How does my VO2 compare to pro cyclists?

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The difference between us mere mortals and a "successful" pro is not exactly VO²Max or power at threshhold (although these guys excel there as well for whatever reason...). I have access to power files of many domestic and international Pros and there are many around "only" 70 ml/min/kg.

The key difference is lactate build rate. Road racers have a lower build rate than criterium racers who have a lower rate than pure track sprinters. To put it short: it takes them longer to "blow up" during submaximal efforts.

Low lactate build rate is a genetic talent but it can be trainined by long steady L2/L3 rides. Apart from whatever it took to morph Jaja to a decent mountain goat it was about lots of training at the correct pace.
 
Alpe d'Huez said:
I believe Thomas Wassberg, Olympic XC he-man showed a VO2Max over 90 in the pre-epo era. But I'll let others correct me if I'm wrong.

I have never heard anything about Thomas Wassberg VO2 Max and I have read a book about swedish XC-skiers but based on his performance I'd say that a VO2 Max of 90+ seems resonable.

I am a little curious though, can EPO or any PED's increase your VO2 Max?

Escarabajo said:
That list doesn't seems to be totally accurate. A XC-skier namned Sven-Åke Lundbäck tested for an 94.6 mL/kg/minute, an inoffcial world record at the time.

Regarding Lundbäck test value, it was thought at first that it was something wrong with the device or the test because of Lundbäck high value. The British runner David Bedford had just before Lundbäck (-72) recorded 85 mL/kg/minute in England, one sensationelt result that was something of an unofficial world record. So Lundbäck had to do another test, and yet another, and yet another. At the fourth attempt they realized that everything was correct and that Lundbäcks results was off the chart.

Another XC-skier who isn't named on that list is Per Elofsson. He tested for an astonishing 88 mL/kg/minute when he was 20 years old! :eek: This guy was inhuman, bested a fully fit Bjørn Dæhlie at the age of 21. Though I am not sure about Bjørn Dæhlie's test result. His 96.0 hasn't been properly verified in my opinion.

I am not certain but I think Per Elofsson later recorded an even higher result in 2001 but I can't find any numbers.
 
Aug 11, 2009
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I don't think this point has been addressed yet in this thread:

When comparing VO2 readings across sporting disciplines, it's useful to remember that there are many different testing protocols used. Also, the activity matters. Many top-level exercise physiologists have told me that running tends to produce the highest VO2 reading for any given athlete--maybe because humans are best adapted to walking and running. Runners and most x-c skiers are tested while treadmill running. Cyclists are tested on cycle ergometers to get better functional knowledge, even if running might produce a slightly different number. The same applies for rowers, who are tested on rowing machines. I have no idea what they do for swimmers, but my guess would be treadmill running in most cases.
 
Dec 21, 2010
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Exercise & protocols

My limited understanding is that the VO2 max values recorded by the different sports is influenced strongly by the amount of muscle-mass that is active, i.e. oxygen demand, with XC skiers being the highest, particularly the "skate" discipline, then runners, followed by rowers and cyclists (the latter two are seated sports, thus less of trunk-support muscle is utilized).

Also there is a significant element of exercise-specific adaptions which will come into play, so that comparisons across sports, even within a sport (differing discplines) will not be directly comparable.

Differing test protocols can yield wildly varying results. One example being that over a period of 6 weeks when I was apparently fitter (by other measurable parameters - heart rate, breathing rate, power over 5 min interval) and lighter, yet with two differing test protocols on "calibrated" SRM Ergometers, my VO2Max dropped from 67 to 59ml/kg/min.....:confused:
 
whittashau said:
http://www.mapeisport.it/public/IvanBasso/vo2max_nov08_commen.pdf

here's another test done with Basso. I couldnt find any newer ones.
You posted this earlier
http://www.mapeisport.it/IvanBasso/p...ax_test_EN.pdf

Basso jumped from 69 kg to 75.1 kg in just 22 days!!! From 5 nov to 22 Nov 2008.

Do they have thanksgiving meals in his family???

Are we to understand that the 2nd test is a proper test?
Anyway his mechanical efficiency was higher on the 2nd test.
At threshold 395/355 = 1.11 lt O2/min
efficiency 1.11/4.77 = 23.3%.


Another way to look at it 395/4.771 = 82.8 Watts/liter O2

(L.A. in Coyle's paper Nov 99 : 404/5 = 80.8 watts/liter O2.)
 
Walkman said:
.........
I am a little curious though, can EPO or any PED's increase your VO2 Max?
.......
.
Of course, with EPO in particular the VO2 max goes off the chart.

As documented here, in this thread, L.A. had at his best an "official" VO2 max of 82-83, yet with everything that was published about him in the july 96 issue of Scientific American and the info I mentionned earlier from Coyle's paper, I conclude that he needed at least 94 ml/mn.kg to climb Alpe d'Huez as fast as he did on a few occasions. Coincidentally that is also Jonathan Vaughters' estimate.

JV should know, he was not far from that value when he climbed Ventoux in 56:50 in that 1999 Dauphiné Libéré TT, performance which he apparently would rather forget.

A few years ago I found on the web a test chart of a French pro, among the best, pre Festina affair. If read at face value his VO2 max must have been above 100. As soon as I enquired about it, wanting to have more details, the chart disappeared from the web.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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ergmonkey said:
When comparing VO2 readings across sporting disciplines, it's useful to remember that there are many different testing protocols used. Also, the activity matters. Many top-level exercise physiologists have told me that running tends to produce the highest VO2 reading for any given athlete--maybe because humans are best adapted to walking and running. Runners and most x-c skiers are tested while treadmill running. Cyclists are tested on cycle ergometers
Statistically speaking, there is no difference in VO2max when cyclists are tested on ergometers vs. a treadmill. On average, though, the mode-specific values tend to be slightly higher (IOW, the treadmill result is really a VO2peak).
 
Mar 19, 2010
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It seems incredible LA's VO2max is such a quagmire. Why don't people know? It's fairly constant and varies little despite training status.

Many moons ago I tested over 90 ml/kg/min twice, with a direct sampling thing and a short protocol, but 79 (not trained as a cyclist) when I had to fill several Douglas bags over periods of 4 min.

I am no Lance Armstrong. It's kind of a pointless statistic as far as I can make out.
 
acoggan said:
I'm curious...would you consider it more or less of a "joke" than this study?

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15241718

(Note the abnormally low gross efficiencies.)
Much more of a joke, and I will tell you why even though that will cut on my time outdoors.

When testing pros, Lucia is dealing with athletes that produce if not equal at least comparable amount of watts/kg at let's say ventilatory threshold.

The power produced is essentially the product of VO2 times mechanical efficiency.

If you have an equation of the type
P = V times E

OBVIOUSLY if P is held more or less constant and if V is considerably reduced among some elements of the group, it means than their E must be significantly higher.

Basically I don't understand how such a study could be accepted for publication. Guess it wasn't peer-reviewed. If you had been asked to review it you would probably have told Lucia and al to go check 1) their equipment and 2) their methodology.

As for this article
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15241718

I might raise an eyebrow, but wouldn't throw it in the trash immediately, I would like to see the full article.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Le breton said:
Much more of a joke, and I will tell you why even though that will cut on my time outdoors.

When testing pros, Lucia is dealing with athletes that produce if not equal at least comparable amount of watts/kg at let's say ventilatory threshold.

The power produced is essentially the product of VO2 times mechanical efficiency.

If you have an equation of the type
P = V times E

OBVIOUSLY if P is held more or less constant and if V is considerably reduced among some elements of the group, it means than their E must be significantly higher.

Basically I don't understand how such a study could be accepted for publication. Guess it wasn't peer-reviewed. If you had been asked to review it you would probably have told Lucia and al to go check 1) their equipment and 2) their methodology.

As for this article
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15241718

I might raise an eyebrow, but wouldn't throw it in the trash immediately, I would like to see the full article.
Sorry to cut into your riding time...you didn't have to explain (to me, anyway) how VO2, power, and efficiency are related.

Anyway, Lucia et al. reported an average gross efficiency for world class cyclists of 24.5 +/- 0.7%. Jeukendrup et al., OTOH, reported an average value of only 17.9 +/- 0.3%. As far as I am concerned they both seem suspicous, but Lucia et al.'s data seem closer to the norm than Jeukendrup et al.'s.

The irony here, of course, is that Asker, Dave Martin, and Chris Gore took sufficient exception to Lucia et al.s data that they wrote a letter-to-the-editor...then Asker turned around a year later and published his own rather suspect data!
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Fester said:
It seems incredible LA's VO2max is such a quagmire. Why don't people know?
Because he hasn't shared the data?

Fester said:
It's fairly constant and varies little despite training status.
Starting from the untrained state, VO2max increases by 15-25% with moderate training, and by up to 40-60% with more extended/prolonged/intense training. Moreover, even in a highly-trained athlete, it isn't uncommon for VO2max to vary +/- 10% in/out of season. Thus, measurements made years apart may not be particularly informative, especially if the tests were done in different laboratories (at long as the person achieves VO2max, the test protocol doesn't matter...but unfortunately there are all-too-often variations from one lab to another in the accuracy/precision of the equipment used to measure VO2).
 
acoggan said:
Because he hasn't shared the data?



Starting from the untrained state, VO2max increases by 15-25% with moderate training, and by up to 40-60% with more extended/prolonged/intense training. Moreover, even in a highly-trained athlete, it isn't uncommon for VO2max to vary +/- 10% in/out of season. Thus, measurements made years apart may not be particularly informative, especially if the tests were done in different laboratories (at long as the person achieves VO2max, the test protocol doesn't matter...but unfortunately there are all-too-often variations from one lab to another in the accuracy/precision of the equipment used to measure VO2).
Really?, I was under the impression that Vo2 max could only be improved by a maximum of 25%-30%, even with prolonged training and from a sedentary starting point.

I would be genuinely interested to see test results of someone who managed to increase in the region of 40% plus.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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andy1234 said:
Really?, I was under the impression that Vo2 max could only be improved by a maximum of 25%-30%, even with prolonged training and from a sedentary starting point.

I would be genuinely interested to see test results of someone who managed to increase in the region of 40% plus.
Not just one someone, but eight someones:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/838658

The 60% figure is for a couple of physiologists who became inspired by the athletes they were testing and took up strenuous endurance training for a couple of years. It's an old study (case report, really), though, so I'd have a hard time tracking it down for you (it was in a book, not a journal, but that's about all I can recall).

Note that there is a genetic component to not only one's baseline VO2max, but also to the trainability of one's VO2max...so, some may experience minimal increases, whereas others will achieve much greater improvements, even when following the same training program.
 
acoggan said:
Not just one someone, but eight someones:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/838658

The 60% figure is for a couple of physiologists who became inspired by the athletes they were testing and took up strenuous endurance training for a couple of years. It's an old study (case report, really), though, so I'd have a hard time tracking it down for you (it was in a book, not a journal, but that's about all I can recall).

Note that there is a genetic component to not only one's baseline VO2max, but also to the trainability of one's VO2max...so, some may experience minimal increases, whereas others will achieve much greater improvements, even when following the same training program.


Cheers, I will take a look.

EDIT - thanks for that. That really is a significant improvement....
 
Sep 30, 2010
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One of my favourite books is Noakes' Lore of Running. Mainly because it isn't particularly prescriptive and raises lots of questions as well as trying to answer a few.

With regards to developing VO2Max, I think the following is really interesting.
http://forum.slowtwitch.com/Slowtwitch_Forums_C1/Triathlon_Forum_F1/Mark_Allen_/_Maffetone_/_Low_HR_training_%96_lengthy_excerpt_from_Noakes_Lore_of_Running_P2182666/

quote from this excerpt,
To monitor his progress, Allen would complete an 8-km run at his maximal allowed aerobic heart rate of about 150 beats per minute. During his Patience Phase his average pace when running at that heart rate would fall progressively. When he first started training according to the Maffetone approach, his aerobic pace during this test was 4:05 per km. During this phase, Allen would expect his running speed at his aerobic heart rate to fall by about 3 to 4 seconds per km per week.

When Allen retired in 1995, his aerobic pace had improved to 3:19 per km, as the result of a steady progression during his entire career. For physiologists used to reporting human training studies lasting a few months, this is a remarkable finding. It shows that the human body may continue to adapt for 10 or more years to the form of prolonged, intensive training undertaken by Allen.
Not sure what his VO2Max actually was/is, but there's tables out there that could probably give an estimate based on 5 mile run at 4:05/km pace through to 3:19/km pace. I imagine it would be significant!
 
Apr 19, 2010
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whittashau said:
Seems possible to gain that much weight if he stopped training all together and ate as he typically does, but for sure that is a rather hefty weight gain
Water retention thanks to the lovely offseason druggy wuggies?
 
Walkman said:
Another XC-skier who isn't named on that list is Per Elofsson. He tested for an astonishing 88 mL/kg/minute when he was 20 years old! :eek: This guy was inhuman, bested a fully fit Bjørn Dæhlie at the age of 21. Though I am not sure about Bjørn Dæhlie's test result. His 96.0 hasn't been properly verified in my opinion.
Edvald Boasson Hagen measured 87 at 20 years, not sure how high it is now.

I think that I have read somewhere that it is easier for XC skiers to get a high VO2 max because they use their entire body. For example both Petter Northug (arguably the best XC skier in the world) and Sjur Røthe (talent with no results as of yet) have measured VO2 max of 90+, and almost all skiers with results are at around 85, which is exceptional in cycling.

Concerning Dæhlie's number, it is just absurdly high considering that it was measured in the off-season, which I guess increases the probability of him being clean during the test, but it also means that while competing he must have had a VO2 max of more than 100! :eek:
 
maltiv said:
Edvald Boasson Hagen measured 87 at 20 years, not sure how high it is now.

I think that I have read somewhere that it is easier for XC skiers to get a high VO2 max because they use their entire body. For example both Petter Northug (arguably the best XC skier in the world) and Sjur Røthe (talent with no results as of yet) have measured VO2 max of 90+, and almost all skiers with results are at around 85, which is exceptional in cycling.

Concerning Dæhlie's number, it is just absurdly high considering that it was measured in the off-season, which I guess increases the probability of him being clean during the test, but it also means that while competing he must have had a VO2 max of more than 100! :eek:
X-Country skiers are skinny, and have high MVO2 scores.

The /kg factor means MVO2 is weight biased.

Rowers have lower scores because they are bigger (arms and upper bodies must do real work).

Cyclists are closer to X-Ctry skiers, and can improve MVO2 by techniques such as Clen to cut weight.

Dave.
 
Mar 4, 2010
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Walkman said:
I am not certain but I think Per Elofsson later recorded an even higher result in 2001 but I can't find any numbers.
It was 92 according to the man himself.

Charlotte Kalla's VO2 max is somewhere above 72. I don't know the actual number, but she has the highest VO2 max ever recorded in a swedish woman and the previous record was 72.
 
Apr 23, 2010
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Fester said:
Do you have a source for this data?
The source is from a University Affiliated East Coast Testing Center (Human Performance Laboratory) in the US. It's a handout that was given to me upon completion of my 2004 test.
Sorry i did not see your question till now:(
 
Apr 23, 2010
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Mr.38% said:
The key difference is lactate build rate. Road racers have a lower build rate than criterium racers who have a lower rate than pure track sprinters. To put it short: it takes them longer to "blow up" during submaximal efforts.

Low lactate build rate is a genetic talent but it can be trainined by long steady L2/L3 rides. Apart from whatever it took to morph Jaja to a decent mountain goat it was about lots of training at the correct pace.
That is basically what I was told after completing my test. They were less concerned with Vo2Max results, than they were with training the anaerobic threshold.
 
xmoonx said:
That is basically what I was told after completing my test. They were less concerned with Vo2Max results, than they were with training the anaerobic threshold.
It depends on your goals. Look at yesterday's winner of Le Saym. Dominic has a very high VO²Max and he is very efficient with a very low lactate build rate. He was born to win classics and he trains accordingly, pushing his strenghts and he does not work on his weaknesses at all (long climbs). I've seen some power files of his classic schedule last year, especially Paris-Roubaix where he finished 14th leading out Fabian all day long; it's amazing how long he is able to ride at and above his threshold and how much accumulated time he spends at L5.

There is this other guy who scored amazing wins on amateur and domestic pro level (he is with a continental team this season). Solo, always solo. He simply takes off and drops everyone off his wheel. His VO²Max is not too shabby at ~71 ml/min/kg (440 W @ 73 kg). His FTP is around 400 W, 90% of VO²Max, which is interesting on it's own. Even more amazing his his ability to ride at 85-90% of VO²Max, he won a race (solo!) with 381 W NP during the final 130 minutes. He has the lowest ever lactate build rate recorded even compared to all tested Pro Tour riders. He does 3-6 hours of L3 every day and just L3 all up the SS. If it comes to a sprint he is always last - even against Juniors, he does not even try.
 

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