Nov 19

VO2 Max Testing

Demerly Hall has been a very busy place! Demerly is where most of the Health and Human Performance classes are held, along with undergrad classes in related health and wellness fields. It is an awesome facility because it has a multimedia classroom, a stress testing area, a rehabilitation area, and an anthropometric room. As a student and a Graduate Assistant I’ve realized just how awesome it is to have access to all of the equipment. So far I have had the opportunity to learn, run, and be the subject for VO2 max tests, Wingate tests, various submaximal tests, and body composition tests.

Recently, we have been administering a lot of VO2 max tests. Undergraduate students performed the test in their Exercise Physiology lab, and Health and Human Performance students performed them in their Exercise Testing class. We even have a Graduate of the program running a study based on VO2 max tests. I didn’t know what VO2 max was until I started the program. Who knew it was such a big deal?!

For those of you don’t know, VO2 max is the single highest oxygen consumption elicited during graded exercise to exhaustion. Subjects perform a specific protocol of increasing exercise intensity on a piece of equipment (we use a treadmill), while a metabolic analyzer collects and measures the volume and oxygen concentration of inhaled and exhaled air taken throughout the test. As exercise intensity increases so does oxygen consumption, at the point at which oxygen consumption plateaus is your VO2 max. Generally, this is where the subject has hit their maximum and can no longer continue.

What is the importance of this? VO2 max is a direct measure of aerobic fitness. For athletes, VO2 max is a good predictor for how you will perform in events that require maximal efforts generally lasting longer than 2 minutes. For the average person, VO2 max is still important because a higher VO2 max relates to better fitness levels, which is important for many, many reasons.

VO2 max testing is not easy to come by because the equipment is very expensive. I am fortunate enough to have run the test on others, as well as, been the subject myself. The test isn’t all that fun because you are working to your maximal capacity, but getting your results is really cool. After I did the test I was able to see where I was currently at and set goals for the future. Hopefully, next time I do the test my VO2 max is higher!