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The PWC-170 Cycle Test

The PWC-170 Cycle Test


One way to measure your aerobic fitness level is to do the PWC-170 cycle test.

The name of this assessment stands for your physical work capacity and the number represents the estimated working capacity at this heart rate level (measured in beats per minute).

What is the point?

The point of the PWC-170 Cycle test is to chart the speed of improvement that your body is able to achieve through doing regular   cardiovascular exercise. An aerobic test such as this will work by charting the body’s ability to continually use oxygen over an   extended period of time, while also dealing better with any byproducts that may start to build up and great fatigue. You will then have a better idea as to whether your training program is working.

The point of the PWC-170 Cycle test is to help measure how successful your training regime is in improving your cardiovascular performance.

What do you need?

  • a bike ergometer

  • a clock or stopwatch

  • a heart rate monitor

How do you do the test?

  • Check to make sure the seat on the bike is at a comfortable level where the knee will be slightly bent when you are in the bottom of the position.

  • Place the heart rate monitor on your body and then begin biking for about three to four minutes until steady heart rate is achieved at 100-115 beats per minute.

  • Bump up the intensity until you are at about 115-130 beats per minute and then finally once again until you are at 130-145 beats per minute.

  • Record each of your workloads that you achieved during each target heart rate and then extrapolate these results to predict where you would be at the heart rate required for the assessment.

  • As you progress through your cardiovascular training, compare this to future results to see if your aerobic capacity is increasing.

What results you’ll get :

Generally aerobic capacity can increase after a month or so of good training so performing such a test every few months should help you discover a favourable trend with your performance level.

What is being measured again?

These tests measure your endurance levels and the length of time your body takes to recover from cardiovascular activity.

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