Our Sports Therapists Katie and Kieran are working towards Masters degrees in Strength and Conditioning, and recently they have been working on VO2 max testing. This is a fascinating area for runners in particular, so we caught up with them to find out how it works…
Your VO2 max is your ‘maximal oxygen uptake’ and refers to the amount of oxygen your body is able to utilise in one minute. Endurance athletes will be more familiar with this, as it is the most commonly used marker for aerobic capacity.
Simply put, VO2 max is the maximum amount of oxygen that an athlete/person can use. This is measured in millilitres per kilogram of bodyweight per minute.
By using a facemask, we can measure the levels of oxygen and gases being inhaled and exhaled during a few minutes of sustained exercise on either a bike or a treadmill. The intensity of the running/riding is gradually increased until the subject reaches exhaustion, in order to achieve maximal effort. The data collected from this test can give us an accurate measure of a person’s VO2 max and therefore the person’s maximal capacity for aerobic/endurance exercise.
Other markers can also be taken during this test with correct application, such as blood lactate and resting and max heart rates. These markers are very useful for athletes, trainers and people looking to improve these areas of their fitness, as they can achieve or test a quantitative measure of their current level at different stages throughout a training programme.