VO2Max

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VO2Max

Postby vander » Mon Aug 22, 2011 7:21 pm

I am wondering if anyone on here has got a VO2max test? If you have how did you go?
I just started training and got one today as a starting point and I wanted to know how far off being competitive I am.
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Re: VO2Max

Postby toolonglegs » Mon Aug 22, 2011 7:56 pm

Knowing your VO2 max is interesting...but not that important...it may tell you what your possibilities may be...but not what they will be.
Knowing what watts you can hold for 5 secs / 1 min / 5min / 1hour then working out your power to weight ratio will tell you everything you need to know in cycling.
SO are you in the 80's or 90's :P .
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Re: VO2Max

Postby vander » Mon Aug 22, 2011 8:20 pm

toolonglegs wrote:Knowing your VO2 max is interesting...but not that important...it may tell you what your possibilities may be...but not what they will be.
Knowing what watts you can hold for 5 secs / 1 min / 5min / 1hour then working out your power to weight ratio will tell you everything you need to know in cycling.
SO are you in the 80's or 90's :P .


You can mostly extrapolate those values from a VO2max test. Those Wattage values do the same thing they tell you your possibilities but not what they will be. Im going to use VO2max tests as a way of monitoring my training. I am already planning the next one in about 6 weeks to see how i improve. VO2 is just another tool, and i thought it was meant to be more exact then the power outputs.
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Re: VO2Max

Postby Eberbachl » Mon Aug 22, 2011 8:23 pm

How expensive is a V02 max test, and where did you have it done?
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Re: VO2Max

Postby toolonglegs » Mon Aug 22, 2011 8:54 pm

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Re: VO2Max

Postby vander » Mon Aug 22, 2011 8:59 pm

Eberbachl wrote:How expensive is a V02 max test, and where did you have it done?


Get it done at uni. I just find studies that are doing one and not much else. Do the study get research quality tests for free. I will read that link TLL thanks.
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Re: VO2Max

Postby vander » Mon Aug 22, 2011 9:10 pm

toolonglegs wrote:http://www.time-to-run.com/theabc/vo2.htm


As I said I am using it to track the progress of my training program. Also from what I have learned it is a more effective for building a training program than using HR max (although without a powermeter I wont be using it for a training program). What I was interested in what other people who are racing that have done a test have got so I can see where I sit in the racing population. VO2max is a good predictor of performance, I know there are many other factors in performance I am just curious where my fitness is at right now. I plan to start racing in about 6 weeks (hopefully 8kg lighter).
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Re: VO2Max

Postby winstonw » Mon Aug 22, 2011 9:28 pm

I doubt there's much point to using VO2max as a baseline. From my understanding, if you are already reasonably aerobically active/fit, you won't improve it significantly.

Performance gains are more likely related to improvements in the percentage of VO2max you can sustain, which is essentially lactate threshold or functional threshold power - the maximum average power you can sustain for an hour, though many coaches use 30 minutes for time efficiency.

If you are studying health sciences, you might consider buying a lactate testing kit and monitor it yourself.
Talk to staff in your sports physiology dept for further info re testing. Accutrend make a handheld diagnostic machine that retails for around $250 and test strips are around $2 each in bulk.
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Re: VO2Max

Postby vander » Mon Aug 22, 2011 9:45 pm

winstonw wrote:I doubt there's much point to using VO2max as a baseline. From my understanding, if you are already reasonably aerobically active/fit, you won't improve it significantly.

Performance gains are more likely related to improvements in the percentage of VO2max you can sustain, which is essentially lactate threshold or functional threshold power - the maximum average power you can sustain for an hour, though many coaches use 30 minutes for time efficiency.

If you are studying health sciences, you might consider buying a lactate testing kit and monitor it yourself.
Talk to staff in your sports physiology dept for further info re testing. Accutrend make a handheld diagnostic machine that retails for around $250 and test strips are around $2 each in bulk.


To a degree yes. The greatest modifier for the effect of training is initial level of fitness. However from what I have learned until you have undertaken formal endurance training consistently for 3-5 years you wont be at your VO2max. After that you only get minor improvements and most of the improvements are what you say (also called peripheral adaptations). I definitely have not had any formal endurance training, ever. Most my training has been weight training, so I'm hoping I'm a long way off my highest possible VO2max (if I am at max I will never be a even decent cyclist).

I might look into seeing if I can get a lactate test at uni from one of the people I do a study for a bit of I scratch there back they scratch mine, hopefully. Definitely cant afford a kit after blowing my budget on a bike (and now looking to buy new tyres already).
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Re: VO2Max

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Tue Aug 23, 2011 2:37 am

vander wrote:You can mostly extrapolate those values from a VO2max test. Those Wattage values do the same thing they tell you your possibilities but not what they will be. Im going to use VO2max tests as a way of monitoring my training. I am already planning the next one in about 6 weeks to see how i improve. VO2 is just another tool, and i thought it was meant to be more exact then the power outputs.

Vo2max is a pretty poor indicator of performance, and definitely inferior to power output in that regard. VO2max will give you a rough idea of performance potential, telling you which ball park you could play the game in but beyond that, if you want to know how you'll perform, go race.

"The best predictor of performance is performance itself" - A. Coggan

Sustainable power to weight ratio is an excellent predictor of performance. Some data from Coyle, summarised in this neat chart by Prof. Chung:

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Note the poor correlation between rider's VO2 max and their lactate threshold, 1 hour power and 40km TT performance. Note the far better correlation between lactate threshold, 1 hour power and 40km TT performance.

One can't measure blood lactate nor VO2 while training and are they are pretty impractical as a guides for to day to day training. Save your money on VO2 tests and BL equipment and get a power meter. Far, far more useful.
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Re: VO2Max

Postby vander » Tue Aug 23, 2011 8:32 pm

(AT) Alex

Highly significant relationships were obtained between Wpeak and VO2max (r = 0.97, P less than 0.0001) and between Wpeak and 20-km cycle time (r = -0.91, P less than 0.001). Thus, Wpeak explained 94% of the variance in measured VO2max and 82% of the variability in cycle time over 20 km. We concluded that for trained cyclists, the VO2max can be accurately predicted from Wpeak, and that Wpeak is a valid predictor of 20-km cycle time.

Hawley, J A. Noakes, T D.
Peak power output predicts maximal oxygen uptake and performance time in trained cyclists.

Shows that VO2max is a good predictor of Peak Power and Peak Power is a good predictor of 20KM TT. This was a paper I was told to look at from a lecturer at uni. I would rather be using race performances to see where I am at. But as I wont be racing for about 6 weeks or so while I build up base fitness I was wondering where I was at now.
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Re: VO2Max

Postby winstonw » Tue Aug 23, 2011 9:36 pm

vander wrote:This was a paper I was told to look at from a lecturer at uni. I would rather be using race performances to see where I am at. But as I wont be racing for about 6 weeks or so while I build up base fitness I was wondering where I was at now.


You might ask the same lecturer which of the many lactate threshold definitions best correlates with functional threshold power.
i.e. baseline +1mmol/L, maximal steady state = 2.2mmol/L, 2.5mmol/L after 10 mins exercise, OBLA 4mmol/L, onset of accelerated lactate accumulation around 4mmol/L, etc, etc. There's a 50 watt range separating various definitions of lactate threshold.

One of the advantages of lactate testing is you can plot lactate rise from baseline, and correlate that to HR (and power).
This has benefits when designing training methods such as lactate stacking.
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Re: VO2Max

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Wed Aug 24, 2011 12:26 pm

vander wrote:(AT) Alex

Highly significant relationships were obtained between Wpeak and VO2max (r = 0.97, P less than 0.0001) and between Wpeak and 20-km cycle time (r = -0.91, P less than 0.001). Thus, Wpeak explained 94% of the variance in measured VO2max and 82% of the variability in cycle time over 20 km. We concluded that for trained cyclists, the VO2max can be accurately predicted from Wpeak, and that Wpeak is a valid predictor of 20-km cycle time.

Hawley, J A. Noakes, T D.
Peak power output predicts maximal oxygen uptake and performance time in trained cyclists.

Shows that VO2max is a good predictor of Peak Power and Peak Power is a good predictor of 20KM TT. This was a paper I was told to look at from a lecturer at uni. I would rather be using race performances to see where I am at. But as I wont be racing for about 6 weeks or so while I build up base fitness I was wondering where I was at now.

The best predictor of 20km time is 20km time. Just go ride one if you want to know that. The problem of course is comparing 20km on different days, since environmental conditions have a substantial impact on what time you get.

The best measure of performance changes therefore is your actual power output. A reasonably good proxy is hillclimb time as that reduces the impact of aerodynamics significantly.

Given your fitness is lowish, then it's even more important to focus on sustainable power output than VO2max per se, since power aggregates changes in VO2max, % of VO2max you can sustain at threshold and gross mechanical efficiency.

Measuring VO2max alone doesn't tell you the % of VO2 you can sustain at threshold, and given that is by far the most trainable element of our physiology that determines our sustainable aerobic power, you are doing yourself a disservice IMO by limiting yourself to VO2max alone.
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Re: VO2Max

Postby ft_critical » Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:22 pm

vander wrote:I wanted to know how far off being competitive I am.


What are you planning to do with the information? Let's say you find out your VO2 Max is Avg. What next?

Then you approve it to 20% above average by training for one year, what next?
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Re: VO2Max

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Wed Aug 24, 2011 2:59 pm

ft_critical wrote:
vander wrote:I wanted to know how far off being competitive I am.


What are you planning to do with the information? Let's say you find out your VO2 Max is Avg. What next?

Then you approve it to 20% above average by training for one year, what next?

Thanks for reminding me about that part in red above.

vander, there is only one way to know how competitive you are/aren't and that's to race. It's pretty simple really.

I mean even in the Professional road cycling ranks, the range of VO2max is quite large. In the paper by Mujika and Padilla, Physiological and Performance Characteristics of Male Professional Road Cyclists, VO2max (ml/kg/min) ranged from 69.7 to 84.8 with an average of 78.8. Mechanical efficiency ranged from 21.5% to 24.5%, average of 23%.

Really, all you can say is that to be a pro, you probably need at least 70ml/kg/min, but having 80 doesn't mean you are going to be any better as a racer (as often such riders have lower efficiency). Some guys test poorly too but still go OK (e.g. Mark Cavendish wouldn't have been selected for UK squads based on his lab numbers).

There's also a similar study on female pros too if interested.

I forgot also, if you are carry a bit of mud round the middle, then your VO2max numbers will easily be changed simply by losing weight, although you may not be substantially fitter.
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Re: VO2Max

Postby vander » Wed Aug 24, 2011 5:23 pm

Thanks for all the info alex very helpful. I know that racing a TT is best and power is next best after that, but as I don't have a Powermeter (though might be able to use a mates if i get a mounting kit) or a race license i cant really do either (also the 20km TT will vary lots from course to course). I was just using VO2max because its pretty easy for me to get done and i can get it done for free as just a basic way of testing myself. My VO2 achieved in this test would of been below my actual max as i was still sore from my Saturday ride anyway. I have a lot of upper body muscle (as i have been pretty much a gym junkie for the last 2 years) as well as a decent amount of fat to loose which is why i was not really looking at my relative VO2max but more my absolute. Will definitely read that article about the physiology's of cyclists I have been looking for something like that.

I am using it as ONE way to track the progress of my training. The guy that i am riding with is at the same absolute VO2max as me and over 20kg lighter than me. He is getting lactate testing and a program written from him would it be wise for me to keep training with him basically following his program or am i better off doing my own stuff?

@ft_critical - It wont change anything maybe just make me train harder it was just curiosity.

Edit: Cant get that article online. Might have to look for it at uni. From that article I'm only .5 under the worst of the athletes, exciting.
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Re: VO2Max

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Thu Aug 25, 2011 1:58 am

vander wrote:Thanks for all the info alex very helpful. I know that racing a TT is best and power is next best after that, but as I don't have a Powermeter (though might be able to use a mates if i get a mounting kit) or a race license i cant really do either (also the 20km TT will vary lots from course to course). I was just using VO2max because its pretty easy for me to get done and i can get it done for free as just a basic way of testing myself. My VO2 achieved in this test would of been below my actual max as i was still sore from my Saturday ride anyway. I have a lot of upper body muscle (as i have been pretty much a gym junkie for the last 2 years) as well as a decent amount of fat to loose which is why i was not really looking at my relative VO2max but more my absolute. Will definitely read that article about the physiology's of cyclists I have been looking for something like that.

I am using it as ONE way to track the progress of my training. The guy that i am riding with is at the same absolute VO2max as me and over 20kg lighter than me. He is getting lactate testing and a program written from him would it be wise for me to keep training with him basically following his program or am i better off doing my own stuff?

@ft_critical - It wont change anything maybe just make me train harder it was just curiosity.

Edit: Cant get that article online. Might have to look for it at uni. From that article I'm only .5 under the worst of the athletes, exciting.

OK, cool. Not many get to test these things for free, so good for you :)

If they are measuring VO2max, hopefully they are also measuring power (accurately). Normally they would as that's how they control the load. That would then also help you get a measure of gross mechanical efficiency.

I'd be more interested in the power data (i.e. what you can actually do).

You don't need a license to go and ride over a 20km course hard ;-) That's just needed for race day. But a hillclimb is a good poor man's power proxy:
http://www.bikeradar.com/fitness/articl ... ting-19175

Your needs and your mate's needs are most likely different and I'd suggest you probably need different training plans.

PM me your email and I'll send you the paper.
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Re: VO2Max

Postby vander » Thu Aug 25, 2011 8:45 am

I kind of did the 20km hard at SOP the other day. I didn't push as absolutely hard as I could but hard enough.

Any hill climbs in Sydney that would be good to do this test on? I might do it on Saturday.

EDIT: Yep they were measuring power for the VO2max and i hope it was accurate, pretty sure it would be as it was for a research paper. How do i find out efficiency?
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VO2Max

Postby sogood » Thu Aug 25, 2011 8:54 am

vander wrote:I kind of did the 20km hard at SOP the other day. I didn't push as absolutely hard as I could but hard enough.

Then that's not a good reference test, is it?
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Re: VO2Max

Postby vander » Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:03 am

sogood wrote:
vander wrote:I kind of did the 20km hard at SOP the other day. I didn't push as absolutely hard as I could but hard enough.

Then that's not a good reference test, is it?


Nope but it was the day after my VO2Max test and I was just going out for an easy ride but once I got there I wanted to push myself a bit and see how I went.
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Re: VO2Max

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Thu Aug 25, 2011 5:34 pm

vander wrote:I kind of did the 20km hard at SOP the other day. I didn't push as absolutely hard as I could but hard enough.

Any hill climbs in Sydney that would be good to do this test on? I might do it on Saturday.

EDIT: Yep they were measuring power for the VO2max and i hope it was accurate, pretty sure it would be as it was for a research paper. How do i find out efficiency?

A hillclimb would be better since environmental conditions will change flat land times so much for same power output. I'll leave it to others to suggest a decent climb.

Ask your testers about efficiency but as a starting point, you can assume an energy value of 20.9kJ per litre of O2 (based on 100% glycogen utilisation) to calculate your energy metabolised.

then chart O2 use expressed as metabolic power production equivalency* v power output at cranks. The slope will be efficiency.

W (metabolised) = 20900 joules * X litres/min of O2 / 60 seconds/min

e.g. say at 280W (at cranks) you were processing 3.7 litres of O2 per min:
Metabolic power = 20900 x 3.7 / 60 = 1289 watts
Mechanical power = 280 watts

GME = mechanical power / metabolic power = 280 / 1289 - 21.7%

Note to everyone:
for a rider of typical efficiency (of which 21-22% is pretty typical), that means the rider is generating 1289W, of which only 280W are reaching the cranks.

Almost the entire balance is given off as waste heat (1289 - 280 = 1009W). By way of comparison, the maximum power consumption by a plug in electric heater turned on full is 2400W.

This is why cooling is so important and why on an indoor trainer it can be really hard to sustain high power outputs - we simply get too hot.

It's also why we have multiple industrial strength fans at the Turbo Studio.
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Re: VO2Max

Postby vander » Thu Aug 25, 2011 6:46 pm

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:A hillclimb would be better since environmental conditions will change flat land times so much for same power output. I'll leave it to others to suggest a decent climb.

Ask your testers about efficiency but as a starting point, you can assume an energy value of 20.9kJ per litre of O2 (based on 100% glycogen utilisation) to calculate your energy metabolised.

then chart O2 use expressed as metabolic power production equivalency* v power output at cranks. The slope will be efficiency.

W (metabolised) = 20900 joules * X litres/min of O2 / 60 seconds/min

e.g. say at 280W (at cranks) you were processing 3.7 litres of O2 per min:
Metabolic power = 20900 x 3.7 / 60 = 1289 watts
Mechanical power = 280 watts

GME = mechanical power / metabolic power = 280 / 1289 - 21.7%

Note to everyone:
for a rider of typical efficiency (of which 21-22% is pretty typical), that means the rider is generating 1289W, of which only 280W are reaching the cranks.

Almost the entire balance is given off as waste heat (1289 - 280 = 1009W). By way of comparison, the maximum power consumption by a plug in electric heater turned on full is 2400W.

This is why cooling is so important and why on an indoor trainer it can be really hard to sustain high power outputs - we simply get too hot.

It's also why we have multiple industrial strength fans at the Turbo Studio.


When I maxed out i was doing 345W at 3.9L/min of VO2. So by your equation it should be:

Mechanical Power = 345
Metabolic Power = 1358.5
Efficiency = 25.3%

Surely this cant be right? 25% is a lot higher then your average 22% and considering that I am untrained (so one would think less efficient) and also he didn't have a fan on (even though it was right there). Something I wasn't too happy about doing the test, but with the breath by breath analysis in my mouth and a nose clip on I was finding other things that annoyed me more.
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Re: VO2Max

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Fri Aug 26, 2011 2:21 pm

vander wrote:When I maxed out i was doing 345W at 3.9L/min of VO2. So by your equation it should be:

Mechanical Power = 345
Metabolic Power = 1358.5
Efficiency = 25.3%

Surely this cant be right? 25% is a lot higher then your average 22% and considering that I am untrained (so one would think less efficient) and also he didn't have a fan on (even though it was right there). Something I wasn't too happy about doing the test, but with the breath by breath analysis in my mouth and a nose clip on I was finding other things that annoyed me more.

Well 25% is not out of the question (it is high but not implausible), however if you were maxed out, then you were also drawing upon anaerobic energy production for a significant proportion of your power output, so no, that's not right. It's sub-max aerobic power you need to look at, i.e. at power levels where anaerobic metabolism is minimal.

Typical GME range might be 18-24%. We are all different, it is correlated with proportion of slow/fast twitch muscle fibre, and it's not easily trainable, less trainable than VO2max and especially less trainable than % of VO2max one can sustain at threshold.
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Re: VO2Max

Postby vander » Fri Aug 26, 2011 3:59 pm

I don't know about for trained individuals but I know for untrained/sick subjects muscle fibre type is highly plastic. However it does definitely have physiological limits that are genetic.

I knew something wouldn't be right about it. I cant remember my submax power output and VO2 from the start of the test.
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Re: VO2Max

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Sat Aug 27, 2011 10:53 am

vander wrote:I don't know about for trained individuals but I know for untrained/sick subjects muscle fibre type is highly plastic. However it does definitely have physiological limits that are genetic.

I knew something wouldn't be right about it. I cant remember my submax power output and VO2 from the start of the test.

I have a vague recollection about sick people and muscle fibre type composition as well but it escapes me right now. I have a feeling these things only go in one direction in trained athletes though.
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