Defining VO2 Max

Where do you think you fit on this chart?

The VO2 max is a just one of the many measurements we can look at to determine one’s fitness level.  It is defined as the maximum capacity of the body to transport and use oxygen during bouts of exercise.  Usually, the VO2 max is expressed either in liters of oxygen per min (l/min) or in milliliters of oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minute (ml/kg/min) (the latter is more commonly used).

The Fick equation can help us define VO2 max: VO2 max = Q(CaO2 – CvO2), when these values are obtained during exertion.  Q is the cardiac output (stroke volume x heart rate), CaO2 is the oxygen content in the arteries, and CvO2 is the oxygen content in the veins.

VO2 max values are typically 40-60% higher in men than women.  In untrained men and women, the average VO2 maxes are 45 ml/kg/min and 38 ml/kg/min respectively.  Elite endurance athletes can typically have very high VO2 maxes.  For instance, Lance Armstrong is near 85 ml/kg/min.  Cross country skier Bjorn Daehlie was measured at 96 ml/kg/min.  His coach said that he could most definitely top out at over 100.  By comparison, thoroughbred horses measure around 180 ml/kg/min, while Siberean sled dogs running in the Iditarod can have values as high as 240 ml/kg/min!  What do you think an elite CrossFitter would measure?

If you would like to get an estimate of your VO2 max, the Concept 2 Rowers here at CrossFit West can help us out.  By simply rowing a 2K as hard as you can, then entering your time, along with your bodyweight, gender, and training level, you can quickly and easily get an estimate.  Click here for more details!

Workout:

Back Squat 1RM

Then 2K row time trial with VO2 max estimation!

*Along with supplemental core strengthening exercises, stretch and foam roll post workout.  We need to make sure we are fresh and nicely recovered for the Open workouts!

Get pumped for Open WOD 12.2, which is released at 5pm!