VO2 Test; then what?

Hello Fellow Sufferlandrians,

Through my employer I was offered an opportunity to take a free VO2 Max test. I figured I might as well do it and am scheduled for next week. After scheduling I took to Google to try and find out what results I would receive and how I would apply them to training. I found clear explanations of what the numbers mean, but nothing on how I might alter training based on the results. Does a single test really tell you anything that would influence training? Or is it just a tool to establish a benchmark for future test that evaluate gains, or compare gains between programs? How might I alter my training based on results?

Thanks for any advice!

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I don’t know what you can do with your VO2 Max number except use it as a benchmark. It may be nice to know, but you really can’t base you’re training on it. Unless maybe you think it’s too low and want to work on increasing it to improve your fitness ceiling. But really that only changes your goals, not your specific training. You can’t create training zones around it like you can with FTP or HR. So, just seems like something that’s nice to know and then re-test again in a year if your employer pays for it again?


Actually the VO2 Max number calculated on my Garmin was the reason I wound up on Suf.

Since VO2 Max was one of those things that decline with age, I was doing workouts designed to improve it. I created my workouts on Training Peaks to go to 115% or 120% of FTP, which is what the books generally recommend. I then did the workouts on Rouvy.

I was finding that my VO2 Max number was not really improving.
So I tried Suf and my 4DP profile (I used my trial to do the FF Prep and FF) indicated that I was one of those people who have a MAP 130% or more of their FTP.

Since starting Suf that VO2 Max number has been slowly rising.

While as @emacdoug says you cannot train to that number, it does indicate your general level of fitness for your age. The other thing to realize is that VO2 Max does vary by sport.


Thanks for the info! We have the capability in the building so maybe I will do a 12-week plan and try to re-take the test.

If the test is a ramp It’s possible the test results will be in the form of a graph which case it is possible to read off various heart rate and lactate levels and therby training zones. You would need to tie these in with Suff zones of course.

Is the test in the same sport as the one you do (presumably cycling) ?

Part of utilising Oxygen is sending Oxygen appropriately to the muscles being used. If you are very adapted to sending blood to one group of muscles but use a different grouping to calculate VO2 max it will be if limited usefulness. For example your cycling VO2 max might be higher than your running one if you don’t run. There will be some factors that are the same between sports such as maximum heart output, but I’d still prefer a bike based one.

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finding out your V02max can inform your training. For example, if it’s on the low end relative to your ability to sustain power, you would know that intervals targeted at pushing this up would be useful to you.

on the other hand, if you have a high vof2max but your FTp is relatively low, that also gives you an idea of how to focus.

But as people mention, you may or may not be able to get training zones from it

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