Self-Paced Exercise Test (SPXT) - Stationary Bikes/Rowers/Airbikes/Turbo-Trainers
Warm-up: Begin with a proper warm-up to prepare your body for the exercise.
For both men and women, start with a moderate workload or resistance level on the stationary bike,
rower, air bike, or trainer (technically you could substitute for any machine that measures in
watts, it's just that I've tested the formulas on these). Choose a level that allows you to cycle
comfortably while still feeling a moderate level of exertion. A suggested starting workload is in
the range of 50-100 watts, adjusted based on your fitness level. Your increments should coincide
with the perceived rate of exertion as per the Borg scale (see
chart), start the test at RPE (ratings of perceived exertion) 11 and incrementally increase
RPE to 13, 15, 17, and finally 20 for each stage.
The test consists of 5 stages, each lasting 2 minutes.
Gradually increase the workload or resistance level for each stage to increase the intensity of the
A common approach is to increase the workload by approximately 10-20% for each stage.
Adjust the increments based on your perceived exertion and ability to sustain the required
If it feels too challenging, reduce the increment size to 5-10% to ensure a more gradual
Throughout the test, monitor your heart rate, perceived exertion, and signs of fatigue or discomfort.
Pay attention to your body's responses and adjust the intensity if needed.
If you experience any unusual or concerning symptoms, stop the test and consult with a healthcare
Record the workload or resistance level (in watts) reached at the point of exhaustion. This is the
point in the last 2-minute block where you can no longer sustain the effort
Note down your age and gender for accurate VO2 max estimation.