VO2 MAX TESTING
VO2 max is the maximum rate of oxygen consumption that can be attained during the most intense exercise possible. The measurement requires that the subject breathe into an oxygen consumption analyzer during an all-out effort (usually on a treadmill or bicycle) as part of a graded exercise protocol. These protocols involve specific increases in the speed and intensity of the exercise. While exercising, the person wears a mask to collect all the air he breathes in and out for a measurement of the volume of exhaled gas and the concentration of oxygen in that exhaled gas. This determines how much oxygen is used during each minute of the exercise test. When the person is no longer able to keep up with the oxygen demands of his muscles and complete fatigue forces him to stop exercising, then his oxygen consumption has reached a maximum, and VO2 max can be calculated. The test usually takes between 10 and 15 minutes.
VO2 MAX FAQ
What is VO2 Max?
VO2 max the largest volume of oxygen (O2) your body can send to your muscles during maximal exercise. This number is influenced by your cardiac output and the amount of oxygen taken from your blood as is passes through muscles. VO2 max is a great measure of cardiovascular fitness and aerobic endurance.
What is the difference between Aerobic and Anaerobic exercise?
Aerobic exercise, aka cardio, is dependent on available oxygen. Aerobic exercise occurs at an intensity low enough that the cardiovascular system can provide O2 to the muscles without the build up of lactate. Anaerobic exercise does not require the presence of oxygen but can only be maintained for a limited time before the excess buildup of lactate forces the body to lower energy outputs.
What is aerobic threshold?
Aerobic threshold is the point at which exercise changes from aerobic to anaerobic. This varies between people and is higher in those who are more fit. A VO2 max test provides you with a ventilatory response chart that correlates with your heart rate so you know what heart rate range to be in for aerobic and anaerobic exercise.
What is anaerobic threshold?
Anaerobic threshold (AT) is the intensity of exercise at which lactate begins to accumulate in the blood faster than it can be removed. As this happens, your brain triggers your body to stop working, you fatigue, giving it time to clear out the excess lactate. A VO2 max test can pinpoint your heart rate when this happens so you modify your workouts accordingly. By increasing your AT you can increase the intensity of your workouts to become stronger, faster, and increase your endurance.
What is lactate threshold?
Lactate threshold (LT) is the maximum intensity of exercise you can maintain while being able to clear lactate from the blood as it is produced. Lactate threshold occurs at a slightly lower level of exercise intensity than anaerobic threshold. All world class and Olympic athletes incorporate LT training into their workouts with maximum steady-state training at their LT and with interval training where they work for a short time above their AT. Without access to VO2 max testing, a Rate of Perceived Exertion scale is used to determine when you are at your LT. As you can imagine, this is not a precise measurement and greatly depends on the mental toughness of the athlete.
Why test your VO2 max?
Aerobic threshold, anaerobic threshold, lactate threshold, and your VO2 max can all be determined from one test. Armed with this knowledge, you can vastly improve performance by maintaining a specific heart rate during workouts to meet your goals. Periodic retesting will track improvements and help you work past plateaus. The test also determines the number of calories burned during every level of exercise, providing valuable information when designing a weight loss program.