The Bruce treadmill test is used as a way to determine an athletes VO2 Max aerobic capacity or in layman’s terms the body’s ability to deliver and use oxygen when under the stress of exercise.
The test aims to evaluate the endurance fitness level of a person – a key component of athletic performence. Athletes are aiming to achieve as high a test score as possible.
The test is also used by many medical practitioners to determine cardiac related medical issues.
The protocol test was devised in 1963 by Dr Robert A. Bruce, a professor at Washington University. Bruce is also known as the “father of exercise cardiology“.
Requirements for the Test:
- A treadmill
- A heart rate monitor which should be worn across the chest
- A stopwatch
- An instructor to record the results and change the treadmill settings
A Summary of the Bruce Treadmill Test
The protocol is used to test an athletes endurance or someone with cardiac related issues.
The entire test is conducted on the treadmill.
Caution needs to be applied when taking the test. As a stress test, it assumes that participants have reasonable levels of fitness before taking the test. The test should not be performed if an athlete is injured in any way.
The person being tested will walk on the treadmill until they can no longer continue due to discomfort or exhaustion. The test should of course be stopped at anytime should the athlete indicate any medical or pain related issues.
Every 3 minutes the speed and the slope of the treadmill is increased. The increases are outlined in the table below:
The test will commence at stage 1 which is walking speed for the athlete. The gradient of the treadmill is set to 10 %. This stage will continue for 3 minutes before it is increased to stage 2.
The person taking the test will progress through the stages until they can no longer continue.
The Formula Used to Determine VO2 Max For Men is :
VO2 max = 14.8 – (1.379 x T) + (0.451 x T²) – (0.012 x T³)
The Formula Used to Determine VO2 Max For Wommen is :
VO2 max = 4.38 x T – 3.9 where T = Total time on the treadmill measured as a fraction of a minute (ie: A test time of 7 minutes 0 seconds would be written as T=7.0).
Bruce Protocol Scores for Men
Bruce Protocol Scores for Women