VO2 Max Testing
This exercise test which helps maximize performance is routinely done on Olympic and professional athletes. VO2 max testing used to be costly and time consuming. Cutting edge technology has now made this testing less costly and available to the average person.
The cardiovascular system’s ability to utilize oxygen can be measured by the volume of oxygen you consume while exercising at your maximum capacity. VO2 max is the maximum amount of oxygen in milliliters, one can use in one minute per kilogram of body weight.
Lactate Threshold Testing
While VO2 Max is important to know as it gives you a comparison to other people, the real value in metabolic testing is in determining the point in which your body relies less on fat as the primary energy source and begins to use carbohydrates as the key energy source. This point of exertion is called the anaerobic threshold (AT) and corresponds to the lactate threshold (LT). The AT is crucial for development of heart rate training zones.
How are VO2 max and Lactate threshold tests performed?
You can either run a treadmill or use a bicycle ergometer on a set protocol, which increases in speed and gradient. This process usually lasts around 10 – 15 minutes depending on the individual. The athlete wears a mask with sensors attached to a metabolic analyzer so that respiratory gases can be measured (Oxygen uptake, Carbon Dioxide production, and total volume).
For multisport athletes it is highly recommended to test both the bike and run as heart rate training zones are different for each sport. Usually running heart rates are slightly higher, but this is not always the case.
The testing helps determine the best program for improvement. It can also help determine what type of “engine” you have and how to improve your weaknesses.