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How To Improve Your VO2 Max | VO2 Max Explained


– [Dan] A high VO2 max
has long been linked with elite athletic performance. So to give you a few cycling examples, Greg LeMond recorded one of 92 and a half. Chris Froome’s is
apparently just under 85. Whilst his young Colombian teammate, Egan Bernal, the super climbing talent, apparently has one just over 90. – [Sai] Wow. – Now to put that in context, the average male has a
VO2 max between 40 and 45; the average female between 30 and 35. Now, can you improve it? Yes you can. Should you improve it? Yeah, you should probably try,
so we’re gonna tell you how. (upbeat music) – Now before we tell you, we should probably explain
exactly what it is. So VO2 Max is a measure of how much oxygen your body is able to consume
doing maximal effort. And it’s measured in
millilitres per kilogramme of body weight per minute. – Your VO2 Max though, is not necessarily linked
to your lung capacity and I, unfortunately, am
a prime example of this. So my lung capacity, Si, is not far off eight litres. – [Si] Wow! – [Dan] I mean they are huge. – Yeah, I’d never noticed but
you really do have a big pair. – I do, yeah. Unfortunately, though, the one
time my VO2 Max was recorded it was only 69 which is not bad, it’s just very average for a pro. – (chuckles) Well the
reason there is probably that discrepancy is that
VO2 Max doesn’t measure the oxygen that comes in to your lungs, it actually measures how
much oxygen your body is then able to utilise, and so that’s probably why Dan wasn’t quite as efficient as Greg LeMond. – No, it was fortunate I
did that test actually, otherwise I would never have known. – Good point, you’d just spend
your life wondering, yeah. – Anyway, if you would like
to measure it yourself, you’re going to need something
called a gas analyzer. These are probably not something you’re gonna have around your house. Mostly they are found
in sports laboratories, but increasingly, there
are mobile gas analyzers such as the VO2 Master which
we couldn’t help but spot, could we, a couple of years
ago on the roads of Mallorca. – [Si] No, it took an eagle eye there didn’t it to see that. Now, the reason why your
VO2 Max is so important is that oxygen is vital
in helping your body turn fuel into energy so therefore, the more oxygen that
you can actually get in, the more efficiently you
can turn fuel into energy. So therefore the longer and
harder you can exercise for. And that’s probably the
reason why some people try and artificially boost their VO2 Max, by using ill-gotten methods. – I’ve got some good news, Si. – Yeah? – You don’t need to dope
to increase your VO2 Max. – Well that’s a relief. – I’ve also got some bad news. – What’s that? – To increase it naturally, it’s really gonna hurt quite a lot. – That’s not bad news
mate, no pain no gain. Coming up, we’ve got three sessions that will boost your VO2 Max. – Hold on. (upbeat music) – The first session is one that you may well have seen before
here on GCN. Micro Intervals. They are a great way of
increasing your VO2 Max. For all of these sessions,
it is important that you get in a good warm-up to begin with, because they are quite intense. So at least 20 to 30
minutes of steady riding. After which, on this one, you’re going to be doing 40 20’s. – Which means 40 seconds hard, followed by 20 seconds easy. Now when we say hard, we mean
about 120 percent of your FTP so for non-power meter users, that is about the effort you
can sustain for five minutes. And then, the 20 seconds as you can see, is just keeping your legs ticking over. And then, the reason for
that 20 seconds easy, is cause we aren’t doing five minutes, we’re doing it for 10 minutes. So you repeat 40 20s for ten minutes. And then, we’re gonna be
aiming for two to three of these blocks in each session with 10 minutes of
gentle riding in between. Perfect for the indoor trainer, or perfect for long, steady climbs. (upbeat music) – Our second session is
a little bit simpler, but no less painful. We’re doing four minutes, almost at max. So power metre users, that means again about
120 percent of your FTP. Either way, when you get to the end of your first four minutes,
you should feel like you have a little bit left in the
tank, but not very much. – [Dan] Within a single
session, you want to aim for around 20 minutes of
total work at this intensity. So four intervals is okay,
five is absolutely bang-on, and hats off to you if you manage six, because that is exceptional
for this session. Make sure you get in a full recovery around four minutes between each one, or until you’re ready
to start the next one, and then a cool down to finish. (upbeat music) – Our last session is probably
just about the least painful. The intervals are the
longest, at 10 minutes a pop, however it’s only the first
two minutes of each one that are really intense, are you that 120 percent of FTP again. Straight after that though,
you settle into eight minutes, bang-on, your functional threshold power. – [Dan] Again, without a power metre, this is the sort of intensity
you can hold for five minutes. But then, it’s followed by eight minutes at the sort of effort that
you could hold for one hour. Although, be warned, it won’t
feel like that kind of effort because you’ve just done
two minutes flipping hard. Now have 10 minutes of very
easy riding in between, and then repeat the session again. Just two of these intervals
is pretty good going, but some of you may be
able to manage three. How much you are able
to increase your VO2 Max through these sessions will depend on your current fitness levels, how much training you
have done in the past, but also genetics. It’s unlikely you’re going
to reach the kind of levels of Greg LeMond, unless you’re
some kind of genetic mutant, but it is worth working on nonetheless, because there are studies
out there that have shown some people have trained
and increased their VO2 Max by 100 percent, they’ve doubled it! – Yeah, others meanwhile,
can’t improve it at all. But nevertheless, it is
definitely worth trying. And we should also
stress as well actually, your VO2 Max is not the be-all and end-all of being a super fast
cyclist, not by a long shot. There are many other
things that are important, and that you should train as well, so these VO2 Max sessions
should be part of a balanced and varied training plan. – And don’t forget, within that well-rounded training
programme to incorporate rest. Rest is really important if
you want to make improvements. – That’s right. With that,
you’re basically that and also your eight
litre lung capacity then, there’s no wonder the Cervélo TestTeam absolutely snapped you up is it? – Yeah I’ve got it right.
I still am in fact. Right, well that’s the end of this video. If you’ve enjoyed it, please give it a thumbs up just down below and if you would like to
learn with a new power meter, how to test your FTP you can
find that right below us. (bleep) – How much you’re able to
increase your (mumbles) oh my god. – Coffee’s going colder by the minute. – Ready? – Sorry are you (bleep)? – And within that training plan
you should also incorpor… – (laughing) Sorry. (bleep) – As part of a well-rounded
training (laughs)…

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