We often get asked questions about VO2 max, and it can be difficult to understand the value of knowing yours. In this article, we want to tell you everything you need to know about VO2 Max and how you can use it. Here’s what we're going to discuss:
VO2 Max is also known as your Maximal Oxygen Uptake. It’s a measurement of the amount of oxygen you can use during intensive exercise. A lot of people use it as an indication of cardiovascular fitness and aerobic capacity.
Oxygen is a vital part of the breathing process and is needed to fuel the body. Without it, we would struggle to literally do anything. When it comes to exercise, the more oxygen we can get, the further we can push ourselves, and the better we are able to perform.
Cyclists are known to have VO2 Max scores which are literally off the scale compared to estimates of the regular population. The higher your VO2 Max score, the better you can hold high-intensity exercise. In real-world terms, it means the longer you can power up that climb or the stronger the last few minutes of that TT you're riding.
VO2 Max is measured in ml/kg/min and then converted to METS. It looks like this: 1 MET is equivalent to 3.5 mL 02 / kg x minutes. This means millilitres of oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minute. Basically, it means the amount of oxygen a person intakes and utilizes during high-intensity exercise.
You've probably seen adverts or read articles and seen a picture of athletes wearing clear masks on treadmills and exercise bikes. This is more than likely a picture of someone doing a VO2 Max test.
A standard VO2 Max test (Spiroergometry) lasts around 8 to 12 minutes. The intensity continually ramps higher and higher until the participant reaches full exhaustion or the test ends. The mask is designed to measure the oxygen, and the testee will also wear a heart rate monitor, and physiological responses such as blood pressure, ECG and respiratory gases (oxygen and carbon dioxide levels).are also recorded. Cyclists from pro peloton usually undergo Spiroergometry after pre-season preparation or when needed. Factors like injury or upcoming races are important to consider, so the frequency can vary. If you want to discover the level of your VO2 Max we recommend visiting a local sport clinic or gym who can help you not just with the measurement, but also with an explanation and personalized tips for improvements.
A good VO2 Max result depends on many things, such as age and fitness level. Here’s a good example of some average values for men and women from 20 to 79 years old. These charts and data came from Healthline.
The results above are focused on 'ordinary' people. When you get results from pro cyclists, they are much higher. A World Tour Pro cyclist will be between 75 and 90 METS. This means they can take in a phenomenal amount of oxygen and utilize it properly.
Many often ask us if VO2 Max is important for a cyclist. Well, it definitely is, and even in daily life, is valuable data to know. Here’s why you might want to learn your VO2 Max:
Generally, the higher your VO2 Max is, the better your health and fitness level will be. A higher VO2 Max is associated with a lower risk of chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes. Another common thing for people with a high VO2 Max is they have a much lower risk of heart attacks, high blood pressure and strokes.
Cyclists with a high VO2 Max can generally perform much better than cyclists with a low VO2 Max. They have the ability to work at higher capacities and also hold it for much longer. It’s a test often done on cyclists who might be trying out for a professional team or to see if their training is working.
To increase VO2 max, you should incorporate high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and aerobic interval training (AIT) into your weekly routine. Here are a few examples of training sessions that target VO2 max improvement:
Training sessions for VO2 Max are not always easy to perform while riding outside, due to many aspects like route profile, traffic, time etc. It's easier and more effective to do them on a turbo trainer on ROUVY. Our two favorites are the VO2 Max Booster and the VO2 Max Maximiser (found in the Workouts section of the ROUVY app) .
These short and sharp sessions take you to high levels of intensity, which are still sustainable. If you want to boost your VO2 Max, then these are where you will want to start.
As cyclists, we're constantly looking for ways to improve our performance and push our limits. VO2 max is a crucial parameter for helping cyclists to do this, providing scientific insights into aerobic capacity and endurance potential. By understanding its significance and incorporating targeted training strategies, you can optimize your cycling performance and take your riding to new levels. Remember the key factors to unlocking VO2 max potential are consistency, personalized training and progressive overload. Keep going!
Workouts in particular are an ideal way of building your cycling strength and endurance and ROUVY has a wide selection for you to try on your indoor trainer. Good luck!
There is no single training method that is the best or works for everyone. Therefore, looking at what others are doing and copying their training sessions is not the smartest thing to do. It doesn't work and has never worked.
It's time for us to talk about bonking in cycling. Not that kind of bonking (although that is also something we should write about), but the kind that no cyclist ever wants to experience. The dreaded energy crisis that sneaks up on you without warning. Like how Dementors drain life from their victims in Harry Potter books, bonking can turn even the most seasoned cyclist into a stumbling, mumbling ghost within minutes. Let's explore what bonking is exactly, dig into the physiological and psychological aspects of it, highlight famous examples of bonking among professional cyclists, and look at practical tips for avoiding this phenomenon.
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