17 Aug VO2 max explained!


As runners, we each use various methods of training and workouts in our own way. But for Hampden Sports Clinic Sports Scientist, Seamus McCafferty, “Having a better understanding of your cardiovascular system through a VO2 max test can be essential to take your performance to the next level.”

So what exactly is your VO2max?

VO2max is the measurement of oxygen that your body is able to take in and use as you run. (V=volume, O2= oxygen) It’s measured in milliliters of oxygen, per kilogram of your body weight each minute, or ml/kg/min. But enough of the scientific terms; put simply, a VO2max test will tell us how big your body’s engine is. We will then devise an individual training plan that will allow you to use that engine most economically – you will run faster for longer!

So the more efficiently your body can use the fuel the quicker you will complete an event. Why? Because the harder you work the more energy is required by your muscles. The more economically you use your fuel the faster you can run with less effort.

Why does this matter?

Getting a VO2max test done is the gold standard in fitness testing and will provide an accurate measurement of how best we can then help to improve your training and ultimately your performance. Your improved fuel economy is influenced by a whole range of factors; age, baseline fitness, biomechanics, form, technique and more.

How do I take the test?

The most accurate results are found in the performance lab. In our facility, runners are put on a treadmill and connected to a mask which measures each breath you take. By the end of the test you’re essentially running at your maximum effort until you are physically exhausted. The contents of your breathing (concentration, volume, temperature) in the final minutes tell us a lot about the maximum capacity of your cardiovascular system.

Our Sports Scientists will then analyse the data for the VO2max ‘number’. The results will not only illustrate your current maximum capacity but how efficiently the energy systems work to get you there. The physiologist will tell you how well your system is working compared to that of people in your age, gender, and even sport. (The women’s marathon world record holder has a VO2max of 70ml/kg/min, whereas the Tour de France winner has a reading of 85ml/kg/min.)

Is it worth a try?

Most recently we saw a client take 1 hour and 40 minutes off an ultra marathon PB.  We will show you not only test results, we will provide the understanding of how to use this information to take your performance to a PB. We will help you get the most out of your engine and show you how to get more miles out of it.

Although this may not make you the next Olympic runner, you will certainly understand where you are and where you could be!

*Health & Fitness Packages that include V02max testing are available from just £157

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