VO2 FAQs

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What is an ‘UP LAB’?

We are passionate about performance and that includes measuring body function, as well as improving mind and spirit. In order to improve your performance, and to push your current limits, you need to know what your parameters are. We measure these though sophisticated equipment that measures running and cycling VO2 Max, Cycle Power and Cycle Dynamics. These are the three key parameters that swimmers, runners and cyclists can use to understand their strengths and work on their weaknesses. Furthermore, we include a consultation with top experts in the respective fields. Below are some FAQs on VO2 Max Testing answered, including it’s use, how we test, and indicative prices. For more information please contact us directly.

 

What is a VO2 Max Test?

A VO2 Max Test is a measurement that reflects a person’s ability to perform sustained exercise. It is generally considered the best indicator of cardiovascular fitness and aerobic endurance. The actual measurement is “milliliters of oxygen used in one minute per kilogram of body weight.” It is suitable for a wide range of individuals, from the sedentary to elite athletes. At UP Lab we use Korr CardioCoach equipment and specialised software.

 

How is VO2 Max Measured?

VO2 Max is the maximum rate of oxygen consumption that can be attained during the most intense exercise possible. The measurement requires that the subject breathe into an oxygen consumption analyzer during an all-out effort (usually on a treadmill or bicycle) as part of a graded exercise protocol. These protocols involve specific increases in the speed and intensity of the exercise. While exercising, the person wears a mask to collect all the air he breathes in and out for a measurement of the volume of exhaled gas and the concentration of oxygen in that exhaled gas. This determines how much oxygen is used during each minute of the exercise test.

A person’s oxygen consumption rises in a linear relationship with exercise intensity — up to a point. There are specific physiological markers (AeT, AT) that can be detected throughout the test as oxygen consumption is measured. Eventually, oxygen consumption plateaus even if the exercise intensity increases. When the person is no longer able to keep up with the oxygen demands of his muscles and complete fatigue forces him to stop exercising, then his oxygen consumption has reached a maximum, and VO2 Max can be calculated. The test usually takes between 15 and 20 minutes + warm up and cool down.

 

Why Test VO2 Max?

A complete VO2 Fitness test can give trainers and clients the tools to set realistic goals and assess improvement. Studies show that previously sedentary people training at 75% of aerobic power for 30 minutes, 3 times a week over 6 months increase VO2 Max an average of 15-20%. Many people are inefficient exercisers, with no understanding of what specific heart rate, intensity or duration would best help them reach their specific goals such as fat burning, endurance training, or cardio conditioning. An initial VO2 Max test can clarify the specific target heart rates that will enable each individual to reach their fitness goals more effectively, with less fatigue and fewer injuries. Periodic retesting provides motivating feedback as the fitness program progresses.

The test also determines the number of calories burned during every level of exercise, providing valuable information when designing a weight loss program.

VO2 Max testing is a valuable tool for serious athletes to assess performance and evaluate training regimens. Even though extensive training can sometimes cause an athlete to reach a plateau in VO2 Max, he can still use his VO2 Max test results to make further improvements in performance. This is accomplished as he pushes to increase anaerobic threshold (AT) and maintain that threshold for longer periods of time. This enhances both endurance and cardiovascular performance.

 

What is Aerobic Threshold?

Aerobic threshold (AeT) is the first rise or breakpoint in the ventilatory response to increasing rate or grade of exercise. (Sharkey 2002) CardioCoach detects the rise in the ventilatory response and correlates it to your heart rate. The aerobic threshold defines the minimal level of effort that can produce improvement in cardiovascular fitness.

 

What is Anaerobic Threshold?

The anaerobic threshold (AT) is defined as the level of exercise intensity at which lactic acid builds up in the body faster than it can be cleared away. Lactic acid build up generally leads to muscle fatigue and soreness. Vigorous effort can be sustained for an extended duration at exercise intensity levels below the anaerobic threshold. AT can be detected by 2 different means: Ventilatory Threshold, or Respiratory Exchange Ratio threshold.

Respiratory Exchange Ratio (RER) is the ratio of expired carbon dioxide to oxygen uptake at the level of the lung. When Carbon dioxide production exceeds oxygen uptake, the RER crosses 1.00. This is anaerobic threshold.

Ventilatory Threshold (VT) is the point during progressive exercise in which ventilation increases disproportionately to oxygen uptake. Ventilation increases to rid the body of the excess Carbon dioxide from lactic acid build up. AT is detected by pinpointing the take off (rising) point in the Ve/VO2 ratio. (Meyers, 1996)

 

What is the difference between Anaerobic Threshold and Lactate Threshold?

Lactate Threshold is a reference to the accumulation of Lactate in the blood. There are some inconsistencies in the terminology, though. Some use the term to denote the initial rise in lactic acid production. More often, Lactate Threshold is used to describe the maximum steady state effort that can be maintained without lactate continually increasing. This abrupt increase in blood lactate levels is also referred to as the lactate turn point (LT), lactate inflection point (LIP), or onset of blood lactate accumulation (OBLA). (Roberts & Robergs 1997)

The Anaerobic Threshold is defined as the level of exercise intensity at which lactic acid builds up in the body faster than it can be cleared away. Because this is measured by Ventilatory responses (Ve/VO2 or VO2/VCO2), it is often more accurately termed Ventilatory Threshold (VT). (Meyers, 1996)

 

What is the difference between RER and RQ?

Respiratory Exchange Ratio (RER) is the ratio of expired carbon dioxide to oxygen uptake at the level of the lung.

Respiratory Quotient (RQ) is the ratio of expired carbon dioxide to oxygen uptake at the level of tissue or cells. Sometimes this term is used interchangeably with RER, but that is incorrect. A VO2 Max test measures RER. (Meyers, 1996)

 

How does VO2 Max differ between men and women?

Women typically tend to have a lower VO2 Max than men.

 

Does VO2 Max change with age?

For men and women, VO2 Max will decrease by 10% per decade regardless of age and exercise activity.

 

Is VO2 Max affected by a person’s size?

VO2 Max is unique to each person and directly proportional to their height, weight, and body surface area. VO2 Max correlates 0.63 with body mass, 0.85 with fat-free body mass, and 0.91 with active muscle tissue.

 

Does where I live affect my VO2 Max?

VO2 Max is reduced for residents of temperate or tropical areas (compared to those living in circumpolar regions). Also, VO2 Max is reduced by approximately 26% at an altitude of 4,000 meters. This reduction increases as altitude increases.

 

How is the Test carried out?

VO₂ Pretest Requirements

  • Complete the Exercise Readiness Questionnaire (ERQ)
  • Dress in comfortable exercise attire.
  • Refrain from exercise or endurance training for 24-hours prior to test.
  • Avoid food, tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine for at least 3 hours before testing.
  • Continue medications as usual.
  • Exercise warm-up per usual routine.

Conducting the Test

  • The client puts on a mask and heart rate strap. The mask is connected to the CardioCoach™ device via the VO₂ hose.
  • The client exercises on a stationary device such as a bicycle, treadmill, or stair stepper. They gradually increase their intensity over a period of 6 to 20 minutes until the CardioCoach™ indicates that the anaerobic threshold has been detected.
  • The client may progress to maximum effort to determine the maximum VO2 measurement possible at that time.
  • We use a standard protocol across all our tests:
    • Our Treadmill test is a ramp of 3 minutes x5 with progressive inclination
    • Our Stepper test is a ramp of 3 minutes x5 with progressive speed
    • Our Cycle ergometer test is a ramp of 3 minutes x5 with progressive resistance (gearing)
  • At this point, the client may stop exercising and begin a cool down phase.
  • The CardioCoach™ compiles the data, analyzes the results and will print a fitness profile in a simple, insightful report where exercise zones are identified.
  • Our Expert can further customize their client’s workout by utilizing specialised software.
  • Our Expert can work with the client’s coach or advise them directly on exercise goals.

 

What Does it Cost?

The VO2 Max Test Costs In the region of €150 for the full assessment and consult. Special discounts are offered to clubs and coaches for their teams and groups.

 

Do you offer any other tests?

Yes, we measure cycle dynamics to determine cadence efficiency, as well as power output tests (FTP 5 and 20 minutes) on your own bike using Vector Power Pedals. This is one of the most effective methods of measuring and comparing the left and right legs as well as sustained power. Read more here.

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