How to do a BOLT Score Test and what it means

Jun 28, 2023

The BOLT Score test (Blood Oxygen Level Test) is your key to unlocking valuable insight into your respiratory performance, your tolerance to CO2 as well a helpful indicator of the adaptability of your nervous system. Breathwork is everywhere at the moment and I have studied a number of approaches, but it wasn’t until I studied the Oxygen Advantage approach that I discovered the science behind breathing and how this affects our body and mind. This information is specific and helpful in a practical way that means you can take ownership of your own physiological and psychological performance throughout your day.

How to do the BOLT score test in 9 easy steps 

The steps below set out how you do the bolt score test easily and find out what it the results mean:

1. Find a comfortable and quiet place: Choose a quiet area where you can sit comfortably without any distractions.

2. Sit in an upright position: Sit up straight with good posture. This allows for optimal lung expansion and air flow.

3. Exhale: Take a normal breath in through your nose, and then gently exhale through your nose until you feel your lungs are comfortably empty. It is important not to force out all the air but to reach a natural end-point of exhalation.

4. Begin the breath hold: After the exhalation, pinch your nose with your fingers to close off the airway and hold your breath. Keep your mouth closed throughout the test.

bolt score test

5. Start a timer: Start a timer or use a stopwatch to track the duration of your breath hold.

6. Note the first signs of discomfort: As you hold your breath, pay attention to the first signs of discomfort, such as a slight urge to breathe or contractions of the diaphragm.

7. Release and resume breathing: When you feel the need to breathe again, release your nose and resume breathing normally.

8. Measure the breath-holding time: Note the duration of your breath hold in seconds. This is your BOLT score.

9. Repeat the test: Rest for a few minutes and repeat the test two more times. Take the average of the three scores to get a more accurate representation of your BOLT score.

Tips for Conducting the BOLT Score Test:

– It’s important to be relaxed and calm during the test. Avoid any physical strain or discomfort.

– If you experience dizziness or lightheadedness during the breath hold, stop the test and resume normal breathing.

– Start with a gentle breath hold and gradually increase the duration over time as you become more comfortable with the practice.

– It’s recommended to perform the test in the morning on an empty stomach for consistent results.

Remember, the BOLT score can vary among individuals, and it may take time and practice to improve your breath-holding time. Consistency and regular practice of breathing exercises can help increase your BOLT score over time, indicating improved respiratory function and carbon dioxide tolerance.

What to BOLT score results indicate?

BOLT test scores (Body Oxygen Level Test) provide an indication of your breath-holding time after a normal exhalation. The score represents the duration, in seconds, that you can comfortably hold your breath after an exhalation. Here’s a general interpretation of BOLT scores:

1. Less than 10 seconds: A BOLT score of less than 10 seconds indicates poor breath-holding time. It suggests reduced carbon dioxide tolerance and potential breathing inefficiencies. This may be associated with various factors such as chronic stress, respiratory issues, or suboptimal breathing patterns.

2. 10-20 seconds: A BOLT score between 10 and 20 seconds is considered average. It suggests a moderate level of breath-holding ability and carbon dioxide tolerance. There is room for improvement in terms of optimizing respiratory function and enhancing oxygen delivery to the cells.

3. 20-40 seconds: A BOLT score between 20 and 40 seconds is above average. It indicates good breath-holding time and suggests better carbon dioxide tolerance. Individuals with this range of scores generally have a healthier respiratory system and more efficient breathing patterns.

4. 40 seconds or more: A BOLT score of 40 seconds or higher is considered excellent. It suggests optimal breath-holding time and indicates high carbon dioxide tolerance. Individuals with this range of scores typically have excellent respiratory health, efficient breathing patterns, and enhanced oxygen delivery to the cells.

Now you know your score, read this post about how to improve it and what this means for your performance and wellbeing: What is the BOLT Score and How to Improve it