What is VO2 Max?
Put simply, your VO2 max is a numerical measurement of your body’s ability to consume oxygen.
It’s not something intrinsic; it’s an external parameter that is affected by things like how many red blood cells you have, how adapted your muscles are to distance running, and how much blood your heart can pump.
Here’s the deal:
In a laboratory, it is calculated by measuring the volume (V) of oxygen (O2) that you consume while running on a treadmill.
In a VO2 max test, you’re hooked up to a breathing mask while you undergo a progressively more difficult treadmill test.
Your VO2 max occurs when your oxygen consumption redlines—this usually happens at a bit faster than your 5k race pace.
At this point, your heart rate is also maxed out, and you’re working pretty hard.
After doing a bit of math involving your rate of oxygen consumption during the exercise test and your body weight, a physiologist can come up with a number that expresses how much oxygen you were consuming running at your hardest.
This number is your VO2 max...
What are normal numbers for a max vo2?
In most people, it will be somewhere between 30 and 90 or even 100 (!!!) in cross country skiers!!! For the technically-inclined, the units are milliliters of oxygen per minute per kilogram of body weight (ml/min/kg).
VO2max value needs to be tested in a lab (you can’t get VO2max without measuring ventilation, oxygen and carbon dioxide concentration of the inhaled and exhaled air)