An exercise test is a diagnostic technique that examines the body’s reactions of adaptation to physical activity in laboratory conditions.

Exercise test results allow the patient’s fitness to be compared to the average with respect to age and sex as well as to one’s own results in case of repeated testing.


  • Evaluation of the general fitness level (also known as exercise tolerance, performance capability, aerobic capacity, aerobic power, endurance) as one of health condition indicators;
  • Investigation of complaints (suspected arrhythmia, chest pains, breathing problems, headaches, etc.);
  • Detection of latent cardiovascular diseases;
  • Identification of a beginner athlete’s initial capability;
  • Objective evaluation of training effectiveness;
  • Evaluation of the reserves and efficacy of treatment of patients with cardiovascular and respiratory problems.


Spordimeditsiini SA offers ECG exercise tests and cardiopulmonary exercise tests performed by a SEM doctor who is assisted by a nurse.

During the preparation for an exercise test, disposable electrodes are attached to the subject’s chest; for a cardiopulmonary test, a mask is put on their face, and all of the above is connected to the equipment.

Depending on the patient’s preferences, previously conducted exercise tests, the subject’s health condition and the type of sport they do, the test with incrementally increasing exercise load is performed either on a stationary exercise bicycle ergometer (VEM) or on a treadmill.

The doctor constantly monitors cardiovascular adaptation processes during exercise and recovery in a 12-lead ECG, records the heart rate (HR) at various levels of load during the test (in healthy patients, the HR is the same as pulse rate [PR], i.e., the pulse) and measures blood pressure (RR).

The exercise test is stopped upon achieving maximum results or in case the subject’s health condition indicators or general state worsen.

After the exercise test, the SEM doctor summarises the results of the health examination, which are used as the basis of the evaluation of the athlete’s performance capability indicators. The overview of the health examination and its results can be of use to the trainer preparing an individual workout plan.


Performance capability indicators during the exercise test

PWC170 (Physical Working Capacity) is calculated by a formula and shows physical exercise capacity at the heart rate of 170 beats per minute. The PWC170 indictor can also be used as a characteristic of cardiac economy.

MET (Metabolic Equivalent of Task) is calculated by a formula and shows the number of times by which the subject is able to increase oxygen consumption compared to resting consumption. The higher the MET, the better endurance, i.e., aerobic capability.

1MET = 3.5 ml O2 min/kg.

The METs measured on the basis of various records of tests on the VEM and treadmill vary.

VO2 max (peak) or peak oxygen uptake VO2 peak (ml min/kg) is the maximum amount of oxygen that the body is able to consume. Maximum oxygen consumption (peak oxygen uptake) characterises the body’s tolerance to prolonged effort. The higher maximum oxygen consumption, the better endurance, i.e., aerobic capacity.

Aerobic threshold (AeT): oxygen consumption (%O2) is the highest at the level of aerobic threshold, and this is when the initial ventilation increase takes place.

Exercise intensity below or at the level of aerobic threshold mainly develops basic endurance, and this is when fats are the primary source of energy. Training in the aerobic threshold zone improves the body’s capability of prolonged low-intensity work, expands the network of minor blood vessels (capillaries) and improves heart and muscle oxygenation.

Patients with good basic endurance generally have better health and better prospects of athletic development.

Anaerobic threshold (AnT): anaerobic threshold is characterised by a drop in oxygen consumption (%O2) and significant ventilation increase. Exercising in the anaerobic threshold zone trains the heart, affects aerobic metabolism, and increases maximum oxygen consumption (VO2 max). When exercise intensity is above the anaerobic threshold, lactate (lactic acid, the end product of carbohydrate metabolism), which causes muscle fatigue, starts accumulating in muscles.

Pulmonary ventilation is air movement through airways in and out of the lungs. Ventilation depends on the strength of respiratory muscles, lung elasticity and patency of airways.

Stationary exercise bicycle ergometer (VEM):

  • Maximum power W;
  • Load tolerance W/kg;
  • PWC170;
  • PWC170/kg;
  • METs;
  • Maximum oxygen consumption VO2 max;
  • Aerobic threshold;
  • Anaerobic threshold;
  • Pulmonary ventilation, etc.


  • Duration of the performance at standard load;
  • Max speed/angle;
  • PWC170;
  • PWC170/kg;
  • METs;
  • Maximum oxygen consumption VO2 max;
  • Aerobic threshold;
  • Anaerobic threshold;
  • Pulmonary ventilation, etc.


Dr Leena Annus

Dr Ants Kiviselg

Dr Muza Lepik

Dr Krista Lääne

Dr Pii Metsavas

Dr Katrin Raudsik

Dr Marge Šuman

Dr Meelis Vainu

Dr Virve Vask

Information and registration

By calling 699 6515 and 699 6545 or on site

at Tondi 84/3, 3rd floor of Audentes School, Tallinn

We will need your personal ID code for registration.

Proper preparation is very important for exercise tests. Please read more detailed information about the preparation for a health test examination for young athletes and adults’ health examination.


The exercise test is the main test of a health examination package for the purposes of sport and exercise medicine.

Health examination packages for young athletes are described here.

Adults’ health examination packages are described here.