Validation of the Garmin Forerunner 920XT VO2max Estimation and the Polar RS300X Fitness Test


  • Gina Leigh Kraft Arkansas Tech University, USA
  • Maddie Arkansas Tech University, USA



aerobic capacity, fitness watch, metabolic cart


Several fitness watches have developed tests to estimate VO2max to provide important data and save money by reducing the need for a metabolic cart. Some watches provide results based on heart rate (HR) while others combine HR data with global positioning satellite (GPS) data. The purpose of this study was to validate VO2max from the fitness test on a Garmin Forerunner 920XT (HR and GPS-based) and a Polar RS300X (HR-based) fitness watch against a maximal graded exercise test (GXT) using a metabolic cart.

10 male and 7 female college students (age = 21.5 ± 2.9 years) participated in this study. Session 1 consisted of completing the Informed Consent, PAR-Q, and Garmin fitness test. Session 2 comprised the Polar fitness test and a maximal Bruce treadmill test using the metabolic cart. Maximal performance during the Bruce test was validated by obtaining age-predicted HRmax. Data were analyzed using one-way ANOVA with a significance level of p < 0.05. Secondary analysis was conducted using Pearson correlations.

VO2max from the Garmin, Polar, and metabolic cart tests were 47.82 (± 9.60), 45.53 (± 5.42), and 45.63 (± 8.84) ml/kg/min, respectively. ANOVA tests revealed no significant differences between any of the tests (p = 0.6 between the Garmin and the metabolic cart; p = 0.3 between the Polar and the metabolic cart). Pearson correlations revealed that the Garmin test was highly correlated with r = 0.83 (p < 0.001) while the Polar test was strongly correlated (r = 0.65, p < 0.001).

The findings indicate that Garmin and Polar fitness tests may serve as an adequate substitute for testing using a metabolic cart. The Garmin test may be a more appropriate choice as the correlation was stronger and the Polar test tended to overestimate VO2max.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Gina Leigh Kraft, Arkansas Tech University, USA

Dept. of Health and Physical Education

Maddie, Arkansas Tech University, USA

Dept. of Health and Physical Education


[1] Bassett, D. R. & Howley, E.T., “Limiting factors for maximum oxygen uptake and determinants of endurance performance,” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 2000, 32(1), 70-84.

[2] Brooks, G. A., Fahey, T. D. & Baldwin, K. M., Basics of metabolism. In Exercise physiology: Human bioenergetics and its application 4th ed., McGraw-Hill, New York, 2005, pp. 43-58.

[3] Cooper, S., Baker, J. S., Tong, R. J., Roberts, E., & Hanford, M., The repeatability and criterion related validity of the 20 m multistage fitness test as a predictor of maximal oxygen uptake in active young men. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 2005, 39(4), E19-26.

[4] Cronk, B. C., Prediction and association. In How to use SPSS: A step-by-step guide to analysis and interpretation 10th ed., Routledge, New York, 2018, pp. 50-64.

[5] De Alkmim Moreira Nunes, R., De Castro, J. P., De Lima E Silva, L., Da Silva, J. B., De Godoy, E. S., Lima, V. P., & De Souza Vale, R. G., Estimation of specific VO2max for elderly in cycle ergometer. Journal Of Human Sport & Exercise, 2017, 12(4), 1199-1207.

[6] Drenowatz, C., & Eisenmann, J., Validation of the SenseWear armband at high intensity exercise. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 2011, 111(5), 883-887.
[7] Esco, M. R., Mugu, E. M., Williford, H. N., McHugh, A. N., & Bloomquist, B. E., Cross-validation of the Polar Fitness TestTM via the polar F11 heart rate monitor in predicting VO.sub.2] max. Journal of Exercise Physiology Online, 2011, 14(5), 31-37.

[8] Hill, A., Long, C., & Lupton, H., Muscular exercise, lactic acid and the supply and utilisation of oxygen. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Containing Papers of a Biological Character, 1924, 97(682), 155-176.

[9] Ibrahim Aminu, A., & Nuhu Jibril, M., A step test for estimating maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) in male secondary school students. International Journal Of Sports Sciences & Fitness, 2015, 5(1), 42-51.
[10] ISEEKA, Vo2max accuracy [Web log post]. 2013, December 10, Retrieved from
[11] Keteyian, S. J., Brawner, C. A., Savage, P. D., Ehrman, J. K., Schairer, J., Divine, G., Ades, P. A.. Peak aerobic capacity predicts prognosis in patients with coronary heart disease. The American Heart Journal, 2008, 156(2), 292-300.
[12] Mandsager, K., Harb, S., Cremer, P., Phelan, D., Nissen, S. E., & Jaber, W., Association of cardiorespiratory fitness with long-term mortality among adults undergoing exercise treadmill testing. JAMA Network Open, 2018, 1(16), e183605.
[13] McArdle, W.D., Katch, F. L. and Katch, V. L., Exercise physiology: Nutrition, energy, and human performance (8th ed.). Wolters Kluwer Health, Philadelphia, 2015 pp. 177-225.

[14] Myers, J., Prakash, M., Froelicher, V., Do, D., Partington, S., & Atwood, J., Exercise capacity and mortality among men referred for exercise testing. New England Journal Of Medicine, 2002, 436(11), 793-801.

[15] National Strength & Conditioning Association. In Miller T. (Ed.), NSCA's guide to tests and assessments. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2012 pp. 1-13.
[16] Neiman, D. C., Cardiorespiratory fitness. In Exercise testing and prescription: A health-related approach (7th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2011 pp. 42-86.
[17] Nelson, M. B., Kaminsky, L. A., Dickin, D. C., & Montoye, A. H. K., Validity of consumer-based physical activity monitors for specific activity types. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 2016, 48(8), 1619–1628.
[18] Romero-Fallas, O., Soto-Arias, M., & Moncada-Jimenez, J., Maximal oxygen consumption in college students is reliable following four consecutive trials. Journal Of Physical Education & Sport, 2012, 12(4), 476-481.
[19] Roos, L., Taube, W., Beeler, N., & Wyss, T., Validity of sports watches when estimating energy expenditure during running. BMC Sports Science, Medicine & Rehabilitation, 2017, 9(1), 1–8.
[20] Salesguy., VO2 Max Estimate from Garmin 520 – good correlation [Web log post]. 2016, January 8, Retrieved from _Garmin_520_-_good_correlation_P5823259/




How to Cite

Kraft, G. L., & Dow, M. (2019). Validation of the Garmin Forerunner 920XT VO2max Estimation and the Polar RS300X Fitness Test. International Journal for Innovation Education and Research, 7(9), 22–28.