My Way of Living + vo2 max

V02Max for Dummies?

So what's the beef with this VO2Max thingamajigie? You constantly hear or read about it in sporting journals, or mentioned during any endurance sport-related writeup. From a layman's standpoint, whatever it is, if you have high levels of it, you must be good! I first heard of it when reading anything on Lance Armstrong's training regimen. They kept on saying that he had unusually high levels of it. So after several years, that "thing" that sounds like a brand of a PC videocard suddenly took on a greater relevance for me since I have started running. I became curious. What's does it do? What is it exactly? Can I improve on it? I did some research on the subject matter, and this what I learned. It turns out, VO2 max is a measure of the maximum volume of oxygen that an athlete can use, and is measured in mililitres per kilogram of body weight. Quite simply, when you increase your effort when exercising, the amount of oxygen needed to produce energy also increases. Turns out however that there's a maximum level of oxygen consumption, which when breached would no longer lead to increases in oxygen usage. As it is, it's generally considered the best indicator of cardiorespiratory endurance and aerobic fitness. However, as we’ll discuss in a moment, it is more useful as an indicator of a person's aerobic potential or upper limit than as a predictor of success in endurance events. Apparently, there are differing schools of thought on Vo2 max. Some think it is a core element which should be improved upon if you wish to achieve your maximum physical ability. On the flipside, some researchers believe it is merely a measure of of one's oxygen usage at maximum energy output. They hazard that it is not the critical factor which determines performance; but more of a consequence of other limiting factors. Whatever the reasoning may be, at the very least we can be sure that it's a definitive measure of exercise intensity at one's oxygen plateau. Ok, so what more can we get with this Vo2 thing? How can you even know what yours is? There are several methods, one of which is to calculate from your races. A formula was given, but I got super confused - VO2 Max=(-4.60 + 0.182258 * velocity + 0.000104 * velocity^2)/(0.8 + 0.1894393 * e^(-0.012778 * time) + 0.2989558 * e^(-0.1932605 * time)) If you could make something out of that, congratulations! So can we actually improve on our VO2 max? It seems a fair share of it is determined by our genes, but training can improve it by 5-20%.

How do I compare with the general population?

Female (ml/kg/min)

PoorPoorFairGoodExcellentSuperior13-19<25.025.0 - 30.931.0 - 34.935.0 - 38.939.0 - 41.9>41.920-29<23.623.6 - 28.929.0 - 32.933.0 - 36.937.0 - 41.0>41.030-39<22.822.8 - 26.927.0 - 31.431.5 - 35.635.7 - 40.0>40.040-49<21.021.0 - 24.424.5 - 28.929.0 - 32.832.9 - 36.9>36.950-59<20.220.2 - 22.722.8 - 26.927.0 - 31.431.5 - 35.7>35.760+<17.517.5 - 20.120.2 - 24.424.5 - 30.230.3 - 31.4>31.4

Male (values in ml/kg/min)

PoorPoorFairGoodExcellentSuperior13-19<35.035.0 - 38.338.4 - 45.145.2 - 50.951.0 - 55.9>55.920-29<33.033.0 - 36.436.5 - 42.442.5 - 46.446.5 - 52.4>52.430-39<31.531.5 - 35.435.5 - 40.941.0 - 44.945.0 - 49.4>49.440-49<30.230.2 - 33.533.6 - 38.939.0 - 43.743.8 - 48.0>48.050-59<26.126.1 - 30.931.0 - 35.735.8 - 40.941.0 - 45.3>45.360+<20.520.5 - 26.026.1 - 32.232.3 - 36.436.5 - 44.2>44.2

What is the VO2 max of elite athletes?

Here is a sample of measured VO2 max for selected athletes.

AthleteEventVO2 MaxBjorn DaehlieCross country skier90.0Miguel IndurainCyclist (winner of Tour de France)88.0John Ngugi5 times world cross country champ85.0Dave Bedford10km World Record holder85.0Steve Prefontaine1 mile in 3:54.684.4Lance ArmstrongCyclist (winner of Tour de France)84.0Joan BenoitMarathon runner (2:24:52)78.6Bill RodgersMarathon runner (2:09:27)78.5Sebastian CoeMiddle distance (1 mile WR)77.0Grete WaitzMarathon runner (WR 1980)73.0Frank ShorterMarathon runner71.0Derek ClaytonMarathon runner (WR 1969)69.7

So there, after reading all of that, I still am a little iffy on the topic, maybe because I'm not a numbers guy. And I still think that if you have more of it, that's a good thing! :) I hope you guys got something out of it though! Tell me what you think!

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V02Max for Dummies? + vo2 max