Vo2 max how to measure

A sportsman jogging on bright day

Measuring Vo2 Max relative to body weight, fitness level, aerobic fitness and athletic abilities

Vo2 max is important. Simple. It determines so much of your athletic ability, and when measured, tells you so much about how to improve said ability and how much to increase exercise intensity. While it might be easy to read those words and determine ‘it’s important.’ it probably sounds a little harder to understand.

Thankfully, it isn’t.

Vo2 max is pretty easy to comprehend. Polar defines it as ”The maximum amount of oxygen an individual can use during exercise is commonly referred to as a person’s Vo2max.” and goes on to explain that your individual Vo2 max tells you how many millimetres of oxygen is being used by each kilogram of your body weight.

So… what do we think that increasing maximal oxygen uptake can do for you? What do we reckon higher oxygen consumption does to enhance our fitness levels?

Knowing the specifics essentially gives us insight into potential aerobic endurance in the future, as well as your current cardio abilities currently. But knowing a little more about science can help you at any time, any place.

So, let’s get scientific

Athletic performance requires a lot of the body. Muscle tension, respiratory efficiency, aerobic endurance… they’re all aspects of performance. And because the body relies on oxygen (funnily enough) then those aspects rely on how much oxygen can be used. As Polar puts it once more, ”Since muscles need oxygen to move over the prolong periods required for sports like running or cycling, improving this metric can make you healthier and boost your overall performance.” and thankfully, we have things like submaximal exercise testing, oxygen and carbon dioxide reading and a host of other methods to find identify individual Vo2 max states.

To the lab

One of the most accurate and reliable methods of measuring your Vo2 max is inside a lab. Ever seen those oxygen masks of big guys on a treadmill? Well, chances are they’re measuring Vo2 max (amongst other things). Generally speaking, intensity is varied through the treadmill, and then the metrics outputted are noted. The method notes the concentration of oxygen and carbon dioxide being inhaled and exhaled, and this your Vo2 max is registered.

But these tests are expensive. Inhaled and exhaled air, you would think, shouldn’t be that expensive to measure. So, if oxygen consumption remains a budget affair, then you can use a fitness test, running index, performance test, and cycling Vo2 tests.


The results are in!

Aerobic fitness levels, cardiorespiratory fitness, aerobic metabolism… these are all very white lab coat-sounding terms, so how do you benefit from this measurement… simply?

Well, other than using it to guide you through aerobic-based fitness trackers, a well-functioning cardiovascular system can protect you against vascular dementia, combat memory loss and stimulate growth of new blood vessels.



Do more research on this, ask an expert or hey even go straight into a paid test as soon as possible. Body mass, making sure you exercise regularly… there’s a lot to think about in the world of fitness, so make that easier by learning or going to science professionals and other experts.


Is a sports performance lab a common thing?

It completely depends. Factors like location, expenses, athletic locality and so on determine the availability of labs in your area.

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