Treadmill stress tests are used to help diagnose heart conditions. The test involves walking on a treadmill while your heart rate and blood pressure are monitored. Your doctor may recommend a treadmill stress test if you have symptoms of a heart condition, such as chest pain or shortness of breath. 

So How to pass a treadmill stress test? Keep reading to find out the answer.

What is a Heart Stress Test?

A heart stress test is when the doctor gradually stresses the heart at increasing speed and with an incline.

Then why do a stress test on the heart? What about a regular ECG/EKG instead? A normal EKG isn’t a workout. A technician will scan your chest while you lay on your back. You get up literally in a matter of minutes.

Exercise is a great way to stress your heart. Here are a few reasons why exercise is good for your heart.

While your heart may appear fine when it’s at rest, stress can cause you to miss important things that you might not have noticed if you were just lying down.

For a better understanding of real-life, click here. Heart attacks in “real life” are often caused by emotional or physical stress. It makes sense to test for the conditions that are actually found in the real world.

The Bruce Protocol: Treadmill Stress Test Speed And Incline

Bruce Protocol stress test

You can choose from one of the following tests, depending on your age or shape:

Test 1: Stress Test based on the Modified Bruce Protocol

These are the stages of the modified Bruce Protocol:

  • You will walk for 3 minutes at a speed of 1.7 miles an hour and with no incline.
  • The cardiologist will increase the speed to 2.5 miles an hour and adjust the slope to 5 degrees if all goes well.
  • Next, you will be moving at 3.4 miles an hour with a gradient of 10 degrees.
  • You will then reach a speed of 4.2 mph and an incline of 12 degrees.
  • You will then run at a speed of 5 miles an hour (at this point, you are running) and at an incline of 14 degrees.

Test 2: The Bruce Protocol

The cardiologist might skip stage 1 if you are younger or more fit. Instead, he will direct you into stage 2.

The “Bruce Protocol“, a historical trivia fact, is named after Robert Bruce, the first to devise the test.

If you are wondering how long a treadmill stress test takes, the answer is that there is no time limit. Your fitness level allows you to take the stress test. The treadmill stress test can take quite a while if you are in good physical condition. It will end quickly if you are not in good shape.

If you have ever done any treadmill workouts, you will notice the speed is not insane. They aren’t quite at breakneck speed. The incline is the real test of your fitness for the stress test. We have had clients who were extremely fit but did not pass the stress test in the past. Miserably. Why? They only run on flat surfaces or a slight incline.

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If you’re wondering how to fail stress tests, here are some tips. How do you pass a stress test successfully? You can train for it by using an incline.

The SAID principle guides exercise. It is “specific adaptations of imposed demands.” You’ll be able to lift weights and swim well. You’ll do well at yoga but not gymnastics if you are a yoga practitioner.

Do you want to learn how to pass the Bruce protocol treadmill stress testing? Use an inclined setting. One that is steep. Don’t do it! This negates the incline. It also makes you look stupid.

This is a gross oversimplification, as people have different starting points. Programs that prepare an already fit person to take a stress exam will have different results than programs that prepare an unfit person to take a stress exam. The amount of time required to prepare for the test will also impact how much you exercise.

Below are some principles. In the meantime, you can fill out this questionnaire to find out if your program is more specific and tailored to you.

How To Pass A Treadmill Stress Test

stress tests

Training for Treadmill stress test

Doing the stress test alone is the first step in preparing for it. Follow the instructions I have given earlier in this article to prepare for the stress test on your own. When you do it alone, you need to record and keep track of your heart rate each minute.

Either wear a heart rate monitor or hold on to the heart rate sensors of the treadmill. My preference is the heart rate monitor because it doesn’t take the treadmill 15 seconds to calculate your heart rate.

Once you have reached your theoretical maximum heart rate, the test is finished. What is your theoretical maximum heart rate? It is 220 times your age. If you are 60 years old, your theoretical maximum heart rate is 160 beats/minute. The test ends once you have reached that point.

You want to take note of the following things during your self-test.

Pre-exercise heart rate. What was your heart rate before you got on the treadmill?

It took you to reach your maximum heart rate.

Any point along with the test that the heart rate increased faster.

After the test is finished, your heart rate will drop for one minute. This is your “recovery rate”. The greater the drop, the more you will recover. This means you will recover quicker.

Just a warning: The Stress Test is called “The Stress Test” because it’s incredibly stressful.

  • It can cause stress to the heart.
  • This exercise is not recommended for anyone who isn’t a regular exerciser.
  • This test should not be performed if your doctor has not cleared you to exercise.
  • Do not go to the gym if you have high blood pressure or are sedentary.
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Proper Progression

Once you have data from your stress test, you can create your program. Are you ready? Are you excited? I’m excited!

Ask yourself this question: How much time will you need to prepare for the stress test?

  • If the time is less than 2 months, you can practice the test protocol 2-3 days per week.
  • If you don’t have the time, here’s a generic guide:
  • Warm-up for about 3-5 minutes at 3.0-4.0 mph.
  • For 2 minutes, walk at a speed of 3.5 and an incline of 5.0.
  • Walking at a speed of 3:5 and not inclining for 2 minutes is the best way to go.
  • Repeat steps 2 through 3 six more times.

Begin cooling down by walking at 3.5 mph for 5 minutes with no incline, followed by 2 minutes at 3.0 mph (no incline) and 2 more minutes at 2.5 mph (no incline) to cool down.

You can complete this workout if your maximum heart rate (the heart rate at which you are the highest during the workout) is not higher than 90%. If you’re over 60, your maximal heartbeat is 160. You can now move on to the next stage. This could take anywhere from 1-to 5 workouts.

Next, you will repeat the same exercise but with a 6.0 incline (same speed as 3.5 mph). Then, continue this process until your maximum heart rate isn’t above 90%. This can take anywhere from 1-to 5 workouts.

Then, increase the speed to 3.5 MPH and an incline of 6.0 for 3 minutes. It’s still 2 minutes if you walk without an incline.

Next, raise the incline from 7.0 to 8.0, 9.0 to 10.0, and 11.0 to 12.0.

After you have completed 3 minutes at a speed of 3.5 mph and an incline of 12.0, reduce the time without an incline.

Next, walk at 3.5 mph with an incline of 12.0 for 3 minutes. Then, it will be followed by 1 minute 50 seconds at 3.5mph with no incline. Once you can do this without your heart rate exceeding 90%, you will reduce the interval of no incline down to 1:40. Keep decreasing it until it reaches 0.

You can increase your speed once you reach that point. You’ve been walking at 3.5 miles per hour all along. Go up to 3.7 mph. You can now do this without your maximum heart rate exceeding 90%. Then, go up to 3.7 mph and keep going.

There is approximately 4-8 months’ worth of progress.

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Why Take A Stress Test?

A doctor can diagnose many heart conditions by using stress tests. These tests can help determine if a person is at risk of developing a heart condition and how they function under stress.

If a patient has symptoms that may indicate a severe heart condition, such as:

  • Trouble breathing
  • chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • A rapid or irregular heartbeat

If a person is suffering from stress, a doctor might recommend a stress test.

  • Is undergoing heart surgery
  • Is due for heart surgery
  • Are you thinking of starting a vigorous exercise routine?

Researchers presented a study at the American Thoracic Society conference in 2013 that showed that a stress test could also be used to identify individuals with obstructive sleeping apnea who are most likely to experience life-threatening complications.

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The stress test may reveal problems such as low blood flow through the coronary vessels if the heart beats harder when exercising. These issues might not be evident at other times.

Stress Tests During Pregnancy

Pregnant women should not be subject to specific stress tests.

Do not be afraid to exercise stress.

Most doctors will not recommend exercising stress tests during pregnancy because they fear the consequences. Because pregnancy places the cardiovascular system under extra pressure. Researchers have conducted stress tests as far as 38 weeks gestation.

A nuclear stress test should never be performed on pregnant women as it can cause harm to the developing fetus.

Scientists believe that some pregnancy complications can increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. These are:

  • Preeclampsia
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Hypertension, which is high blood pressure or hypertension
  • Intrauterine growth restriction

Doctors may use these methods to screen for potential cardiovascular risk.

  • Stress management
  • Isometric handgrip Test
  • Cold pressor

An exercise stress test can be beneficial during pregnancy. It can provide a valuable indicator of fitness and help to predict potential risks.

Cons include the fact that it can be stressful for pregnant women, the need to use a recumbent bike or other special equipment and the difficulty in determining how intense the exercise should be.

Further research is required to determine if an exercise stress test results are worth taking.

Stress Test Results Per Age

You might be wondering, “How well does someone my age score on the stress test?” It’s a wrong question because there aren’t age-related standards.

This test can only be ended if you reach 85% of your age-predicted maximal heart rate. The trial ends when your maximum heart rate reaches 85%. How do you calculate that? The most common formula is 220 divided by your age.

If you are 60 years old, 220 times your age equals 160 beats per minute, your maximum. The test is over when you hit 85% of 160, 136 beats/minute. If the tester notices you are struggling or when you tell him you are tired.

What Happens If A Stress Test Failed?

Skydiving is not for everyone, so don’t try it at first—a bad joke. Let’s get back to the point: What happens if you fail a stress test?

If you fail a stress test, some things could happen:

You get more tests. You may need to continue your investigation to determine why you failed the test. An ECG or nuclear stress test may be ordered.

Your doctor will review the test results and determine the best course of action.

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