T Nation

Training for Cooper Test with Weights


Hi everyone,

New member here. I took a look at older entries but I didn't find a specific answer to this question:

I am training to improve my Cooper test and eventually join the armed forces in Portugal. However, cardio like running, elliptical (eeww!), etc. has always been a chore to me. On the other side, lifting weights is entertaining, exciting and pleasant even when it burns. Hence, I would prefer to improve my condition and speed incorporating more weights than cardio.

I have been told by a friend (body lifter) that substituting most of the cardio for sequences of good lifts should do wonders improving my time on Cooper test. Would you agree? Have you ever tried? And do you think it is reasonable to, e.g., run once or twice a week (simulating the test) and lift most of the days?

P.S.: According to the regulations, females have to complete Cooper test in 14 mins instead of 12 mins to be considered apt. However, I'm not sure that I just have to "pass" or if ordering candidates by time will be one of the criteria when deciding between 2 applications. Also, there will be much more men than women applying, so if they consider the best times it is likely than men will score better. Then, I want to train to achieve the best time possible and not just a "pass".


If I’m reading you right your friend is saying improving the bench will improve your run. In which case he’s an absolute idiot. If you want to get better running, you have to run. Period.


My work uses a variation on the Cooper test for a special assignment. Here’s some observations from multiple tests.

The people who passed/excelled all trained for the run by running. They all worked runs into whatever workouts they normally did. This group also ran (majority of sessions) on a track or street not treadmill. They used various programs from intervals to mid-distance runs (3-5 miles). The common factors was running multiple times (most ran at least 3x/week) each week.

Those who did not run including those using other cardio training methods (elliptical, rowing, swimming,…) for the majority of cardio training did not do so well. This

Two other groups that have done well are regular cross fitters (but their workouts do incorporate sprints) and those that regularly participate in some sport such basketball or soccer (i.e. running oriented) in the adult rec league. Most of these people still go out every few weeks and ran practice tests.


I agree with the above but I’ve had success doing the treadmill at one degree incline as long as I do my sprints and at least one other run, usually the one LISS, during the week outside.


You need to run 3 days a week at least you can still lift 3-4 days a week.

Do one long run and on speed workout a week.