Physical Education - Measuring VO2 max.
Measuring VO2 max: example
For sports such as rowing, the "raw" score of litres/minutes is used. For
sports such as marathon running, we incorporate body weight into the
equation in the following way.
A triathlete weighing 72kg completes a VO2 max. test with a result of 5.5
litres/minutes. To convert this score to a more relevant measure, we do the
CONVERT LITRES TO MILLILITRES:
5.5 litres = 5,500 millilitres/minute
THEN DIVIDE BY BODY WEIGHT:
5,500ml per minute/72kg = 76.4
FINAL FIGURE IS:
Note: sometimes you will see it expressed as ml/kg/min - it makes no
The procedure explained above is highly accurate and is used to measure
the VO2 max. of elite athletes. It is important for these athletes to be
able to see the small changes made in VO2 max., as it is used to determine
whether training is resulting in improved performance - the ultimate reason
for training in the first place. However, VO2 max. is a good indicator of a
person's cardiovascular fitness levels. The expense, time and accuracy
of the maximal test makes large scale testing impossible, and so we have a
range of tests known as VO2 max. testing, or VO2 max. tests, that can be
used on large group numbers who do not require the accuracy of a full
maximal test but require a rough idea of how fit they are. A test such as
the 20 metre beep test is a good example. In this test, a person runs at a
set rate, increasing intensity as they go. When they get to a level whereby
they cannot keep up with the cadence, they take the level obtained and look
it up on a table. The table will give them a VO2 max. result. It is not as
accurate as the full maximal test, however, tests such as the beep test are
90% accurate and will give a good guide to cardiovascular  fitness.
So, depending on who you are and the reasons behind doing a cardiovascular
 test, you may do a full maximal test (elite athlete) or a submaximal
test (school student). Those conducting the tests will make the decision on
which type of testing they will do, depending on the standard of the
athlete, how accurate the test result needs to be, how much time they have,
the size of the group, and the cost involved.
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