The Balke Test
The Balke Test was designed by Bruno Balke as a way to estimate a runner’s VO2 max.
On a windless day, the athlete runs on an
athletics track for 15 minutes. The objective is to run as far as possible
in the time
this is achieved by running
broadly constant pace; though the runner may be advised to start hard and
finish up running as hard as possible.
If the athlete has a helper or coach, it is convenient for the coach to blow
a whistle every 5 minutes, to enable the athlete to keep track of progress,
and to count laps and note how far the athlete has reached at the end of the
The Balke test page on this website interprets the results using three different
The original formula proposed by Bruno Balke was:
VO2 = 6.5 + 5 x laps covered.
Since then, Frank Horwill has proposed the following formula:
VO2 = 0.172 x (metres/15 – 133) + 33.3
Finally, it is possible to use the formula relating VO2 max to distance and
speed proposed by Daniels and Gilbert to estimate VO2 max from the results
of the Balke Test:
VO2 Max=(-4.60 + 0.182258 * velocity + 0.000104 * velocity^2)/(0.8 + 0.1894393
* e^(-0.012778 * time) + 0.2989558 * e^(-0.1932605 * time)) [where velocity is
in metres per minute; and time in minutes]
I don’t know; and I would welcome the opinions of others.
The Daniels and Gilbert formula is used in other parts of the website; it
is therefore the preferred formula if you are going to use the VO2 max as the
basis of other calculations.