The highest rate at which oxygen can be taken up and utilised by the body during severe exercise and an indication of cardiorespiratory fitness of an individual (1).
What is VO2 peak?
V02 peak represents the highest value of VO2 that has been attained on a particular test(5).
How is it measured?
It is measured by milliliters of oxygen used in one minute per kilogram of body weight (mL/kg/min).
Benefits of identifying VO2 max?
Assists the practitioners in understanding how much oxygen an individual can consume and utilize to meet different metabolic stress demands.
Provides information for practitioners and coaches to ensure appropriate training zones are applied when programming.
Indication of the the cardiorespiratory fitness of an individual(1). Assisting practitioners, coaches and athletes in understanding current fitness levels, strengths and weaknesses.
What exercise equiment is used to conduct the test?
The three most common methods of VO2 testing
- Cycle ergometer
4 physiological factors that may limit maximum oxygen uptake
Normative values for VO2 max
The Physical Fitness Specialist Certification Manual, The Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research, Dallas TX, revised 1997 printed in Advance Fitness Assessment & Exercise Prescription, 3rd Edition, Vivian H. Heyward, 1998.p48
Appropriate workload guideline to apply to ensure an effective test?
The tables outline appropriate testing workloads when administering a VO2 max test (4).
There will be different workloads that may need to be adjusted to cater for individuals sport or fitness levels. These tables however provide a guide to workloads that have been used in previous VO2 max testing.
- Environment: Several studies have suggested an appropriate temperature ranging between 17-27 °C(1), an appropriate room temperature is important as testing in a hot environment can be a poor indicator of aerobic capacity because of the extreme peripheral vasodilatation that occurs as well as preventing excessive discomfort due to overheating (1)
- Specificity:Ensuring the testing method used is closely related to the sport/ training, eg. treadmill/ cycle ergometer/rowing ergometer as studies have identified variations in results and testing methods(2).
Reliability:Ensuring consistency when conducting the test. Set up procedure, warmup method, test method etc. This essential especially when comparing results or athletes is being applied.
Preparation ( warmup):
Aim of the warmup is to:
- Elevate heart rate
- Elevate muscle temperature for testing.
- Studies suggest 5-10 minute warmup between 50% of VO2 max prior to testing had positive correlation to reducing risk of musculoskeletal injuries and cardiovascular abnormalities(2).
Ensuring athlete has completed pre-exercise screening requirements, equipment is set up(eg. correct height for the seat if testing on a cycle ergometer), machines have been calibrated and athlete has appropriate gear on ( eg. HR monitor) and has been taken through the testing procedure.
Other factors to consider when administering the test:
- Coaches, testing staff and other supervisors to ensure athlete pushes to full capacity to gain accurate data and results
2. Understanding test termination point:
- When VO~ increased by less than 150 ml/min (2.1 ml/kg/min) with an increase in elevation of 2.5% at a constant speed (2).
1. BASSETT D. Limiting factors for maximum oxygen uptake and determinants of endurance performance. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2000;:70.
2. McConnell T. Practical Considerations in the Testing of VO2 max in Runners. Sports Medicine. 1988;5(1):57-68.
3. Day J, Rossiter H, Coats E, Skasick A, Whipp B. The maximally attainable V̇o2 during exercise in humans: the peak vs. maximum issue. Journal of Applied Physiology. 2003;95(5):1901-1907.
4. Coulson M, Archer D. Practical fitness testing. London: A&C Black publishers Ltd; 2009.
5. James D, Sandals L, Draper S, Wood D. Relationship between maximal oxygen uptake and oxygen uptake attained during treadmill middle-distance running. Journal of Sports Sciences. 2007;25(8):851-858.