• Assesses cardiovascular fitness in people with SCI
  • Involves 6 minutes of sub-maximal arm ergometry at a constant power output. This single stage test is simple and quick to administer clinically.

Clinical Considerations

  • The 6-MAT is a practical, easy to complete test that can be administered to all fitness levels.
  • The test was designed specifically for individuals with SCI.

ICF Domain

Body Function ▶ Functions & Structures of the Cardiovascular, Haematological, Immunological and Respiratory Systems


  • Clinician-administered
  • Clinicians can determine the appropriate power output through use of published guidelines.
  • Baseline outcome variables of heart rate and ratings of perceived exertion are determined by recording the client’s exercising heart rate during the final 30 seconds of the test, and recording their RPE (Borg’s rating of perceived exertion) at the end of the test.
  • Should be re-administered at the same PO for follow up tests, including those to assess changes resulting from cardiovascular fitness interventions.
  • Takes 6 minutes to administer.

Number of Items



  • Arm ergometer
  • Heart rate monitor
  • RPE scale


Scores over several administrations are compared to assess changes resulting from cardiovascular fitness interventions.



Training Required



Can be found here.

# of studies reporting psychometric properties: 2


MCID: not established in SCI
SEM: Heart rate SEM = 7.12 beats/min (95% CI, during 6-MAT) (Hol et al. 2007)
VO2 SEM = 1.62 mL/kg/min (95% CI, during 6-MAT) (Hol et al. 2007)
MDC: Heart rate MDC = 19.74 beats/min
VO2 MDC = 4.49 mL/kg/min

  • Normative data not established for SCI population
  • Published data is available for comparison for the SCI population (see the Interpretability section of the Study Details sheet).
  • Used after a fitness intervention or as a follow up measure, 6-MAT results can determine changes in fitness level.
  • Decrease in heart rate and/or RPE may indicate an increase in cardiovascular fitness, whereas an increase in heart rate and/or RPE may indicate a decrease in cardiovascular fitness.


The 6-MAT was performed twice, 1 week apart. Test-retest reliability was high for both heart rate (ICC = 0.90) and VO2 (ICC = 0.81).

(Hol et al. 2007)


High correlation between VO2 peak and:

  • 6-MAT VO2 (r = 0.92),
  • 6-MAT power output (r = 0.73)
  • 6-MAT heart rate (r = 0.63).

(Hol et al. 2007; Totosy de Zepetnek et al. 2016)


No values were reported for the responsiveness of the 6-MAT for the SCI population.

Floor/Ceiling Effect

No values were reported for the presence of floor/ceiling effects in the 6MAT for the SCI population.


Dr. Janice Eng, Marzena Zhou, Joanne Chi

Date Last Updated

7 July 2019

Totosy de Zepetnek JO, Au JS, Hol AT, Eng JJ, MacDonald MJ. Predicting peak oxygen uptake from submaximal exercise after spinal cord injury. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2016; 41(7):775-781. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27363732/

Hol AT, Eng JJ, Miller WC, Sproule S, Krassioukov AV. Reliability and Validity of the Six-Minute Arm Test for the Evaluation of Cardiovascular Fitness in People With Spinal Cord Injury. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2007; 88:489-95.