About Kenneth Cooper
- General Walk / Run test
Commenting is closed on this page, though you can read some previous comments below which may answer some of your questions.
- Ron (2013)
As I recall Cooper studied Air Force officers, not a representative population
- Samuel Hart Ron (2016)
To be fair, yes, Cooper did study Air Force Officers, in the 1960s, and while that is not a representative population (especially today), the numbers used are normalized so that the result is a predictor of VO2 Max (90% correlation), not of average run times for the population. Based on that you *can* apply the ranges to a general population. There are outliers, the same can be said for any predictor or application of statistics.
- Kyle Ryder (2019)
hey im ginger what warm up would you suggest to carry out before this test ???? - see warm-ups for fitness testing
- Aaditya (2015)
can anyone tell me for which component is this test
- Muse (2014)
hello does anyone know how to relate heart rate to watts??
- Lloyd (2014)
I am at a lost as to how body weight figures into these calculations. The formula does not seem to cater to varying body weight, since the only variable is the distance traveled.
- Kevin Lloyd (2014)
Lloyd, since VO2Max is dependent to bodyweight (it is ml of oxygen consumed, divide by kg of body weight, per minute), there is no need to normalize bodyweight in the test. If the test were given different scores based on bodyweight, it would not be a true reflection of VO2Max. This is one of the drawbacks of using VO2Max as a metric, in that a high-weight individual who is in excellent cardiovascular shape may be under-scored. If desired, it is possible to take the weight component out of a VO2Max score by using the simple formula, : Tested VO2Max / Actual Body Weight = Projected VO2Max / Projected Body Weight. So for example I, let's say I weigh 200 lbs and have a VO2Max of 50 per the Cooper test. I want to see how my fitness would compare to a 150 lb person. I would simply do: 50 / 200 = X / 150 and solve for X. Which gives me 66.67 in this case.
- Robert Ford (2013)
When I was in grade 9 i did the 12 min test in 1.90 miles i was in great shape, I am now 52 years old and i did the 12 min test on a treadmill in 1.94 miles. How is that possible?
- Cmit Robert Ford (2014)
treadmill is easier to keep going at a constant speed on
- Ganesh (2013)
how to use that VO2max equation formula for kilometers? VO2max = (22.351 x kilometers) - 11.288. any body give an example....
- Rob Admin Ganesh (2013)
simply replace the word kilometers in the formula with the distance run in 12 minutes (in the units kilometers). If you run 2 km, then VO2max = (22.351 x 2) - 11.288 = 33.4 ml/kg/min
- Rob Admin Ganesh (2013)
- John Rob (2015)
Why is it reported in relative terms since body mass hasn't been imputed into the equation.
- Jemma james (2013)
the NS rating table is for adult males only, where can i find one that is for adult women?
- Rob Admin jemma james (2013)
I have added some more norms, for men and women.
- I heard that the cooper 12 minute run is no longer in date anymore and has been replaced by the ruther 7 minute sprint. This consists of having to run a distance of 5 km at a constant speed and then every 7 minutes you have to sprint for 30 seconds. You then measure the distance covered each time till the end and produce a score.
- Well I'm probably about as fit a dialysis patient as you can get - and I did just under 2000m. One website seemed to think this was "Poor" - and then here it is only "Average". Then I did another test which was how quickly can you walk a mile linked to heart rate and I was "Excellent"! Take these tests with a pinch of salt (from Jonathan, Sept 2012)
- I'm 58 and cover 2200m in 12 minutes and also have to believe that my fitness level is not average. It seems like the tables are for runners and not the general public. (from Fred Robson, July 2012)
- I have to disagree with the above post, that the numbers are for runners. It is for everyone and of course the runners, are not average! Actually, to even the thread is wrong. To be pretty good (to take the excellent) is to make <3km! (from Michail, 27 Aug 2012)
- I am 57 years old and just did 1.29 miles for the 12 minute run, which comes to just under 47th percentile. I find it very hard to believe that 53% of men my age can do better than that. Who is in the universe of individuals being tested? Is there any other explanation that would help me understand this? (from Peter, Feb 2012)
- My guess is Peter that when this test was developed 1967 the only people running were serious runners. The average marathon time is 40 minutes slower than it was 30 years ago. (from joe christian, May 2012)