What's a Woman's Maximum VO2 Max Score?

Normal values and rankings for VO2 Max for Women

female runner on track
jupiterimages/DigitalVision/Getty Images

VO2 Max and Women

Many elite female athletes have higher VO2 max values than most men. But because of differences in body size, composition, blood volume and hemoglobin content, a woman's VO2 max is generally about 20% lower than a man's VO2 max.

What Your VO2 Max Score Means

Your VO2 max value is a good indication of your aerobic endurance potential, and it can be used to help monitor your training routine over time.

It is also a way to compare yourself to other athletes. VO2max is defined by the maximal oxygen uptake which is the amount of oxygen the body is capable of using up in 1 minute. It measures an athlete's capacity for athletic performance and predicts the potential for endurance.

How to Measure Your V02Max Score

Many consider VO2Max as the ultimate in determining your fitness level. While there are physical tests for VO2 Max, as of late, there is a fitness band, the Microsoft Band 2, that has added this feature. Before this, human performance labs would administer a treadmill or cycle ergometer test, complete with an oxygen mask to conduct the test. After the results of the exertion test are complete. The Fick equation is used to get an accurate VO2Max score. There are also formulas and equations that attempt to measure VO2Max outside of the clinical setting. The Cooper test is a formula that uses the distance achieved over 12 minutes of running to estimate VO2 max.

Additionally, the Uth–Sørensen–Overgaard–Pedersen estimation is used by dividing maximum heart rate by resting heart rate and multiplying the result by 15.3. 

These VO2 max values and norms from the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research are ranked from very poor to superior.

VO2 Max Norms for Women


Vivian H. Heyward, Advance Fitness Assessment & Exercise Prescription, 3rd Edition, The Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research, Dallas TX, 1998.

VO2 Max values for Women as measured in ml/kg/min
AgeVery PoorPoorFairGoodExcellentSuperior


Continue Reading