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Max, what’s my VO2Max?

In endurance sports — such as running and cycling — oxygen is the main source of energy. It interacts with the by-product of muscle glycogen (taken from food). In combination they create the energy needed to move.

The more oxygen there is in this process, the higher your performance will be. The volume of oxygen “supplied” to the body and the quality of it being processed determines the VO2Max indicator — the maximum oxygen consumption. It also indicates your maximum possible athletic performance.

VO2Max is measured in millilitres per kilogram of body in 1 minute. Its value depends on 3 key factors:

  1. On the maximum volume of your lungs and on how much air you are able to inhale at a time. It is pre-set up since your birth, but achieving the maximum is the result of a specific training workouts.
  2. On the strength of your heart and the volume of blood pushed for 1 stroke, which carries oxygen throughout the body. Heart strength is trained by slow/ low heart rate workouts.
  3. On the quality and quantity of capillaries that carry oxygen to the muscles to meet the muscle glycogen. It can also be developed during slow workouts.

How to measure your VO2Max?

The most accurate and only correct measurement is carried out in laboratory during ramp test. For running, it is carried out on a treadmill with speed increased every 1–2 minutes with equal steps until complete stop. For a bicycle — on an ergometer or high quality smart trainer with a similar principle of increasing resistance power.

During the test, the person achieves peak load and stay there as long as he or she can sustain. This is the moment (a short period) when VO2max value is calculated. This is the only accurate way to measure the VO2Max (VO2 max). There are now many indirect ways to measure VO2Max. They are often used in sports watches and other devices and show the correct numbers with 10–15% accuracy.

The VO2Max value can be used to track the dynamics of progress, but it is important to follow the test protocol, use the most identical equipment and conditions (temperature, humidity, time of day).

Why do you need to know your VO2Max value?

It gives you an understanding of the range of expected results at your favourite running distances. The dynamics of VO2Max over long periods of time — 6–12 months — will give you an understanding of your progress. High VO2Max value is a reason to be proud in conversations with those who are familiar with the matter.

Training with Max and OMY! Sports is what you need to have your VO2Max up to the mark! 😊