What is VO2 Max Testing?
Why Test VO2 Max?
The results from the VO2 Max Test give you the specific target heart rate zones required for different level of intensities. Knowing this information, you can exercise within your target zones to optimize your workout and achieve the maximum results.
How Does the Test Work?
Your oxygen consumption will rise as your exercise becomes more intense. Specific physiological markers are detected throughout the test as oxygen consumption is measured. Eventually, oxygen consumption plateaus even if the exercise intensity increases. When you are no longer able to keep up with the oxygen demands of the muscles, the maximum has been reached, and the VO2 is calculated.
Performing the Test and Getting Accurate Results
- Refrain from exercise for 24 hours before testing.
- Avoid tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine for at least 3 hours before testing.
You will wear a tight mask and a heart rate monitor during the test while you pedal on a stationary bike. You will start at a low intensity, gradually increasing the intensity of exercise over a period of 10-20 minutes. When you are finished, you will receive a printout with your results.
Periodic retesting provides motivating feedback as the fitness program progresses.
The test also determines the number of calories burned during every level of exercise, providing valuable information when designing a weight loss program. And if CO2 is measured during the test, a Respiratory Exchange Ratio (RER) can determine the proportion of energy coming from carbohydrates and fats at various levels of exercise intensity. Since physical conditioning and exercise intensity affect these proportions, this information can be very helpful when designing a workout intended to burn fat.
VO2 Max testing is a valuable tool for serious athletes to assess performance and evaluate training regimens. Even though extensive training can sometimes cause an athlete to reach a plateau in VO2 Max, he can still use his VO2 Max test results to make further improvements in performance. This is accomplished as he pushes to increase anaerobic threshold (AT) and maintain that threshold for longer periods of time. This enhances both endurance and cardiovascular performance.
What is Anaerobic Threshold?
Respiratory Exchange Ratio (RER) is the ratio of expired carbon dioxide to oxygen uptake at the level of the lung. When Carbon dioxide production exceeds oxygen uptake, the RER crosses 1.00. This is anaerobic threshold.