What does VO₂ max stand for

VO2 max can give you information about your cardiorespiratory condition, such as how long you can maintain certain training intensity, related to training characteristics such as your running time.

What is VO₂ max?

VO₂ max can be maximum oxygen uptake per minute during approximately maximum physical exertion. VO2 max testing is used to measure a person’s aerobic capacity, such as endurance or fitness. V02-max is measured in milliliters of oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minute. An average untrained man will normally have a VO2 max value, or fitness figure, of 44 ml/kg/min. The equivalent for women is 35 ml / kg / min.

Do not confuse VO₂ max with the lactate threshold, the point during exercise where lactate builds up in the blood faster than your body can expel it. When you reach the lactate threshold, you get the familiar burning or cramping sensation. You reach the lactate threshold at about 50 to 80% of VO₂-max.

You can not get an exact measure of VO₂ max except in a laboratory with expensive clinical equipment. Therefore VO₂ max is usually a training marker reserved for elite and professional athletes.

To measure VO₂ max, use a mask and heart rate monitor connected to a treadmill or stationary bike. You will slowly increase the training intensity on your treadmill or bike – get faster and increase your resistance – until your oxygen consumption remains steady.

When you reach that plateau, your body moves from aerobic metabolism to anaerobic metabolism. That is, your body stops using oxygen to drive the breakdown of carbohydrates, amino acids, and fats because there is not enough oxygen there.

Shortly after reaching that switch, insert your potential workload plateaus and muscle fatigue. You must return to an aerobic state of motion to continue.

Related articles:

What is a good VO₂ max number

About the author


Add comment