Cooper test, what does it consist of

It is very likely that you have heard of the famous Cooper test on numerous occasions, or even that you still remember him from Physical Education classes when it was time to assess physical condition.

Today we will tell you a little more about this test so that you can apply it to the evaluation of your performance.

Where he was born and what does it consist of

The Cooper Test has a military origin, It was Colonel Kenneth H. Cooper who devised it as a way to evaluate the aerobic performance of his soldiers in 1968.

The simplicity of its execution, the scarce material necessary for the development and the possibility of doing it in a massive way (several athletes at the same time), are the strengths that define this test.

You only need flat terrain and a stopwatch, since the Cooper Test consists of covering the greatest possible distance on flat terrain in 12 minutes.

What is the Cooper test?

The Cooper Test is a resistance test that consists of go as far as possible on flat ground in 12 minutes and at a steady pace.

What is it for?

This type of performance test is used to indirectly calculate the VO2max by means of a formula, which assesses the aerobic capacity of athletes.

Cooper Test Table

Kenneth H. Cooper devised a series of score scales or tables that indicate the individual's fitness level.

These tables were adapted according to age and sex, which led to a rapid extension in the use of the test in different areas (education, training, military, competitive examinations, etc.). Here we show you:


Age Less than 30 years In 30 to 39 years In 40 to 49 years 50 years the poor
Very bad Less than 1.600 meters Less than 1.500 meters Less than 1.400 meters Less than 1.300 meters
Bad From 1.600 to 2.199 meters From 1.500 to 1.899 meters From 1.400 to 1.699 meters From 1.300 to 1.599 meters
Regular From 2.200 to 2.399 meters From 1.900 to 2.299 meters From 1.700 to 2.099 meters From 1.600 to 1.999 meters
Good From 2.400 to 2.800 meters From 2.300 to 2.700 meters From 2.100 to 2.500 meters From 2.000 to 2.400 meters
Very good More than 2.800 meters More than 2.700 meters More than 2.500 meters More than 2.400 meters

Brigade women

Age Less than 30 years In 30 to 39 years In 40 to 49 years 50 years the poor
Very bad Less than 1.500 meters Less than 1.400 meters Less than 1.200 meters Less than 1.100 meters
Bad From 1.500 to 1.799 meters From 1.400 to 1.699 meters From 1.200 to 1.499 meters From 1.100 to 1.399 meters
Regular From 1.800 to 2.199 meters From 1.700 to 1.999 meters From 1.500 to 1.899 meters From 1.400 to 1.699 meters
Good From 2.200 to 2.700 meters From 2.000 to 2.500 meters From 1.900 to 2.300 meters From 1.700 to 2.200 meters
Very good More than 2.700 meters More than 2.500 meters More than 2.300 meters More than .2200 meters

The Cooper Test in children and adolescents

Carrying out this type of test in children, whose body continues to form, is not indicated to correctly apply the formula and achieve the VO2max value.

Anyway, it is a test that is used a lot in education and in physical education subjects for minors to assess the improvement and progress in student performance.

The Cooper Test formula

In addition, he devised a formula to estimate from indirectly the Maximum Oxygen Consumption (VO2max), one of the most frequently used indicators to assess the aerobic capacity of athletes that can only be measured directly with spirometry and stress testing.

The formula to estimate the VO2max used in the test would be the following:

VO2max = (22 x Km traveled) - 11

Cooper test example

For example, a 28-year-old woman who covers 2.300m in the 12 minutes will have a good physical condition and her estimated VO2max in the test will be:

VO2max = (22 x 2,3) -11 = 39,6 ml / kg / min

The result will have to be multiplied by the body weight to obtain the ml (L) of oxygen that our athlete consumes per minute.

How to do the Cooper test?

Before getting down to work, we recommend that you follow these guidelines for its completion:

  • Carry out a proper warm-up and adapted to the effort to be made later (Ex: joint mobility, smooth running, progressive short series without reaching the stop, etc.)
  • Make sure you are in the minimum level of physical condition to do it. Since it is a maximum effort test, we must take several months of training prior to its execution.
  • Do it on flat ground and stable where we can measure the distance, either on the ground (eg athletics track) or with a GPS watch.
  • Avoid running on days of fatigue, load or when body conditions may influence the result (eg: allergy, menstruation, catarrhal processes, etc.).
  • End with a cool down to normalize breathing and heart rate once the test is completed.

Now you know a little more about the Cooper Test and you can use it in the evaluation of your physical condition, but do not lose sight of our considerations and follow the planning of qualified trainers to improve in a healthy way.

Cooper's test, what it consists of ,img_5f2a72f4b7f53
Laura Garcia Cervantes.
Dra. Science of Physical Activity and Sport

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