VO2 Max Test

Video Clip: 

A VO2 max is the gold standard exercise test to determine your aerobic capacity.

With Scottsdale Sports Medicine Institute’s on-site and portable off-site testing capabilities, the test can be performed in virtually any exercise environment, whether it be here at the fitness lab, around your local track, in a health club or even climbing a mountain. For the test, the subject will breathe through a mouthpiece connected to a metabolic analyzer, and he/she will wear a heart-rate monitor. The analyzer measures the volume as well as the percentage of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the expired gas. From this data, we are able to calculate:

VO2 MAX: For those who take the test to completion (reaching their maximal exertion level), this test result will indicate your genetic potential for endurance athletics. While anaerobic threshold is the best measuring stick of current endurance performance, VO2 max indicates the potential of an athlete after several years of systematic, structured training.

ANAEROBIC THRESHOLD: Known as the red-line, race pace, tempo, or simply "AT" or "threshold" to endurance athletes, the work rate that the AT represents is the highest intensity, typically measured by heart rate, at which the body can remove lactic acid as quickly as it is produced. Just below anaerobic threshold (AT), an athlete is working hard, but feels no burning in the muscles and is breathing heavily, but controlled. Above AT, lactic acid builds up in the muscles and bloodstream and will cause fatigue sooner or later. Knowing your AT is critical for establishing fat burning, steady-state, and interval zones training zones in an effective cardiovascular fitness training plan.

Here's how it works (please also see this page for critical intructions before you come in for your test!): 

TREADMILL

  • You will have sufficient time to stretch and warm up as needed (usually 5 minutes)
  • Your running test will consist of 1-minute stages starting at 3 MPH and increasing 1 MPH per minute to your maximum sustainable pace
  • Once your maximum sustainable pace is achieved, the pace will be maintained for the duration of the test and the grade will increase 1% per 30 seconds.
  • You will continue until you cannot keep up with the treadmill or otherwise cannot continue

BIKE

  • You will have sufficient time to stretch and warm up as needed (usually 5 minutes)
  • Your cycling test will consist of 1-minute stages starting at 50-60 Watts and will increase every minute 15-25 Watts, depending on your weight
  • You will continue the test progression until you cannot keep your cycling cadence above 60 RPM or otherwise cannot continue

Sample Results: