A Personal Insight into the Origin of the Talk Test

Bob Goode


Background Qualified exercise professionals incorporate various strategies to establish effective exercise prescriptions. However, many are unaware of the ease of use and utility of the Talk Test and the Breath Sound Check. Moreover, many do not understand how we came to develop these tests.

Purposes The purpose of this paper was to demonstrate the ability of the Talk Test and the Breath Sound Check to provide effective exercise prescriptions. A secondary purpose was to provide a background for the development of both tests.

Methods A narrative review of the literature was conducted.

Results Often, exercising individuals are not aware of when they have reached and/or exceeded the intensity required to improve maximal aerobic power (VO2max). We developed the Talk Test hypothesizing that if exercisers are just capable of talking they are close to their anaerobic threshold. By using the Talk Test you can establish an appropriate training intensity. We also developed the Breath Sound Check - the point at which you begin to hear your breathing while exercising. This point corresponds to the Ventilatory Threshold, and provides a good gauge of the minimum intensity for training.

Conclusions The Talk Test has been used for years as an effective exercise prescription. The recommendation for persons in the general public who wish to improve VO2max is that they should be able to hear their breathing but still be able to talk.


Talk Test; Exercise Prescription; Physical Activity; Health Promotion

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ISSN: 19206216