VO2max: Determining Your Aerobic Exercise Potential

VO2max precisely determines the aerobic exercise potential of an individual through the use of mathematical calculation. You have the ability to calculate your own VO2max through at home tests in order to have a better idea of the maximum range that you could eventually pass.

VO2max Calculation

Sometimes referred to as the aerobic exercise capacity or the maximum oxygen level consumption, VO2max serves as a measurement that gives you an idea of what your current physical fitness abilities include. The measurement calculates the highest volume of oxygen that your body has the ability to consume during a period of time. Without oxygen, muscles in your body cannot operate or function, which makes VO2max an excellent piece of information for everyone to know.

Calculating your own VO2max requires a period of intense aerobic exercise. Running in place, sprinting or maxing a treadmill out for a short time will give you a good estimated read. Performing the test multiple times and averaging the VO2max results will provide you with the most accurate reading.

VO2max = (d12 – 505) / 45

This equation, developed by a man named Ken Cooper in during the 60’s, provides an accurate read when you perform aerobic exercise for 12 minutes, as in the d12. The d gets substituted with the total distance traveled, in meters, within the 12 minute session. If you change the number to something other than 12, meaning you run or perform aerobic exercise for longer or less than 12 minutes, the equation will not provide an accurate result.

Another calculation type that you have the option of using requires two different heart rate readings, the resting heart rate and the max heart rate. Performing intensive physical activity for a fixed length of time often provides the best way for you to determine your max heart rate. The equation will only work if you provide accurate readings for both heart rate types. Again, repeating the equation several times in order to get an average provides the best way to determine your actual VO2max.

VO2max = 15 x (Max Heart Rate / Resting Heart Rate)

Using VO2max and Facts

The use of VO2max has proven valuable in several scientific studies, as the measurement remains the most effective way to determine the aerobic exercise potential in both men and women. You most likely have some idea of what your physical fitness abilities include.

Several general VO2max facts have surfaced through the course of its introduction.

  • Men generally have at least 50% higher VO2max levels than women.
  • Climate greatly affects your VO2max level, for example mountainous regions often naturally expand lung and air capacity of the inhabitants that live in those areas.
  • Increased VO2max levels helps those involved in aerobic exercise perform longer, more intense workout sessions
  • Sports in which cardiovascular exercise primarily serves as the dominant physical activity, such as cross country running, swimming, rowing, cycling and cross country skiing require most athletes to have very high VO2max levels.

Using VO2max helps you reach higher goals and ultimately get in better shape; the measurement and testing serves as a great way to motivate yourself and become more able to perform harder, longer training sessions.


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