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VO2 Max Testing

What is VO2 Max Testing?

A VO2 Max Test measures the amount of oxygen your body uses at different exertion levels while you exercise, in our office, on a stationary bike. It measures your ability to perform at different “exercise zones” and is generally considered the best indicator of cardiovascular fitness and aerobic endurance. The actual measurement is “milliliters of oxygen used in one minute per kilogram of body weight.”

Why Test VO2 Max?

Everyone has an optimal training zone – sometimes called target heart rate


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.

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How Does the Test Work?

You will exercise on a stationary bike, keeping the rotations per minute at a steady rate, while the resistance slowly increases over time. While exercising, you wear a mask connected to our Korr machine to collect all the air breathed in and out.


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

We recommend the following preparation:


  1. Refrain from exercise for 24 hours before testing.

  2. 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.

Additional Information 

A complete VO2 Fitness test can give trainers and clients the tools to set realistic goals and assess improvement. Studies show that previously sedentary people training at 75% of aerobic power for 30 minutes, 3 times a week over 6 months increase VO2 Max an average of 15-20%. Many people are inefficient exercisers, with no understanding of what specific heart rate, intensity or duration would best help them reach their specific goals such as fat burning, endurance training, or cardio conditioning. An initial VO2 Max test can clarify the specific target heart rates that will enable each individual to reach their fitness goals more effectively, with less fatigue and fewer injuries. 


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?

The anaerobic threshold (AT) is defined as the level of exercise intensity at which lactic acid builds up in the body faster than it can be cleared away. Lactic acid build up generally leads to muscle fatigue and soreness. Vigorous effort can be sustained for an extended duration at exercise intensity levels below the anaerobic threshold. AT is detected with the Respiratory Exchange Ratio.


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.

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