Vo2 Max Training, a necessary component for all!


Vo2 max is all about the amount of oxygen our bodies can process and ultimately transport to the working muscles. It is measured in oxygen uptake per kilogram.

Lung capacity of adults will not increase but the efficiency to “uptake” oxygen can be improved and for the older athletes be maintained or degradation delayed for many years.

Many athletes do not enjoy short intervals at high intensities. The good news is that vo2 max intervals do not take that long to perform as part of a workout. A good way is to find a fun way to do it. At Redhub indoor studio, using a Kickr trainer and following a set VO2 max program in a structured fashion, riders perform the quality and have some fun in the process.

So why do Vo2 max intervals, when you are a marathon rider or a Triathlete where the most important number is functional threshold power, right? Well not really. For a start functional threshold power is a power output at a percentage of Vo2 max. If we lift Vo2 max, we create some space for functional threshold power to expand into! Higher Vo2 max = potential and real higher functional threshold power, simple as that.

Vo2 max intervals are typically 2-3 minutes in length at 105 to 120 % of functional threshold power. For those who does not have a power meter handy (by far the best way to train and available at Redhub Studio), Vo2 max intervals is about the best effort you could hold for 4 minutes if performing only one interval. Typically 3 – 4 intervals are performed at shorter durations such a s 2-3 minutes each.

Vo2 max intervals produce some further “good” by products, such as teaching the body to buffer lactic acid and to disperse lactic acid. The result of better management of lactic acid, improves our ability to stay in the “red” longer and to recover quicker. A very important component for events such as Cross Country MTB or to stay with a group in the 94.7 on one of those short steep hills.

Finally dedicated VO2 max training , together with sufficient recovery and balanced riding, is often the best way to break through that performance Plato , experienced by all athletes when that current level is stubbornly static!

W Esterhuyzen -27 September 2016

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