How important is VO2max

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How important is VO2max

Postby a_b » Thu Apr 16, 2009 10:31 pm

Hey everyone

Exactly 1 month ago my VO2max was 32, I do suffer from Asthma but still 32 was graded as below average, currently I increased mine to 49 and I'm feeling I can go on longer rides without getting too puffed.
Now I was wondering how important is VO2max?, what VO2max score should I be aiming for to begin road racing? and what VO2max score should I be at in around 2 months?

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by BNA » Thu Apr 16, 2009 10:37 pm

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Re: How important is VO2max

Postby sogood » Thu Apr 16, 2009 10:37 pm

Criteria for racing is not based on VO2max.

Forget about it and just go race in a grade that suits your current fitness.
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Re: How important is VO2max

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Thu Apr 16, 2009 11:08 pm

1. VO2 Max is not really that good a physiological indicator of performance potential. While a high VO2 Max is necessary to ride, say, the TdF (>= 75 ml/kg/min), a high VO2 Max is insufficient in and of itself to suggest such a performance level is possible. There are a few reasons for that.

2. what is a good indicator and what matters (from a fitness assessment and performance potential perspective) is how much power you can produce at the cranks

3. the power you can produce at the cranks is determined by:
- your VO2 Max
- the percentage of VO2 Max you can sustain for long periods (like say 1 hour)
- your efficiency

it is these latter two elements that are often forgotten but are equally as (if not more so) important. (It is also what Greg Lemond conveniently forgets to mention when he craps on about checking a rider's VO2 Max 'cause he can't believe anyone with a VO2 Max lower than his own -which was something like 92 ml/kg/min IIRC - could be faster than him).

Hence a rider with a lower VO2 Max than another, can very easily be a more powerful rider (for the same body mass), simply because their threshold occurs at a higher % of their VO2 Max, and/or they are a more efficient rider.

In order to become a fitter, more powerful rider, then the thing to focus on is how much power you can produce for a given duration. That is what matters.

Your VO2 Max also varies considerably as your weight changes, so it also helps to know the absolute VO2 Max value in litres per minute so that one can tell if it is mass changes that are resulting in a higher relative VO2 Max and/or actual ability to utilise more oxygen. Using more oxygen means you are converting more fuel to energy output.

energy equivalency of O2 = 21 kJ/L
efficiency can be anywhere from 19-24%, typically
% of VO2 Max at threshold (1-hour TT power) can be 80-90% (maybe lower is the less fit)
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Re: How important is VO2max

Postby brendancg » Thu Apr 23, 2009 5:02 pm

I like to keep it simple so here is how I see it. Did a shuttle run test today which is a test of VO2 max. Easily reached 13.5 and slipped so stopped. So reasonably fit I would say. The problem is I can't win a race. That may be a bit of tactics and knowledge but I am blown away in the sprint. So VO2 max may get you there but strength is the over riding factor to get the win.
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Re: How important is VO2max

Postby Hebden » Thu Apr 23, 2009 7:02 pm

13.5 Is pretty bloody good! Are we talking A grade club races here? How long have you been cycling? There are probably plenty of professional rugby players that have a similar score in the beep test that can't win a cycling print too. :?
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Re: How important is VO2max

Postby brendancg » Thu Apr 23, 2009 7:53 pm

No not A grade, B grade. I think it is a good score but still don't have the leg strength to get up and motor when required. I can go at speed all day, just not motor at the end when it is required. I reckon I am a couple of k's per hour below the really good sprinters. Bit of a boast here but I reckon I was heading to mid 14's if I hadn't slipped on the smooth concrete floor. Got another test on Tuesday on asphalt should not have slipping problem.
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Re: How important is VO2max

Postby AverageSpeed » Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:42 pm

I'm really struggling to increase power. It's early days in the training, just over two months in and 600km, after years of not much. I've built from 25km rides to now feeling pretty good after 50km, and able to complete over 60km and still have enough energy for a normal day. On our twice weekly 50k ride, there is a steady climb lasting about 4km right at the start, a steeper climb with plenty of sharp corners of about 6km just after half way, and a number of shorter hills. We are now averaging over 26kph - 1hr 55min for the ride. I notice that although I'm going up the hills at about as fast as the legs will push, my heartrate at the top is about 120bpm - nowhere near my max heartrate. I'm on the granny ring - 39 front and about 24 or 23 at the back, sometimes having to go down to 25 at the back on the steeper parts; mostly on the seat. So, ENDURANCE is building nicely, and I can rely on a steady burn of effort to be there after a couple of hours riding. It's POWER that is taking its own good time.
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Re: How important is VO2max

Postby sogood » Fri May 01, 2009 12:02 am

AverageSpeed wrote:So, ENDURANCE is building nicely, and I can rely on a steady burn of effort to be there after a couple of hours riding. It's POWER that is taking its own good time.

If you are building "endurance", then you are also building power (in reference to endurance time frame).
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Re: How important is VO2max

Postby toolonglegs » Fri May 01, 2009 2:15 am

You have to give it time...2 months and 600km is less than 75km average a week.It is a gradual process,just look back to when you started and compare it with now...then imagine where you will be in another 2-4 months :D .
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Re: How important is VO2max

Postby AverageSpeed » Fri May 01, 2009 9:12 am

Thanks TLL! Having read the views above, it seems it is not VO2 (MAX) that is the key but more VO2 (sustainable max) over say an hour or more that would define the baseline ability to take in oxygen. The other factors that influence performance would include efficiency, ability to go anaerobic (how deep and for how long and how many times over an hour), and ability to remove lactic acid from the working muscles over time before exhaustion sets in. There also seems to be a balance and trade-off between sheer muscle power (hillclimb and sprint) and ability to supply that muscle over a sustained time.

It's all too hard.. I'm going back to average speed over a known course to measure my ability. That is until the racing bug bites...
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