Calorie Counter

You are currently viewing the message boards in:

Improve VO2Max

2456

Replies

  • Rocknut53Rocknut53 Posts: 1,798Member Member Posts: 1,798Member Member
    I've been following this because I just bought a Garmin Vivosport (trying to dial in my efforts) and I screwed up when I set it up and it gives me a VO2 max of 26, comparable to a 79 year old woman (I'm 65). :s I hike several times a week and log 12 hours avg per week. My elevation gain is 1500 to 1700 feet in just under 2 miles. I've been doing this for over 3 years regularly so I feel I'm in pretty good shape. Supposedly the watch updates my VO2 max every time I log a timed cardio activity. So now I'm just confused and think I wasted my money. (I got it mainly to monitor my heart rate which I was doing perfectly fine the old fashioned way).
  • dewd2dewd2 Posts: 1,985Member Member Posts: 1,985Member Member
    I can give you 2 ways to instantly improve your VO2max. First, find your ACTUAL min and max HR. 220-age is not the way to do it. Second, dump the watch HR and use a HR strap. Your watch is probably lying to you. Get your numbers accurate and you'll have a better idea of what your VO2max really is.

    FWIW - Doing cardio in the gym probably won't do much for your goals. Run, swim, ride, or row. And do it more than 150 minutes per week.
  • sijomialsijomial Posts: 14,645Member Member Posts: 14,645Member Member
    Rocknut53 wrote: »
    I've been following this because I just bought a Garmin Vivosport (trying to dial in my efforts) and I screwed up when I set it up and it gives me a VO2 max of 26, comparable to a 79 year old woman (I'm 65). :s I hike several times a week and log 12 hours avg per week. My elevation gain is 1500 to 1700 feet in just under 2 miles. I've been doing this for over 3 years regularly so I feel I'm in pretty good shape. Supposedly the watch updates my VO2 max every time I log a timed cardio activity. So now I'm just confused and think I wasted my money. (I got it mainly to monitor my heart rate which I was doing perfectly fine the old fashioned way).

    @Rocknut53
    VO2 max is just one of many measurements of cardio fitness/performance and for hiking it's a pretty irrelevant one.
    You aren't needing maximal rates of oxygen uptake when hiking so no real point in putting any significance on it for you and your activity.
    Lowered resting pulse, faster recovery to normal, reduced exercise HR are probably better indicators of fitness improvements for you.

    It's not really that relevant for me either as someone who primarily does long distance cycling, just a slightly interesting but probably not particularly accurate estimate of an ability I use rarely. For me increasing my power at a sustainable HR is my main focus.
  • Rocknut53Rocknut53 Posts: 1,798Member Member Posts: 1,798Member Member
    sijomial wrote: »
    Rocknut53 wrote: »
    I've been following this because I just bought a Garmin Vivosport (trying to dial in my efforts) and I screwed up when I set it up and it gives me a VO2 max of 26, comparable to a 79 year old woman (I'm 65). :s I hike several times a week and log 12 hours avg per week. My elevation gain is 1500 to 1700 feet in just under 2 miles. I've been doing this for over 3 years regularly so I feel I'm in pretty good shape. Supposedly the watch updates my VO2 max every time I log a timed cardio activity. So now I'm just confused and think I wasted my money. (I got it mainly to monitor my heart rate which I was doing perfectly fine the old fashioned way).

    @Rocknut53
    VO2 max is just one of many measurements of cardio fitness/performance and for hiking it's a pretty irrelevant one.
    You aren't needing maximal rates of oxygen uptake when hiking so no real point in putting any significance on it for you and your activity.
    Lowered resting pulse, faster recovery to normal, reduced exercise HR are probably better indicators of fitness improvements for you.

    It's not really that relevant for me either as someone who primarily does long distance cycling, just a slightly interesting but probably not particularly accurate estimate of an ability I use rarely. For me increasing my power at a sustainable HR is my main focus.

    Thanks. My resting heart rate is in the mid 50's, I do almost reach MHR at points during the first mile and a half because my path is steep, a 30-45 degree slope. I'm not worried about fitness level, I was just curious more than anything. I'm certain I don't have the "poor" fitness level of a 79 year old woman. It was just a little disconcerting to see that number 26 after years of good fitness. I scoffed at people's dependence on Fitbits, I may still do that! If a piece of gear can't give you accurate numbers then it's pretty irrelevant. @tsazani , sorry for hijacking your post.
    edited January 17
  • sijomialsijomial Posts: 14,645Member Member Posts: 14,645Member Member
    Rocknut53 wrote: »
    sijomial wrote: »
    Rocknut53 wrote: »
    I've been following this because I just bought a Garmin Vivosport (trying to dial in my efforts) and I screwed up when I set it up and it gives me a VO2 max of 26, comparable to a 79 year old woman (I'm 65). :s I hike several times a week and log 12 hours avg per week. My elevation gain is 1500 to 1700 feet in just under 2 miles. I've been doing this for over 3 years regularly so I feel I'm in pretty good shape. Supposedly the watch updates my VO2 max every time I log a timed cardio activity. So now I'm just confused and think I wasted my money. (I got it mainly to monitor my heart rate which I was doing perfectly fine the old fashioned way).

    @Rocknut53
    VO2 max is just one of many measurements of cardio fitness/performance and for hiking it's a pretty irrelevant one.
    You aren't needing maximal rates of oxygen uptake when hiking so no real point in putting any significance on it for you and your activity.
    Lowered resting pulse, faster recovery to normal, reduced exercise HR are probably better indicators of fitness improvements for you.

    It's not really that relevant for me either as someone who primarily does long distance cycling, just a slightly interesting but probably not particularly accurate estimate of an ability I use rarely. For me increasing my power at a sustainable HR is my main focus.

    Thanks. My resting heart rate is in the mid 50's, I do almost reach MHR at points during the first mile and a half because my path is steep, a 30-45 degree slope. I'm not worried about fitness level, I was just curious more than anything. I'm certain I don't have the "poor" fitness level of a 79 year old woman. It was just a little disconcerting to see that number 26 after years of good fitness. I scoffed at people's dependence on Fitbits, I may still do that! If a piece of gear can't give you accurate numbers then it's pretty irrelevant. @tsazani , sorry for hijacking your post.

    Real max heart rate (on the point of collapse) or calculated max heart rate?
    My older brother could hit 200+ in his early 60's when he "should" have had a MHR of around 160.
    If you felt you couldn't take another step and had to stop to recover then that might be your MHR.

    No watch I've ever heard of can actually measure oxygen uptake.
    I did my MHR and VO2 max test in a sports science lab wearing a mask to actually measure my gas exchange. Took 3 days to recover from the test - that's what I would call a true max HR although the ASCM criteria are a bit more technical than that....

    If you did a higher intensity exercise than hiking your watch would give you a very different number, probably still not accurate and still irrelevant to what you are doing.
  • DX2JX2DX2JX2 Posts: 1,895Member Member Posts: 1,895Member Member
    Rocknut53 wrote: »
    Thanks. My resting heart rate is in the mid 50's, I do almost reach MHR at points during the first mile and a half because my path is steep, a 30-45 degree slope. I'm not worried about fitness level, I was just curious more than anything. I'm certain I don't have the "poor" fitness level of a 79 year old woman. It was just a little disconcerting to see that number 26 after years of good fitness. I scoffed at people's dependence on Fitbits, I may still do that! If a piece of gear can't give you accurate numbers then it's pretty irrelevant. @tsazani , sorry for hijacking your post.

    I don't know the exact science, but I think the watch uses a combination of HR and speed to estimate VO2 max. The only problem is that unless you're constantly at the envelope of performance/HR, or unless your workouts regularly consist of a fairly intense effort over an extended period of time (e.g., a 3 mile run at 80% max) it has a really hard time figuring anything out.

    That said, it's fun to play with but isn't the best info in the world. My garmin says my VO2Max improves in a tailwind but gets worse in a headwind...
  • OldAssDudeOldAssDude Posts: 1,427Member, Premium Member Posts: 1,427Member, Premium Member
    I think VO2max is pretty important because it is an indicator of you overall cardio fitness level, but I don't think it's as important to know the exact number, as it is just to know your in a good range.

    If you really want to know the exact number then you should have a lab test done, but even doing that, it will improve or decline depending on your workout schedule.

    Some devices will give a fair ballpark, but only under perfect conditions (treadmill, track, no hills, etc...). For example, fitbit always gives me an elite level, but garmin always gives me poor/fair/good levels.

    I think one good way to determine if your fitness level is improving is by monitoring your resting heart rate over time. 4 years ago my resting heart rate was in the high 80's. Now it's in the high 50's, so I know my heart is pumping more blood per beat than it was 4 years ago. :)

  • VladimirnapkinVladimirnapkin Posts: 294Member, Premium Member Posts: 294Member, Premium Member
    Not to pile on here, but strength training is great, yoga is great, but neither will improve VO2max. VO2max is improved by stressing your system by pushing into VO2max heart rate for a while and then recovering. (This applies to anaerobic threshold training as well.) Your individual mileage may vary. Very high VO2max is largely genetic.
  • Rocknut53Rocknut53 Posts: 1,798Member Member Posts: 1,798Member Member
    OldAssDude wrote: »
    I think VO2max is pretty important because it is an indicator of you overall cardio fitness level, but I don't think it's as important to know the exact number, as it is just to know your in a good range.

    If you really want to know the exact number then you should have a lab test done, but even doing that, it will improve or decline depending on your workout schedule.

    Some devices will give a fair ballpark, but only under perfect conditions (treadmill, track, no hills, etc...). For example, fitbit always gives me an elite level, but garmin always gives me poor/fair/good levels.

    I think one good way to determine if your fitness level is improving is by monitoring your resting heart rate over time. 4 years ago my resting heart rate was in the high 80's. Now it's in the high 50's, so I know my heart is pumping more blood per beat than it was 4 years ago. :)

    I did break down and get on the dreadmill for the Garmin recommended 15 minute run, still no VO2max diff on the Vivosport.

    My resting heart rate pre-weight loss was in the low 70's, now for the past 2.5 years it's in the mid 50's so I'm very satisfied with my results.


    @sijnomial my MHR is only a calculated rate based on age. Haven't done a true test to find out the actual. I'm sure it's somewhat higher. I want to reiterate, none of my hiking is on the level. I have mountains behind my house so elevation gain is a good steady uphill for 2 miles. It's winter so I have the uphill in addition to dealing with deep snow at times. Probably not optimum conditions for determining much besides the fact I sweat a lot and get my heart rate up for the requisite number of minutes per workout and have good recovery once I level out. From what I've read about the Garmin in forums, one of these days it will give me a VO2 max reading more in line with actual. Maybe not, maybe I am a 79 year old woman in the real world. ;)
  • OldAssDudeOldAssDude Posts: 1,427Member, Premium Member Posts: 1,427Member, Premium Member
    I think we scared the poor OP away.
  • twatson4936twatson4936 Posts: 121Member Member Posts: 121Member Member
    There are other things to consider, I lived in Raleigh NC and my V02 max was 46. I moved to Black Mountain NC and it immediately dropped to 39. The difference? Raleigh is around 320 feet elevation, Black Mountain 2550 where I live and goes up to over 3000 where I run sometimes. I have been getting 300 or more active minutes per week and I have my V02 max back up to 46. For me its just a measure of my fitness.
  • NorthCascadesNorthCascades Posts: 8,353Member Member Posts: 8,353Member Member
    tsazani wrote: »
    Blue = low intensity (65% MaxHR). Green = moderate intensity (75% MaxHR). Yellow = hard intensity (85% MaxHR).

    I exercise in zones. 30 min per day. 2 days in yellow (resistance), 2 days in green (cardio), and 3 days in blue (yoga).

    My VO2Max is 32. As a 61 year old male this is considered "moderate". I'd like to get to 41 which is "elite" for my age and sex.

    Will the above exericise program get me there?

    No. If you want "elite" fitness, it requires a huge training volume. Half an hour per day twice a week isn't going to make you competitive.

    Resistance training and yoga are great for your overall health but will not contribute to an already fit person's VO2max increasing. Maximal oxygen volume is about your heart and lungs.

    Try 3-4 hours per day of Nordic skiing. 80% of your workouts moderate, 20% very intense. Avoid the "noman's land" of zone 3 or you'll plateau before you reach your goal.

    ... and the other half of the equation is your weight. If you want to hit 41 ml/kg then reducing kgs can help get you there. :wink:
  • cwolfman13cwolfman13 Posts: 36,142Member Member Posts: 36,142Member Member
    tsazani wrote: »
    My recreational goal is to increase my VO2Max number.

    That's fine. But why? In the grand scheme of things VO2Max is pretty meaningless as a metric. If yoou focus on Resting Heart Rate reduction you'll see more value.

    fwiw if you're wanting to improve your VO2Max I'd start with perhaps 5 CV sessions per week, aiming for all of them to get to 60 minutes of steady state effort. Once you've done that start to add in tempo sessions, once per week, vice one of the steady state. Once you've done that for about six months then add in a High Intensity Session once per week. After six weeks of that you should have improved your VO2Max.

    You'll want to book in half a dozen lab sessions in there, to actually measure your MHR, LTHR, Aerobic threshold and VO2Max.

    This...
  • Duck_PuddleDuck_Puddle Posts: 2,432Member Member Posts: 2,432Member Member
    tsazani wrote: »
    Thank you for all your excellent answers.

    I was HOPING that I wouldn't have to put in so much CARDIO work/time to improve my VO2Max. I'm wrong.
    I'm going to DRASTICALLY reduce my goal. I want to see if my cardio program will get me from VO2Max from 32 (moderate) to 33-36 (good).

    I've acomplished my MAIN goal of achieving and maintaining good blood sugar control with diet and exercise. I feel good and look good.

    My exercise priority these days is yoga. So three days. I put in my (recommended minimum) 2 days a week of resistance training. Which leaves 2 days for cardio.

    I’m not sure the message is really coming through.

    Improving VO2max requires a significant sustained training volume over a period of months (maybe years).

    Your current schedule does not meet the minimum recommended time for maintaining health (150 minutes moderate cardio per week). 60 minutes per week is not going to facilitate improvement in VO2MAX.

    That said-I don’t really see the point. Your VO2max isn’t the end all of fitness. Having the highest VO2max doesn’t mean you automatically win the race.
  • Rocknut53Rocknut53 Posts: 1,798Member Member Posts: 1,798Member Member
    There are other things to consider, I lived in Raleigh NC and my V02 max was 46. I moved to Black Mountain NC and it immediately dropped to 39. The difference? Raleigh is around 320 feet elevation, Black Mountain 2550 where I live and goes up to over 3000 where I run stometimes. I have been getting 300 or more active minutes per week and I have my V02 max back up to 46. For me its just a measure of my fitness.

    That's an interesting theory. I live at a little over 5100' and hike up to 7000'.
    Any thoughts on VO2 max calculators such as: http://www.shapesense.com/fitness-exercise/calculators/vo2max-calculator.shtml
  • tsazanitsazani Posts: 591Member Member Posts: 591Member Member
    Given that my measurements are accurate, my reduced exercise program has REDUCED my VO2Max. Before falling off the wagon and then getting back on last month but doing 30 min of cardio per week instead of the 4 hours I did before.

    I was looking thru my exercise log on Polar Beat. On Aug 4 my VO2Max was 39 (very good). Then it went to 35 (good) on Sept 9th.

    I fell of the wagon for a while. On Dec 12th I was at 32 (moderate). Every week after that I've been at 32 with no improvement.

    In conclusion, if one does the minimum one can be in good shape. To be in better shape one must do more volume and intensity.
    edited January 18
  • aokoyeaokoye Posts: 1,935Member Member Posts: 1,935Member Member
    tsazani wrote: »
    Given that my measurements are accurate, my reduced exercise program has REDUCED my VO2Max. Before falling off the wagon and then getting back on last month but doing 30 min of cardio per week instead of the 4 hours I did before.

    I was looking thru my exercise log on Polar Beat. On Aug 4 my VO2Max was 39 (very good). Then it went to 35 (good) on Sept 9th.

    I fell of the wagon for a while. On Dec 12th I was at 32 (moderate). Every week after that I've been at 32 with no improvement.

    In conclusion, if one does the minimum one can be in good shape. To be in better shape one must do more volume and intensity.

    Which measurements were correct? Did you say you used the 220-age to find your maximum HR? That's definitely not accurate for most people. Polar, while a nice company, isn't likely going to give you correct VO2 max measurements if only because the an accurate measurement is going to come from a laboratory a watch and wrist or chest based HR measurements.

    I mean let's be honest, even 4 hours of cardio a week wouldn't get you to an elite level for your age. This thread is now making me want to get my max HR and VO2max tested...though the place I would go doesn't have a rowing machine in their lab (just a stationary bike and a treadmill).
  • OldAssDudeOldAssDude Posts: 1,427Member, Premium Member Posts: 1,427Member, Premium Member
    You can get very close to your MHR by running a 5k with a chest strap monitor. Run it hard and near the end, crank that "kitten" up to eleven and see how high you can get your heart rate. And even with that, you could probably add a few more beats.
Sign In or Register to comment.