You may have heard of VO2 Max but aren’t quite sure what it actually means. VO2 max is essentially how much oxygen your body can consume during exercise. Your score is relative to bodyweight, being measured in millilitres, per kilo, per minute (ml/kl/min). So again, how much oxygen you can consume, per minute, relative to exercise. You may already know this and you may even know your score, so what does it mean?


VO2 Max As A Performance Predictor

A simple concept, the more oxygen you can consume, the more likely you are to perform well at endurance sports, right? Oxygen uptake has been shown to be a good indicator of superior performance in distance runners. However, recent studies using elite cyclists suggest that VO2 max is not a good indicator of cycling ability. Simply put, there appear to be far to many other factors involved to effectively predict performance.

For example, you may boast superior oxygen consumption but have poor running technique. Your poor technique will lower your running economy meaning you waste a lot of energy! Other factors may include the following:

  • Pacing
  • Experience
  • Nutrition
  • Technical equipment
  • Race tactics


How About Performance Indicator

We cannot necessarily predict your performance in any given event, this doesn’t mean it is not a good measure. VO2 max can be used to accurately prescribe training zones as well as measuring performance over training cycles. It’s probably worth knowing, even if it’s simply to measure improvement.


How To Find Your VO2 Max

Ultimately, the best way to measure accurately is in a Lab with the ability to analyse breath by breath! However, I appreciate this isn’t exactly simple. Fortunately those smart eggs in those labs have come up with a few ways to get an estimate!

Simply click the link, give the test a go, find your score!


World Records

  1. Oskar Svendsen (Cycling) – 97.5 (ml/kg/min)
  2. Espen Harald Bjerke (X Country Skiing) – 96.0
  3. Bjørn Dæhlie (X Country Skiing) – 96.0


Other Sporting Stars

  • Lance Armstrong (Cyclist) – 85.0
  • Chris Froome (Cycling) – 84.6
  • Seb Coe (Middle Distance Running) – 77.0
  • David Beckham (Football) – 67.6
  • Martin Johnson (Rugby) – 60.6


Interested in finding out more about VO2 Max, or simply want to give one of the tests a go? Get in touch with one of our Expert Strength & Conditioning Coaches! It’s not just for athletes, as part of our Personal Training in Twickenham our coaches would be more than willing to put you through a test or two!