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VO2 What?

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On the planet of endurance, it appears you can’t discuss health with out speaking about VO2 max. Ask any endurance athlete about it and you will hear epic tales with names like Indurain, LeMond, and Armstrong. Nevertheless, a lot of you might be questioning what precisely is VO2 max and why is it so vital. To higher perceive this idea, let’s return to highschool, extra exactly in physiology class. In response to the Necessities of Energy Coaching and Conditioning handbook, VO2 max is the utmost quantity of oxygen in milliliters, which can be utilized in a single minute per kilogram of physique weight (ml / kg / min). In different phrases, most oxygen uptake (VO2 max) is the best quantity of oxygen that can be utilized on the mobile degree for the entire physique. VO2 max has been proven to correlate effectively with a person’s degree of health and has been accepted as an index of complete physique health. Many research present you can improve your VO2 max by coaching at an depth that raises your coronary heart price between 65 and 85% of its most, for no less than 20 minutes, three to 5 instances per week. The estimated common worth of VO2 max for male athletes is roughly 3.5 liters / minute, and for feminine athletes, roughly 2.7 liters / minute.

Now that we all know what VO2 is, we will now reply the query: “Why is that this so vital?” For the endurance athlete, VO2 has lengthy been thought-about the holy grail of health. The widespread reasoning is that the higher one can use oxygen, the upper the extent one can carry out in endurance occasions. However is that this actually the case?


Whereas VO2 max is a vital element of any endurance program, I’ve each excellent news and dangerous information for these of us who might not have chosen the proper dad and mom! The dangerous information is that in response to train physiologist Neal Henderson, athletic science coordinator on the Boulder Heart for Sports activities Drugs in Colorado, VO2 is about 80% genetic. Different estimates place this quantity between 30 and 60%. Regardless of the quantity, one factor is definite; there’s a genetic ceiling for VO2. The excellent news is that VO2 will be educated. Sadly, if Neal Henderson’s 80% estimate is right and your VO2 is, for instance, 45ml / kg- / min (on common), your finest would possibly solely be 52ml / kg- / min after a achieve of 20% (52 ml / kg- / min is taken into account good or simply above common).


To place that in perspective, Lance Armstrong recorded at round 84ml / kg- / min, whereas cross-country skier Bjorn Daehlie measured at an astonishing 96ml / kg / min. The very best VO2 max ever recorded within the laboratory was 300ml / kg / min! This, in fact, didn’t belong to a human, however somewhat to a pronghorn antelope. How they made the antelope run on the treadmill, I am going to by no means know, however I promise I am not making this up. Thoroughbred horses have a VO2max of round 180ml / kg / min, and Siberian canine collaborating within the Iditarod Path Sled Canine Race have VO2 values ​​as excessive as 240ml / kg / min. So as to add much more perspective, Olympic marathon winners and elite runners like Jeff Galloway, Alberto Salazar and Frank Shorter rank among the many lowest within the mid-Nineteen Seventies (see Desk 2 for an inventory of athletes and their Respective VO2).

The excellent news is that, just like the runners talked about earlier, whilst you could also be at your genetic potential, there are lots of elements apart from VO2 max that may affect your endurance success as effectively. Bettering effectivity and financial system of motion in addition to growing your anaerobic threshold (LT) can result in efficiency enhancements within the absence of a rise in VO2. These three components can all be addressed as a part of a useful energy coaching program. Now let’s take a better take a look at every of those parts.

Persevering with, in our physiology lesson, this is able to be a superb time to speak concerning the lactate threshold (LT) and its relationship to VO2. Dr. Stephen Seiler of the Physiology and Efficiency of Grasp Athletes states: “For the endurance athlete, a excessive VO2 max is like having an invite to the large dance, however having an invite to bounce doesn’t assure. not that you’ll dance with the prettiest lady. ” If you wish to dance with this lady, you are going to must work in your LT! (And also you thought it was massive weapons and washboard abs that attracted women) LT, as famous in certainly one of my earlier posts (see Lactic Acid; The Good, the Dangerous, and the Ugly), is the purpose the place the physique produces extra lactic acid than it will possibly take away. LT coaching will trigger a lower in lactate manufacturing at any given train depth. Untrained people usually obtain LT at round 60% VO2 max. Which means though my VO2 is 70ml / kg / min, which is an elite degree, I can solely use 60%, or 42ml / kg / min (on common), earlier than my LT m ‘stopped. With coaching, nevertheless, LT can improve from 60% to over 70% or much more. Elite endurance athletes usually have an LT of 80% or extra of VO2 max. Whereas most endurance athletes normally practice LT within the pool, on the bike, or whereas working, now we have a number of protocols within the health club designed particularly to enhance LT. As well as, because the specificity of motion is essential throughout LT coaching, these protocols concern each the decrease and higher physique (see Desk 1).

Lastly, we will now deal with effectivity and financial system of motion. The distinction between effectivity and financial system in an train setting is that, for a given power consumption, financial system is measured as pace of motion, whereas effectivity is measured as energy. mechanical output. What does all of it imply? Which means effectivity and financial system will be simply as vital as VO2 or LT. To higher perceive this idea, take into consideration the final time you went for a gaggle journey. Was it simpler to drag within the entrance or to sit down down? Sit down in fact! Why is that? As a result of sitting permits extra environment friendly actions and fewer effort, which is able to help you be extra economical. Consider every joint of a given motion as a possibility for present leakage. The extra joints concerned in a motion, the extra risk there’s of present leakage; the extra steady the seal, the much less present leakage; the much less present leakage, the extra effectivity there’s in a given exercise.


So how do these ideas apply to energy coaching? Typically instances, I’m requested to observe somebody run on the treadmill and watch their step. As an alternative, I ask them to do 10 entrance sections on one leg. If it is troublesome, it tells me that their hips aren’t as steady as they might be and their gait won’t be pretty much as good correctly. The identical goes for the shoulder joint. If you cannot deal with a set of T-stabilizer pumps with good condition, your swim will not be as environment friendly and economical because it might be.

Now, for all of you skeptics, all I am asking you to do is strive. Perhaps earlier than the subsequent time you are going to check your VO2 (it is completely no enjoyable) you would first strive looking at your anterior elements or your push-ups or the protocol listed within the Desk 1. These options usually are not meant to level out your shortcomings or embarrass you, however somewhat to empower you. Relatively than whining about genetics (although, belief me, I nonetheless do), strive testing your limits in a number of the methods talked about earlier. I guarantee you that you can find what my most profitable shoppers have discovered; that thanks to a whole program of useful bodybuilding, financial system, effectivity and lactate threshold will be improved, making the utmost VO2 much less vital.

Desk 1
Tremendous legs
Notes on the repetitions of the workout routines
Pace ​​Squats 20 20 repetitions in lower than 20 seconds in parallel
Lunges 20 (10 per aspect) Alternate legs, knee simply above the ground
Shuffle / Break up bounce field 20 (10 per aspect) Use a 9 “field
Squat jumps 10 Squats in parallel and no relaxation between jumps
Full the entire circuit with out resting in lower than 1h30

Desk 2
VO2 Athlete Sport
92.5 Greg LeMond Skilled bicycle owner
92.0 Matt Carpenter Pikes Peak, Marathon Course Report Holder
91.0 Harri Kirvesniem Finnish cross-country skier
88.0 Miguel Indurain Skilled bicycle owner
87.4 Marius Bakken Norwegian 5km report holder
85.0 World report Dave Bedford 10 km
84.4 Steve Prefontaine American runner
84.0 Skilled bicycle owner Lance Armstrong
82.0 Olympic Champion Kip Keino 1500
81.1 World Cross Nation Champion Craig Virgin x2
81.0 Jim Ryun US miler WR assist
80.1 Steve Scott US miler 3:47
78.6 Joan Benoit 1984 Olympic marathon champion
78.5 Invoice Rodgers 2:09:27 marathoner
77.4 Don Kardong 2:11:15 marathoner
77.0 km from Sebastian Coe 1500 WR
76.0 Alberto Salazar 2:08:51 marathoner
74.4 Johnny Halberstadt 2:11:44 marathoner
73.3 Bruce Fordyce Ultramarathoner
73.0 Jeff Galloway Operating Skilled
73.0 Buddy Nobles 2:14:28 world marathoner report (1963)
72.3 Olympic Champion Peter Snell
71.3 Frank Shorter, winner of the US Olympic marathon
71.2 Ingrid Kristiansen Former marathon world report holder
70.3 Willie Mtolo 2:08:15 marathoner
67.2 Mota Rose Marathon Runner



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