VO2 Max (maximal oxygen consumption): the maximum amount of oxygen taken in, transported and used by the body per minute. Also known as aerobic capacity and measured in millimetres of oxygen, for each kilogram body weight each minute (ml/kg/min).
When we train, our bodies adapt. If the training is of a type that stresses the aerobic energy systems, the adaptations are those that make these systems more efficient:
- cardiac hypertrophy and increased resting stroke volume
- decreased resting heart rate and reduced exercising and maximal heart rate
- increased blood volume and haemoglobin
- increased muscle stores of glycogen and triglycerides and increased myoglobin content of muscle
- increased capilliarisation of muscle, increased number and size of mitochondria and increased concentrations of oxidative enzymes.
Maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max) increases as a result of the above.
It is the level of VO2 max that mainly determines our ability to maintain high levels of intense exercise for more than a few minutes. VO2 max is regarded as an accurate measurement of the athletes' aerobic fitness, since it estimates directly how much oxygen the athlete has available fot ATP resynthesis. The fitter you are in terms of aerobic fitness, the higher your VO2 max.
When you exercise you work at a % of your VO2 max. It is difficult to work at your VO2 max for more than a few seconds and also difficult to achieve your VO2 max when exercising due to motivation and/or fitness.
By and large VO2 max is genetically set. Training will improve the reading of a relatively fit person…