More info about VO2 max testing

The term “VO2” is derived from V-volume of O2-oxygen. VO2max is the maximum volume of oxygen that the body can consume during intense, whole-body exercise. As exercise intensity increases so does oxygen consumption. However, a point is reached where exercise intensity can continue to increase without the associated rise in oxygen consumption. The point at which oxygen consumption plateaus defines the VO2 max or an individual’s maximal aerobic capacity. This volume is expressed either as an absolute rate in liters of oxygen per minute (l/min) or as a relative rate in millilitres of oxygen per kilogram of bodyweight per minute (ml/kg/min)

VO2 max testing is routinely done on professional endurance athletes. This metabolic profiling is now more readily available not only to professional and Olympic athletes but to amateur and recreational endurance athletes who may be seeking an option to improve their performance on a more scientific level. With this test we can determine an athlete’s unique metabolic profile which is a body’s precise response to exercise. If an endurance athlete has a comprehensive understanding of their VO2max and how to use this number, the biological changes that occur with incorporating VO2max training in their performance program will in turn help them to obtain peak performance.

How long does the test go for?

The test goes for about 15-20 minutes however the appointment will take about an hour.

Can you do a treadmill or a cycling test?

Yes. We can do both, however if doing a cycling test please bring your own bike which we will setup in the clinic. For both tests please bring appropriate clothing, a towel and a water bottle.

Testing procedure

Prior to testing, all baseline measurements including heart rate, resting respiration and blood pressure will be recorded. During the test, the subjects is encouraged to exercise to exhaustion. The workload during the test would increase approximately every minute until maximum exertion is achieved. During the assessment, a small (pinprick) blood sample may be taken from either a finger or ear-lobe to test blood lactate concentrations. This can be used to calculate an individuals lactate threshold. Essentially, as the athlete progresses to higher intensity during the test, the muscles need an increasing volume of oxygen, a process, which is continued until the supply of oxygen becomes limiting or the ability of the muscle to utilize oxygen is exceeded. At this point, there would be no further increase in oxygen uptake. Again, once an athlete reaches their VO2max, intensity and heart rate response increase without the associated rise in oxygen consumption, but this is not always observed. A two to three minute recovery time is always included to obtain recovery heart rate. All data is recorded continuously throughout the test period and the test can be stopped by the subject at any time for whatever reason.

What data will I get?

  • VO2 max

  • Speed/power at VO2 max

  • Lactate threshold (direct or indirect)

  • Respiratory exchange ration (RER)

  • Individualised heart rate training zones

  • FAT vs CARB fuel utilisation

  • Maximum heart rate

  • Recovery data

Data collection

From the data we can calculate your VO2 max and lactate thresholds which will give us a quantitive value of your current aerobic fitness. The lactate threshold will allow us to understand at what point in your heart rate and exertion levels do you start to produce more lactate than you are able to utilise which leads to fatigue. Knowing these values means we can validly guide you as to what physiological values to hover under in order to produce best times. The data produced will also give us tailored heart rate training zones to be used by yourself or your coach. It is often recommended to test at the beginning of the season and then at 2 month intervals to measure training progress.