VO2 Max Testing
VO2 Based Fitness Testing
VO2 is the rate of oxygen uptake, or consumption, measured during exercise. The maximum rate of oxygen uptake is called the VO2max or maximum VO2. VO2max is the ultimate measure of fitness and is reported in milliliters of oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minute or ml/Kg/min. To achieve a high VO2max, a person must have a fit heart and lungs and significant lean muscle mass that is well conditioned. The table below shows how fitness is assessed based on VO2max.
Since true VO2max measurements require exercising to the maximum level of exertion, they should only be done under medical supervision, or by persons who have been cleared to exercise extreme exertion by their physician. Peak VO2, or the maximum level of oxygen uptake achieved during a sub-maximal test can also be used to predict the VO2 max had the test been allowed to progress to the predicted maximum heart rate.
A VO2 test will also show the anaerobic threshold. The anaerobic threshold is the level of exercise intensity beyond which the body can no longer provide adequate oxygen to the muscles. Exercise below the anaerobic threshold should be comfortable even though the exercise extends for long periods. Exercise above the anaerobic threshold will improve cardiovascular fitness, but will also cause discomfort, fatigue, and muscle soreness.
Knowing the unique anaerobic threshold can be used to design a workout plan that will improve fitness and maximize calories burned. Measurement of VO2max or PeakVO2 will provide a true assessment of fitness level. The CardioCoach test will provide all of this data that is vital to proper fitness training. In addition, a CardioCoach test will also measure how many calories are burned during a workout at every exercise heart rate level. This information, along with a heart rate monitor, or a heart rate equipped bike or treadmill, can be used to calculate the precise amount of calories burned during a workout.
What will I learn from these tests?
- Each test ends with a consultation where we will tell you the following: What your individual results are, what your results mean to you and your overall goals, and how this information can be applied into an exercise prescription to help you meet your specific goals.
- With testing at regular intervals (every 2 to 3 months) your individual progress can be measured and adjustments can be made to your exercise prescription to continuously maximize and maintain your cardiovascular health.
Who benefits from this test?
- Athletes can add structure and purpose to their training programs and gain a competitive edge through application of sport science principles.
- Former couch potatoes can begin an exercise program that they will enjoy and be able to maintain thereby promoting positive health benefits.
- Those not getting results can make changes to their current program to make each training session effective and beneficial.
How test is run?
- Running tests: The test will begin with a warm-up on the treadmill. Once the warm-up is complete, a comfortable mask will be placed over your mouth and nose so that information regarding your gas exchange can be obtained by the metabolic cart. The treadmill will then begin moving at an easy, comfortable pace and will increase in speed every two minutes, up to a point that is slightly faster than your race pace speed. At this point, the incline will then be increased 1% every minute until the athlete feels unable to continue with the protocol. During this test our exercise physiologist will be monitoring the rate at which your body consumes oxygen, as well as your heart rate and rate of perceived exertion (RPE). The level of oxygen consumed will increase as the exercise intensity increases. After you have reached your peak level of oxygen consumption, a two minute cool-down period will begin to assess how quickly your cardiovascular system recovers. Total time for the test will be about 90 minutes, including time for warm-up, the running assessment, and an overview of the results.
- Cycling tests: Using your individual bike, the test will begin with a warm-up on the CompuTrainer. Once the warm-up is complete, a comfortable mask will be placed over your mouth and nose so that information regarding your gas exchange can be obtained by the metabolic cart. Work on the CompuTrainer will then begin at a low and comfortable wattage for the first 5 minutes, and will increase in wattage every three minutes thereafter. During this time our exercise physiologist will be monitoring the rate in which your body consumes oxygen, as well as your heart rate and rate of perceived exertion (RPE). The level of oxygen consumed will increase as the exercise intensity (wattage on CompuTrainer) increases. After you have reached your peak level of oxygen consumption, a two minute cool-down period will begin to assess how quickly your cardiovascular system recovers. Total time for the test will be about 90 minutes, including time for warm-up, the cycling assessment, and an overview of the results.
Why should I train by heart rate?
Heart rate training is a great way to reduce your likelihood of developing overuse injuries, or drifting into the uneasy state of being overtrained.
- Eliminate the guesswork. Measured heart rate zones allow you to train more efficiently and specifically throughout the season.
- You will be able to comfortably complete workouts on consecutive days with quicker recovery, while maximizing your fitness.