VO max wont improve

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by Guest, Nov 2, 2001.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Can some one explain to me why my VOmax wont improve ? I use my Polar S510 to do a fitness test wich give you your max heart rate and VOmax. Now I measured mine 4 weeks ago and then again last night. Guess what. No improvement.

    Now I've been training twice a day for the last 2 months and there is no improvement. How does this happen ?

  2. Guest

    Guest Guest

    VO2 max is basically genetic. training will only improve it by about 10%. If you've been training for a number of years already then VO2max is unlikely to improve much further.

    another point is that VO2 max starts to decline after the age of about 18.

    bad luck ;).

    regular training stops the decline being quite so rapid though.

    what is debatable though is how useful VO2max is as a fperformance predictor - most research suggests it's pretty hit and miss.

    Performance is predominantly determined by how hard you can go for a prolonged length of time. this is level is known as the anaerobic threshold (AT) - go much above threshold and lactic acid will accumulate rapidly and you'll have to slow down.
    whats nice to know is that training (especially specific interval training ;D) will improve your AT.

    think about it like this.
    2 riders, rider 1 has a VO2max of 80ml/kg/min and his AT is at 50% VO2max. that means he can ride comfortably for a long period of time using Oxygen at a rate of 40ml/kg/min

    rider 2 has a VO2max of 60ml/kg/min and his AT is at 90% of VO2 max. He can therefore comfortably ride for a prolonged period of time using O2 at a rate of 54ml/kg/min.

    who's going to post a better time in a 40km time trial?

    yep, you guessed it, rider 2: despite his lower VO2 max, he can maintain a much higher pace than rider 1 due to his higher AT.

    If you want to know all the physiology behind VO2max i could probably explain it to you but to be honest, it's pretty superfluous to what you really need to know - that VO2 max doesn't improve much with training, but AT will.
  3. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Thanks for the imput. I feel a little better now. I was just worried that maybe I was either training to little or to much. (it's the first time that I've trained twice a day).

    Is there any way of measuring AT ?
  4. Guest

    Guest Guest

    the most practical way to measure AT (in my experience at least) is to do a 10 mile time-trial. you want it to be a real race so that you're properly motivated.

    measure your HR throughout - average HR will be roughly you're AT.

    There are other methods too - like the conconi method - that supposedly allow you to measure AT in the comfort of your own home but they're pretty rubbish really.

    alternatively, if you live near a university sports science students are always looking for guinea pigs to do exercise tests - get in touch with them and they might be able to do a proper laboratory AT test for you.

    I hold out though that the best test is the 10mile TT.
  5. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Hi there,

    just a quick comment here. Once again Andy is right. But let me make a suggestion. The best way to POSSABLY maintain or EVEN improve you VO2 would be a diet of interval training. The ACSM (american college of sports medicine) has some fairly resent studies, showing that folks that are doing short (3 min or less) of high intensity interval training are seeing inprovements in VO2. AND that's with a decreased volume of work.

    So, mix that with some AT training, and you still might see some new life in those old legs.
  6. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Hey Ouzo, Don't feel alone, I've got the same problem, my Polar Fit Test reading hasn' t changed since March, but my general fitness and speed over specific distances has ???. I'm slightly sceptical about this feature however. Last night on the way home from Kyalami while driving I did a fit test in the car and guess what....... no change!! Next want to do a fit test while at TT intensity and see what it produces :eek:
  7. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Acid glad to see that your Heart Rate monitor works in your car. Mine gets all sorts of funny readings.
  8. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Ouzo, do you also get weird readings when you pass traffic lights?? Mine shows max readings (I think its 228bpm!) First time it happened I thought I was about to expire  :eek:. And when I was doing time on my trainer in my garage in winter, I found that my electric fence energiser tended to turn the backlight on from time to time  ::)
  9. Guest

    Guest Guest

    not sure about traffic lights, but power lines cause problems. During the Lost City ride I had a speed reading of 270km/h and a heart rate of over 200. And I hadn't even been riding for 5 mintues. I thought I was going to win the race. :D

    As soon as I climb into the car, the readings go up to 200. All the electronics I think.
  10. Guest

    Guest Guest

    cjfast - those ACSM studies - need more details.

    What level were the volunteers at before hand?
    I suspect they weren't using trained athletes...

    If they were untrained then were the improvements more than 10% (as i suggested was roughly the maximum it's regarded as being possible to improve)

    If they were highly trained (as our man here appears to be) what improvements were there.

    I know circumstantial eveidence (from Chris Boardman's autobiography) that suggests that when he went from intense road racing to training for the 4000m pursuit (i.e. doing lots of AT training) his VO2 max would actually GO DOWN.

    That's probably due to a couple of factors: he would have gained weight slightly due to increased muscle mass (this was post tour de france) so relative VO2 max would have gone down, and also he wouldn't have been doing the LONG road miles to maintain VO2 max.

    My ultimate point is, is that I don't believe I have seen any studies which have managed to illicit large increases in VO2 max from athletes who are already training regularly.

    Unless they take EPO......

    As you may be able to tell, I'm a very sceptical young man.....
  11. Vo2

    Vo2 Member

    Aug 11, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Extract from the book 'Serious Cycling' by Edmund R. Burke:

    "Robert Hickson and others from his laboratory at the University of Illinois Chicago studied the impact of adding heavy-resistance training on leg strength in eight runners and cyclists who had already been training for several years. Strength training was performed 3 days a week for 10 weeks while the subjects continued their normal endurance training. After 10 weeks, leg strength was increased by an average of 30%, but Vo2max did not increase (which would have indicated increased maximal aerobic capacity); however, time-to-exhaustion at maximal work rates increased by 13% in the running group and 11% in the cycling group"
  12. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I've read articles that have said an athletes lactate level dropped when they went from 80% to 95% of their max HR.

    Did i mention EPO? all athletes tested used epo.......must be wonderful stuff for those who think the risk is worth it.
  13. Guest

    Guest Guest


    I figured you'd want references. :) So, I did a brief search on the ACSM website. Which is where I'd seen the Info. But I didn't have much luck, but because I found the Info so interesting, I printed it up. So, when I get chance I'll see if I can put the page address up for your perusal. And as I recall the subjects were trained athletes, and I think that they were cyclists too.
  14. Guest

    Guest Guest


    I've found the article I was trying to reference for interval training as a way to possibly increase your VO2 max. The title of the article is, Effects of High-Intensity Intermittent Training on Endurance Performance. The website is www.sportsci.org. I think the page address is http://www.sportsci.org/jour/0101/cf.htm

    I hope you can take a look, and get some good info from it.