What is VO2 Max?

When an athlete trains, as the work rate increases, so does the oxygen consumption. As muscle contractions increase the muscles bring in more Myofibrils which produce ever more powerful muscle contractions, resulting in more energy consumption. Demand on the heart and blood vessels increases because they have to supply ever higher levels of oxygen rich blood to the hard working muscles.

As work increases so more oxygen rich blood is required, the heart is forced to pump harder until a point is reached that maximum blood is being delivered by the circulatory system. At this point VO2 max is reached. Because blood supply has reached a plateau muscle work reaches a ceiling.

A man running on a treadmill testing VO2 Max

Oxygen to the rescue

VO2 MAX is the maximum oxygen volume that the body is able to consume at sea level during intense training.

The limiting factor for athletes, aside from genetic considerations, is the delivery of oxygen rich blood to the muscles during intense exertion. Once the athlete has reached the peak of physical training, the next step is to increase the amount of oxygen that the cardiovascular system is able to transport to the muscles. In other words increase VO2 max. VO2 max is a measure of our performance engine. The bigger the VO2 max the higher the ceiling of our sustained performance.


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