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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

VO2 Max

Can You Change Your VO2 Max?

Research shows that although VO2 max has a genetic component it can also be increased through training. The two methods for increasing VO2 max include increases in both training volume and intensity. Research also indicates that the less fit an individual is, the more they can increase their VO2 max through training. In fact, novice exercisers have been able to increase VO2 max by 20 percent through proper training. Fit athletes have a harder time increasing their VO2 max, most likely because they are already so near their genetic potential.

Aside from genetic factors, three other components have a large influence on VO2 max:

* Age - Although it varies greatly by individual and training programs, in general VO2 max is the highest at age 20 and decreases nearly 30 percent by age 65.
* Gender - Many elite female athletes have higher VO2 max values than most men. But because of differences in body size and composition, blood volume and hemoglobin content, a woman's VO2 max is in general about 20 percent lower than a man's VO2 max.
* Altitude - Because there is less oxygen at higher altitude an athlete will generally have 5 percent decrease in VO2 max results with a 5,000 feet gain in altitude.

V02 Max Highs and Lows
VO2 max results vary greatly. The average for a sedentary individual is close to 35 ml/kg/min. Elite endurance athletes often average 70 ml/kg/min. One of the highest recorded VO2 max results (90 ml/kg/min) was that of a cross country skier. Cyclist Lance Armstrong's VO2 max was reported at 85 ml/kg/min.

Does a High V02 Max Mean Better Athletic Performance?
Most elite athletes will have VO2 max values well over 60ml/kg/min, this number alone is not a guarantee of elite performance. A high VO2 max may indicate an athlete's potential for excellent aerobic endurance, but many other factors can determine the winner of a particular race. Some of these factors include:

* Skills Training
* Psychological Preparation
* Lactate Threshold Training
* Rest and Recovery
* Nutrition

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