European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 91, Issue 1, pp 111–115 | Cite as

Estimation ofO2max from the ratio between HRmax and HRrest – the Heart Rate Ratio Method

  • Niels UthEmail author
  • Henrik Sørensen
  • Kristian Overgaard
  • Preben K. Pedersen
Short Communication


The effects of ṫ̇raining and/or ageing upon maximal oxygen uptake (O2max) and heart rate values at rest (HRrest) and maximal exercise (HRmax), respectively, suggest a relationship betweenO2max and the HRmax-to-HRrest ratio which may be of use for indirect testing ofO2max. Fick principle calculations supplemented by literature data on maximum-to-rest ratios for stroke volume and the arterio-venous O2 difference suggest that the conversion factor between mass-specificO2max (ml·min−1·kg−1) and HRmax·HRrest−1 is ~15. In the study we experimentally examined this relationship and evaluated its potential for prediction ofO2max.O2max was measured in 46 well-trained men (age 21–51 years) during a treadmill protocol. A subgroup (n=10) demonstrated that the proportionality factor between HRmax·HRrest−1 and mass-specificO2max was 15.3 (0.7) ml·min−1·kg−1. Using this value,O2max in the remaining 36 individuals could be estimated with an SEE of 0.21 l·min−1 or 2.7 ml·min−1·kg−1 (~4.5%). This compares favourably with other common indirect tests. When replacing measured HRmax with an age-predicted one, SEE was 0.37 l·min−1 and 4.7 ml·min−1·kg−1 (~7.8%), which is still comparable with other indirect tests. We conclude that the HRmax-to-HRrest ratio may provide a tool for estimation ofO2max in well-trained men. The applicability of the test principle in relation to other groups will have to await direct validation.O2max can be estimated indirectly from the measured HRmax-to-HRrest ratio with an accuracy that compares favourably with that of other common indirect tests. The results also suggest that the test may be of use forO2max estimation based on resting measurements alone.


HRmax-to-HRrest ratio Maximal heart rate Maximal oxygen uptake Resting heart rate 



We are grateful to Dr. L. Bruce Gladden for constructive help in the preparation of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Niels Uth
    • 1
    Email author
  • Henrik Sørensen
    • 1
  • Kristian Overgaard
    • 1
  • Preben K. Pedersen
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Sport ScienceUniversity of AarhusAarhusDenmark
  2. 2.Institute of Sports Science and Clinical BiomechanicsUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdenseDenmark

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