V02 Testing?

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V02 Testing?

Postby RobRollin » Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:54 pm

Anyone know how to calculate V02 max? I haven't setup the power meter as yet. Just wondering if there is a standard calculator to use based on fastest 3 min time vs MHR and bodyweight?
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by BNA » Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:40 pm

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Re: V02 Testing?

Postby kosmiccarbon » Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:40 pm

I think their are clinics that can test you for your VO2 max quite expensive though
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Re: V02 Testing?

Postby TheSkyMovesSideways » Thu Jan 21, 2010 4:12 pm

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Re: V02 Testing?

Postby Ant. » Thu Jan 21, 2010 4:30 pm

If you really want to know, and not just an estimate:
http://www.hls.utas.edu.au/exercisetesting.html

However, I see/read 2 contradictory things all the time.
1. You cannot train to improve your vo2 max by any significant proportion.
2. You cannot train to improve your mechanical efficiency by any significant proportion.

If those were true, then how can one make decent gains in their 5min critical power? I think the former is bollocks.
I'd say don't get hung up on your vo2 figure too much, if you go for testing.


As a sidenote, if you (for one reason or another not relating to motivation) can't push the same watts on a really good indoor trainer, and you again suffer this problem when performing a lab vo2 max test, does this mean it underestimates your vo2? I think it would, (because it takes a specific amount of oxygen to pedal at a specific amount of power, presuming mechanical efficiency doesn't change from outdoors/indoors) but would like to hear others' thoughts on this?
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Re: V02 Testing?

Postby toolonglegs » Thu Jan 21, 2010 4:48 pm

I expect you can't improve your VO2max ceiling (your genetic limit)...but you can train to get as close to that limit as possible.
I did a MAP yesterday..expect they have quite a lot to do with VO2max...haven't done any specific above threshold training since my operation...and surprise surprise my MAP test was rubbish.
Also indoors v outdoors...trainer v road in my opinion makes huge difference.My best outdoor 5 minute is 460w (last minute of that interval was 487w)...my best last minute MAP av is 461w...big difference there!.
My VO2max sucks...would be in the 70's via above calculation if I could drop some serious weight!.
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Re: V02 Testing?

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:37 pm

Ant. wrote:However, I see/read 2 contradictory things all the time.
1. You cannot train to improve your vo2 max by any significant proportion.
2. You cannot train to improve your mechanical efficiency by any significant proportion.

1. Depends on where you are at in your development. It's definitely trainable and it's also significantly influenced by body mass. It is also highly influenced by genetics.

2. Is a reasonable statement though not a lot of longitudinal studies exist to definitively say. I say reasonable considering professional bike riders, on average, are no more or less efficient than reasonably trained club riders. If efficiency was trainable to a significant degree, we would expect to see pros, on average, being more efficient given the amount of training they do.

In the end, knowing VO2max is not all that helpful and is a poor indicator of performance potential (within a group at around similar performance levels), since our threshold power output (which is what matters) is also factor of efficiency (which typically varies from ~ 19-23%) and the % of VO2max we can sustain at threshold (which can vary widely from ~65% up to 90% in some freaks). The latter is highly trainable and is why power at threshold is part genetic and part down to the training you do with the training having a huge impact.

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In the above you will see that 1-hour power (FTP), VO2 at LT and TT performance are strongly correlated, but VO2max is not well correlated with either 1-hr power, LT or TT performance.

A rider with a lower VO2max can readily outperform a rider with higher VO2max (within limits).

In the paper "Physiological and Performance Characteristics of Male Professional Road Cyclists" by Iñigo Mujika and Sabino Padilla, the following was observed based on the pro riders tested:

VO2 Level ____________ Avg __ Min __ Max
VO2max (ml/kg/min) __78.8 __69.7 __84.8
VO2LT (%VO2max) _____77 ____74 ___83
VO2OBLA (%VO2max) ___86 ____81 ___91

It is the latter measures along with VO2 Max and Gross Metabolic Efficiency that will dictate physiological performance potential. A high VO2 Max on its own is insufficient - it just allows you entry to the ball park.

Easier and more practical just to measure power output in a time trial, since that combines all of these factors and is what matters.
Which is why Functional Threshold Power is called Functional

Another issue in trying to convert power to VO2max is that they are not measuring the same thing. One is power output, the other is Oxygen utilisation.

In any case, for an approximation, one can take say 5-min mean maximal power, assume an efficiency of say 21% and knowing that a litre of O2 is equivalent to 20.9kJ, back calculate a relative VO2max figure. Of course VO2 max can and does occur at a wide range of powers, so this is only but an estimation for the purposes of curiosity. It has limited, if any, value in training.

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Re: V02 Testing?

Postby Aussiebullet » Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:19 pm

Another thing to consider is 2 riders may have just tested their VO2max and found they have the same absolute VO2 max but their max power output for 4, 5 or even 6min can vary considerably between them even though absolute VO2 is identical! So as said it is a very poor indicator of anything really.

Another good example would be to compare a top triathlete who has the same absolute VO2 max as say... Bradly Wiggins, test their 4-5 min power and FTP and chances are there're both nothing alike.

Best thing to do is just focus on increasing FTP and power at VO2 for various durations 3-8min and get a far better idea of where you are and where you'd like to get to.
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Re: V02 Testing?

Postby JV911 » Fri Jan 22, 2010 8:51 am

kosmiccarbon wrote:I think their are clinics that can test you for your VO2 max quite expensive though


i looked into it a year or so ago and it was about $200 (ergo bike). tells you your VO2 max, LT and HR zones

whould have been nice to do a before and after test

Ant. wrote:1. You cannot train to improve your vo2 max by any significant proportion.


i've read that you can improve by up to 35% :?: but i think that depends on what stage you are at in your development i.e. couch potato or athlete
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Re: V02 Testing?

Postby toolonglegs » Fri Jan 22, 2010 5:01 pm

JV911 wrote:
Ant. wrote:1. You cannot train to improve your vo2 max by any significant proportion.


i've read that you can improve by up to 35% :?: but i think that depends on what stage you are at in your development i.e. couch potato or athlete


My understanding is your VO2 max is a genetic limit....an absolute high point which changes little thru your peak years.What can improved is how close you can get to that upper limit...or am I off track.Only really asking one person we all trust here...no one with their head in the sand.
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Re: V02 Testing?

Postby twizzle » Fri Jan 22, 2010 6:55 pm

toolonglegs wrote:
JV911 wrote:
Ant. wrote:1. You cannot train to improve your vo2 max by any significant proportion.


i've read that you can improve by up to 35% :?: but i think that depends on what stage you are at in your development i.e. couch potato or athlete


My understanding is your VO2 max is a genetic limit....an absolute high point which changes little thru your peak years.What can improved is how close you can get to that upper limit...or am I off track.Only really asking one person we all trust here...no one with their head in the sand.


But as it's related to weight, you can have the same power & oxygen consumption but the heavier rider gets a lower number. The quickest way to gain VO2Max would be to lose weight.

I think the real value is in knowing how much power you produce at VO2, ie, at what point power increases are being delivered anaerobically. That's the number you need to work on, and increases in blood supply to muscles, efficiency of the aerobic processes, size of muscles etc., should deliver increases in the power at VO2.
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Re: V02 Testing?

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Fri Jan 22, 2010 7:20 pm

twizzle wrote:I think the real value is in knowing how much power you produce at VO2, ie, at what point power increases are being delivered anaerobically. That's the number you need to work on, and increases in blood supply to muscles, efficiency of the aerobic processes, size of muscles etc., should deliver increases in the power at VO2.

It doesn't work like that however, it's not a discrete switch aerobic to anaerobic.
Besides, VO2max can be induced at quite a wide range of powers. For example, one should consider the slow component of VO2max.
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Re: V02 Testing?

Postby twizzle » Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:07 pm

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:
twizzle wrote:I think the real value is in knowing how much power you produce at VO2, ie, at what point power increases are being delivered anaerobically. That's the number you need to work on, and increases in blood supply to muscles, efficiency of the aerobic processes, size of muscles etc., should deliver increases in the power at VO2.

It doesn't work like that however, it's not a discrete switch aerobic to anaerobic.
Besides, VO2max can be induced at quite a wide range of powers. For example, one should consider the slow component of VO2max.


I know it's not a discrete switch (aerobic process is still going on), but I though in the ramp test there was a point at which power increased but O2 intake didn't, ie. the increased power comes solely from anaerobic processes. Are you saying that this point is reached at different power levels depending on the ramp rate? Is it consistent if the ramp rate is the same for each test? Or is it a pointless number... in which case I wonder why they went into detail about it in an article in either Ride or BA (can't remember which one).
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Re: V02 Testing?

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:16 pm

twizzle wrote:I know it's not a discrete switch (aerobic process is still going on), but I though in the ramp test there was a point at which power increased but O2 intake didn't, ie. the increased power comes solely from anaerobic processes. Are you saying that this point is reached at different power levels depending on the ramp rate? Is it consistent if the ramp rate is the same for each test? Or is it a pointless number... in which case I wonder why they went into detail about it in an article in either Ride or BA (can't remember which one).

Well VO2max can be induced by a ramp, or by quasi steady state power. I wasn't thinking of ramps in particular. Yes, such tests are protocol dependent.

Don't know the article you mention.
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Re: V02 Testing?

Postby twizzle » Fri Jan 22, 2010 10:01 pm

They had a write-up on two athletes (male/female) doing a full lactate/VO2Max test, and talked about how at a specific point the power would increase but the oxygen uptake wouldn't.
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Re: V02 Testing?

Postby twizzle » Thu Jan 28, 2010 2:50 pm

Latest 'Ride' has a writeup comparing data from Lance and Cadel, talking about the testing methods, power-to-weight, lactate threshold power and VO2Max values and power.
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Re: V02 Testing?

Postby toolonglegs » Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:52 pm

What does it give as LA's VO2?....81-82ish?.
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Re: V02 Testing?

Postby twizzle » Thu Jan 28, 2010 5:45 pm

toolonglegs wrote:What does it give as LA's VO2?....81-82ish?.



LA 81, and CE 87. Conclusion of the article points out that great physiology is a requirement not a differentiator at the elite level. The article is by Dr David T. Martin from the AIS, who did Cadels' numbers. Lances' number are based off published data. He takes care through the article to point out that the LA numbers are not confirmed.
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Re: V02 Testing?

Postby 1q2w3e4r » Mon Feb 08, 2010 11:20 am

twizzle wrote:
toolonglegs wrote:What does it give as LA's VO2?....81-82ish?.



LA 81, and CE 87. Conclusion of the article points out that great physiology is a requirement not a differentiator at the elite level. The article is by Dr David T. Martin from the AIS, who did Cadels' numbers. Lances' number are based off published data. He takes care through the article to point out that the LA numbers are not confirmed.


I read that article also, a good read although hard to come to a definitive conclusion. Its almost as though they were saying Cadel had the better physical "gift" but wasn't able to do as much with it, I don't really buy that argument, he's always trying to have a go I don't think he's a tinman.

What impact would lactic acid levels have? One of the books on LA claims Ferrari has managed to push him no higher than 6.0, I wonder if that would be the same since his comeback.

Maybe the difference in performance isn't down to watts/kilo or V02 max as much as it is the ability to recover greater in a long stage race?
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Re: V02 Testing?

Postby twizzle » Mon Feb 08, 2010 11:24 am

Cadel had the better physiology... purely from a numbers POV. But Lance had the team. Road racing is very much team and/or tactics. Unlike MTB where Cadel made his mark as a solo rider.
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Re: V02 Testing?

Postby nimm » Mon Feb 08, 2010 12:26 pm

And just for some additional comparison, local WA champs Cameron and Travis Myer have VO2 maxes of 70 and 75 respectively, according to their own website: http://cameronandtravismeyer.com.au
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Re: V02 Testing?

Postby Ant. » Tue Feb 09, 2010 9:34 pm

twizzle wrote:Cadel had the better physiology... purely from a numbers POV. But Lance had the team. Road racing is very much team and/or tactics. Unlike MTB where Cadel made his mark as a solo rider.

I think RIDE/everyone else is placing way too much emphasis on vo2 max. I certainly wouldn't use the term "better physiology" based upon it. It's an almost meaningless number.
They don't hand out medals or awards for highest vo2 max blown (sucked?) in a lab that's for sure.
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Re: V02 Testing?

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Wed Feb 10, 2010 7:05 am

Ant. wrote:
twizzle wrote:Cadel had the better physiology... purely from a numbers POV. But Lance had the team. Road racing is very much team and/or tactics. Unlike MTB where Cadel made his mark as a solo rider.

I think RIDE/everyone else is placing way too much emphasis on vo2 max. I certainly wouldn't use the term "better physiology" based upon it. It's an almost meaningless number.
They don't hand out medals or awards for highest vo2 max blown (sucked?) in a lab that's for sure.

From a purely physiological POV, VO2max is a poor indicator of performance / performance potential. Clearly one needs a relatively high VO2max to play in the elite ballpark, but all it does is give you a ticket to the game.

Other factors such as the % of VO2 max you can sustain at threshold and your Gross Metabolic Efficiency determine how much power you can actually sustain. The former is highly trainable, the latter far less so.

O'Grady was once measured at ~ 92 mL/kg/min IIRC. But his threshold W/kg is less than Cadel or Lance.
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Re: V02 Testing?

Postby twizzle » Wed Feb 10, 2010 7:34 am

Which was the conclusion of the article - fantastic numbers was a requirement to compete at the top level, but it didn't make you a winner.
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Re: V02 Testing?

Postby Ant. » Wed Feb 10, 2010 6:30 pm

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:, VO2max is a poor indicator of ... performance potential.

Bugger eh.
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