VO2 Testing

Jun 10, 2023

Determining your VO2max is considered the best indicator of one’s cardiovascular fitness and aerobic endurance. VO2max is the volume of oxygen the body uses during one minute of maximal exercise. It is used to determine an individual’s fitness level and can be compared against the average individual, as well as competitive athletes in the same age group. Vo2 max tests are widely regarded as the gold standard for assessing cardiovascular fitness.

VO2max Testing Explained

This is THE exercise test to determine training heart rate zones to drastically improve your endurance. Elite aerobic athletes typically have high VO2 maxes. Increasing your VO2 allows you to perform at a higher level in your sport or whatever physical activity you choose. To complete a VO2max test, you simply breathe through a mouthpiece connected to a metabolic analyzer while wearing a heart-rate monitor. The testing will take place on a treadmill. You will begin the test by walking and work your way into running.

What is VO2max Testing Used For?

Even if you are not an athlete, increasing your VO2max can benefit your overall health. A lack of cardiovascular fitness is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and many other health concerns. The VO2max testing will be used to evaluate your fitness level, make exercise recommendations for training, and measure fitness improvements. Testing is the only way to learn the most efficient workout intensities for your unique physiology. 

How to Improve Your VO2

You can improve your VO2max in two different ways: by raising the volume of blood your heart can pump and by boosting the amount of oxygen your muscles can take in. To achieve this, you can do the following:

  • Do High Intensity Exercises: performing exercises that get your heart rate up to near your max heart rate will strengthen your heart muscles and increase the blood volume it pumps with each beat. 
  • Train In Intervals: alternate periods of rest with high-intensity activity.
  • Challenge Yourself: as you make progress in improving your VO2, you will need to train at a higher level to continue to see improvements.

Test Your VO2max at Peak Sport & Spine

As always, before starting any new physical activity, it’s important to speak with a health professional to be sure you can do so safely, especially for higher-intensity exercises. Here at Peak Sport & Spine, we can complete VO2max testing for you and create a training program that will be both beneficial for you and safe. Find a location near you and start improving your health today!

Arik Poremba PT, DPT

Doctor in Physical Therapy

RACE-Project Sport Biomechanics Lab 

Peak Sport and Spine /Partner 

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