If you are serious about pushing yourself to new limits in the world of endurance training you ought to know about VO2 max. Whether you are hittin’ it just cuz you wanna lose some body fat, you are a hardcore cycler, or training for a marathon, your VO2 max is central to it all.
But exactly what is it? And if raised levels of it really does give a higher quality of life, how can we increase it? We’re gonna break down VO2 max so you have everything you need; of how you can determine it for yourself, what customizes it, and why it truly matters.
What Is VO2 Max?
The body is composed of eleven complex and rather essential systems, all of them specifically designed to achieve a various job.
The muscular system generates force that transforms into movement. The skeletal system acts as a structure to offer assistance, movement, and security. The respiratory system fuels muscles with assistance from the circulatory system. The respiratory and circulatory system operate in tandem to pump oxygen-rich blood throughout the body, helping maintain all other systems in the process.
When we exercise, the task of pumping oxygen-rich blood while removing carbon dioxide is referred to as cardiorespiratory endurance. It's the level at which your heart, lungs, and muscles collaborate when you're working out for an extended time period. And because cardiorespiratory endurance is figured out by oxygen usage, we describe this commonly as VO2, or the optimum volume of oxygen that's used by the body.
VO2 max, however, is a bit different from basic VO2. Rather, it's thought to be how quick your body can take in oxygen when you're exerting yourself at your optimum rate, or your peak aerobic capacity. It's measured in milliliters of oxygen used per minute per kg of body weight (mL/kg/min).
How Do You Compute VO2 Max?
For expert endurance athletes like bicyclists or skiers, calculating VO2 max needs sophisticated equipment and greatly monitored research environments. A standard test involves breathing oxygen through a mask while going through a treadmill test at a particular speed.
The speed grows more difficult as the physical fitness test progresses, and the participant needs to therefore take in a greater amount of oxygen to power the body's muscles. Throughout the study, the persons greatest VO2 max is figured out, usually after they've sustained their max heart rate for a brief time period.
This testing can be costly, however, and is, for that reason, not suitable for everybody. As a result, physiologists have actually created particular solutions that allow anybody to compute their VO2 max in the house. Doing so takes into account factors that consist of age, resting heart rate, and maximum heart rate. An alternative formula might look something like this:
VO2 max = 15.3 × (MHR ÷ RHR).
In this formula, MHR is your optimum heart rate, and RHR is your resting heart rate.
Though your VO2 max will be partially identified by your age and aerobic endurance, most people can expect theirs to land within a specific range based on their age.
For instance, inactive men in between the ages of 18-25 years can anticipate levels of 30-36 mL/kg/min. Women of the same age and physical capability can expect levels of 28-32 mL/kg/min. On the other hand, an elite endurance professional athlete will often see higher VO2 max figures, often going beyond 60 mL/kg/min.
What Determines VO2 Max?
Age and heart rate are not the only factors that play a role in determining your VO2 max. Due to the fact that aerobic activity is regulated by your heart's ability to pump oxygen-rich blood to the body, the heart's size and strength is a key part. The lungs, meanwhile, must be capable of taking in vast quantities of oxygen that diffuses into the bloodstream. A strong set of lungs will make aerobic workout less requiring, and your VO2 max will increase as a result.
Factors range from cardiovascular fitness to individual training to your body's inherent ability to diffuse oxygen all contribute in governing the optimum amount of oxygen that one can consume. As a result, expert athletes are continuously pressing the limits of training to magnify their max level, utilizing exercise tests, training plans, and fitness trackers whenever possible.
Why Is VO2 Max Important?
Simply put, VO2 max has long been considered the primary indicator of how great you'll be at aerobic endurance and total physical efficiency. Nevertheless, as science has advanced, so too has our understanding of the advantages of a strong VO2 max.
Research continues to show that poor levels of fitness are linked to an increased danger of death from a list of causes, though heart disease stays the biggest hazard. For that reason, greater aerobic fitness levels are connected with numerous health benefits, such as a longer life expectancy, minimized danger of stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, plus enhanced state of mind, improved sleep patterns, and an overall better quality of life.
How to Increase Your VO2 Max
Maybe the one concern individuals usually ask after finding out about VO2 max and its benefits is how they can increase it. The most effective method we utilize to achieve this job is described as High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT for short.
This type of training gets you an increase in maximal oxygen uptake as a means of producing a greater max level. Since HIIT workouts require the body to provide a greater volume of oxygen due to increased needs from exercise, just how much oxygen is consumed relates directly to what the body can achieve.
Typical HIIT plans begin with a stable warm-up followed by short but extremely high levels of cardio followed by a short low level of cardio. The pattern goes back and forth from very high to very low for at least 15 minutes. These bouts of cardio might include intermittent sprints, hill climbs up, and different other jobs that include long intervals. When the exercise is complete, a cool off typically occurs to reduce lactic acid accumulation in the muscle.
If HIIT workouts sound too challenging, nevertheless, routine exercise that increases heart rate and blood volume can be just as efficient. The key is simply to maintain these bouts of exercise over extended periods of time.
Increasing VO2 Max for a Healthier Life.
While VO2 max may appear like a figure used solely by expert endurance athletes, in reality, it serves us in many other ways. Used not only as a predictor of total efficiency, it's likewise an indication of one's general health and can even be utilized as a tool to help predict health dangers to come.
This seemingly basic number has actually changed the manner by which we assess one's aerobic abilities as research continues to push our understanding of what optimum oxygen intake really means.
As with many exercise-related stats, however, your VO2 max is just as essential as the manual labor you carry out to increase it. Following basic workout standards or customized workout prescriptions will change your max level with time, and in turn, result in a much better overall quality of life. As it ends up, VO2 max is far more than just another number.