Questions and Answers

What is a VO2 Max Test?
Why Test VO2 Max?
What is Aerobic Threshold?
What is Anaerobic Threshold?
What is the difference between Lactate Threshold and Anaerobic Threshold?
Does VO2 Max change with age?
Is VO2 Max affected by a person’s size?
Does where I live affect my VO2 Max?

Q: 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 AMP Fitness we use Korr CardioCoach equipment and specialized software.

Q: Why Test VO2 Max?

A complete VO2 Fitness test can give trainers and clients the tools to set realistic goals and assess improvement. 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 also 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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)

Q: What is the difference between Lactate Threshold and Anaerobic 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)

Q: Does VO2 Max change with age?

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

Q: 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.

Q: 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.