What is VO2 max testing
VO2max (pronounced Vee-OH-2) measures the body’s ability to use oxygen. In endurance activities such as running, cycling and swimming, the amount of oxygen the muscles can use is an important factor in determining performance potential.
Why is VO2 max testing important?
Exercise testing allow us a snapshot in time regarding an athlete’s training program and current level of fitness. These tests help determine the specific heart rate and training zones for individual athletes and help coaches and athletes to adapt their training programs to target underdeveloped energy systems.
How can I test my VO2 max?
VO2 max testing usually requires measuring the amount of oxygen intake and carbon dioxide produced. Traditionally, this is done with the athlete wearing a mask connected to equipment that can measure these parameters.
Testing is usually done in a lab or clinic setting on a treadmill or stationary bike. Newer systems, which are more compact, can allow field testing on the track.
How can I improve my VO2 max?
An athlete’s VO2 max is partially determined by genetics, but athletes can increase their VO2max to the upper limit of their genetic potential through a well-designed training program.
What is lactate and lactic acid?
Lactate and lactic acid is a by-product of normal metabolism and exercise. During rest, as well as low and moderate intensity exercise, the muscles use glucose as a fuel source. The glucose molecule is coverted to pyruvate, when combined with oxygen, acts as an energy source in the muscles.
As exercise intensity increases, the amount of oxygen available decreases and some pyruvate is converted to lactate instead. The rest of the body (other muscles, liver and heart) usually buffers the production of lactic acid. As exercise intensity increases, the body’s ability to remove the lactic acid is overwhelmed and an increase in the blood lactate level occurs.
This event is referred to as the lactate threshold.
So why is lactate threshold important?
The lactate threshold is a good determination of the max exercise intensity an athlete can hold for a longer period of time (greater than 20 to 30 minutes). Focused training to increase the lactate threshold results in faster race times.
How is lactic acid measured?
Lactic acid testing is done with a relatively painless prick of the finger or earlobe. The testing is done on either a treadmill or stationary bike. The athlete warms up and a submaximal ramp test is done. The athlete progresses through slowly increaing intensity levels as the blood lactate level is measured at the end of each level.