Most of us have either asked, or have been asked this question once in our lifetime. For those of you who are unsure, VO2MAX stands for maximal oxygen uptake, and easily understood as the amount of oxygen you can use at the fastest treadmill speed (for runners), power (for cyclists) and so on, you can maintain. If you have the chance to have your VO2max assessed, it is always a (tough, yet) useful experience. But in all honesty, VO2MAX is something a lot of people fret over, but doesn’t mean a great deal for your training.
What does matter is increasing your VO2max through the training you do regularly. Essentially, if you can use oxygen at a greater speed or power than before, or more than your opponent, you’ll be able to run or ride faster and for longer than them!
So how can this be achieved? As a starting point, we recommend completing 2-3 sessions with us over 6 weeks to see any improvements in your performance. Sessions can be mixed with our Ride or Run Club or HypoxicHIIT, which both contain various interval lengths and intensities. Therefore, you’ll be working above your VO2max and resting below. Many of our clients have gone onto beat their racing and sportive PB’s following this training, but we know you want some more proof…
A recent study provided a group of well-trained cyclists and triathletes a 7 week block of interval training with 2 sessions per week. Each session was composed of intervals varying from 2-3 mins up to 6-8 mins at an intensity of 100-90% peak power as the weeks progressed. One half of the participants completed these sessions in hypoxic conditions (14% inspired oxygen, ~3000 m), and the other half in sea level conditions. The results showed that time trial performance improved in both groups, but VO2MAX only increased in those who completed the sessions in hypoxia. Therefore, interval training in hypoxia leads to greater oxygen use when riding maximally.
Overall, VO2MAX is well-known amongst elite, amateur and recreational athletes. Most importantly, boosting your VO2MAX to go faster for longer is something you can achieve through training with us in the chamber. What are you waiting for!? When your VO2MAX does increase, we won’t stop you from letting us know…
Roels et al. (2005). Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 17, 1, 138-146.