17April/2013

How to Improve Your VO2 Max

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How to Improve Your VO2 Max

What is VO2 max?

It’s known among exercise scientists as the most basic, and one of the best, measures of aerobic fitness. VO2 max translates as maximal oxygen uptake. This handy little measure tells you how much oxygen your body can convert to energy to use during exercise. It’s measured in the amount of oxygen you consume in millilitres per kilogram of bodyweight per minute.

Why is VO2 max important?

Not only does oxygen keep you alive (thanks buddy), the amount your body can take in, convert to energy and then deliver to your exercising muscles determines your aerobic endurance. So if you like to run, this is one measurement you want to keep an eye on.

How can you measure VO2 max? 

The better question may be: are you brave enough to test it? The only way to calculate your VO2 max is a near vomit-inducing all-out effort. If you’ve decided to put yourself through hell, you’ve got two options: shell out around $300 for a completely accurate measure done in a sports performance lab, or try the less-accurate-but-good-enough Bruce Treadmill Test.

Bruce Treadmill Test

Step 1: Warm up for 5-10 minutes.

Step 2: Start the treadmill at 2.7km/h at an incline of 10%. Start running.

Step 3: Every 3 minutes, increase the speed and incline according to the table.

Step 4: When you can’t run any further, stop and record your time.

 

Time (min)

0

3

6

9

12

15

18

21

Speed (kmh)

2.7

4

5.5

6.8

8

8.9

9.7

10.5

Grade (%)

10

12

14

16

18

20

22

24

 

Now for the maths (if this part scares you, log on to www.healthcalc.com/fitness-tests/bruce-treadmill-test and plug in your numbers, it’ll do the maths for you):

For men: 14.8 – (1.379 x T) + (0.451 x T2) – (0.012 x T3) = VO2 max

For women: 4.38 x (run time in minutes) – 3.9 = VO2 max


How can you improve your VO2 max?

If you want a high VO2 max, choose your parents wisely as your score is 50% hereditary. Failing having Nordic cross-country skiers for parents, there’s 50% that you can change through training.

All training improves your aerobic capacity, even slow, relaxed jogging. But if you really want to boost your endurance ability, French exercise physiologist Veronique Billat has designed a workout that is the most efficient way to bump up your score.

You’ll need to figure out the fastest effort you can sustain for 8 minutes (equivalent to a 3km pace). Then run this pace for 3-5 minutes, jog lightly for 4-5 minutes, then do another interval. Beginners and intermediates should shoot for 3-4 repeats, while the elite can aim for 6-8 repeats. This is the fastest way to increase your aerobic capacity, but be warned, it’s tough. Limit this workout to once a week.

 


Source Url: http://www.fitnesspromag.com/Features/tabid/4741/entryid/906/How-to-Improve-Your-VO2-Max.aspx
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