Serious athletes have undoubtedly heard of VO2 max testing as a means of measuring and improving their athletic abilities. Whether you’re looking to push past a plateau or plan a rigorous training regimen, VO2 max testing is a great resource to use when you’re attempting to burn fat and improve your overall fitness. Seasoned athletes and newcomers can both benefit from VO2 max testing, and in today’s post, we’ll explain what VO2 max testing is and how it can help you with your training. A.M. Total Being Fitness offers a variety of fitness services in Southfield,, including VO2 max testing. Contact our personal trainers today at at 248-251-0801 if you’re interested in using VO2 max testing to take your fitness to the next level!

What Is VO2 Max Testing?

We’ll start by explaining the basics. The “V” is short for “volume,” “O2” is short for “oxygen,” and “max” is short for “maximum.” VO2 max testing is also referred to as:

  • Maximal oxygen consumption
  • Peak oxygen uptake
  • Maximal aerobic capacity

VO2 max testing is a fantastic measure of your cardiovascular system’s capacity to perform under stress. Your body requires oxygen when you exercise, and this why you find yourself breathing heavily at the end of a strenuous workout. Athletes who seek to measure their VO2 max are generally wanting to learn how much oxygen their bodies can utilize while they exercise. Other things being equal, the more oxygen their bodies are able to consume, the better their athletic performance will be. VO2 max testing is also a fantastic indication of a person’s overall health. In fact, a 2016 paper from the American Heart Association argued that VO2 max testing should be recognized as a reliable quantification of cardiorespiratory fitness.

How Does It Work?

VO2 max testing is performed under the guidance of a personal trainer, and it should be only be performed in a laboratory or in a fitness center. A mask will be placed over your face, and you will be placed on a bike or on a treadmill. The mask is designed to measure the amount of oxygen you’re taking in and exhaling as you exercise, which allows the overseeing physician or personal trainer to precisely measure your cardiovascular capacities. The bike or treadmill will increase in intensity in intervals, eventually resulting in complete exhaustion. The goal is to work your cardiovascular system as hard as possible (maximally, in other words). Your heart rate will also be monitored, and your VO2 max combined with your heart rate will give you a reliable indication of your overall fitness level.

How Can VO2 Max Testing Help Me?

You can think of a VO2 max test as the equivalent of a weightlifting test. As any personal trainer will confirm, it’s important to establish a person’s baseline strength before developing a training plan for them. Determining a person’s current strength level and muscle capabilities allows a trainer to set realistic goals and to develop a training plan that will deliver optimal results for the client. A VO2 max baseline measurement is crucial if you plan on undertaking an endurance training program or engaging in any exercise that requires you to constantly increase your athletic performance. Knowing your VO2 max will allow you or your personal trainer to develop training programs that will increase your VO2 max over time, which will lead to increased fitness and athletic ability. Sprints, long-distance running, and other tests of cardiovascular endurance depend on high-quality training, and you’re left in the dark without knowing your VO2 max.

How Can I Improve My VO2 Max?

It’s best to enlist the help of a personal trainer if you’d like to increase your VO2 max, but there are ways of increasing your VO2 max on your own. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) typically combines bodyweight exercises and aerobic exercise to deliver full-body workouts that will tax your body and your cardiovascular system (and burn a significant amount of fat in the process!).

Personal trainers will vary in their preferences, but most trainers will recommend either a repetition-based or a time-based approach to HIIT. Repetition-based HIIT generally has a handful of short exercises that are repeated in sequence for several rounds, or until a timer is completed. Time-based HIIT involves performing specific exercises for a certain amount of time before moving on to the next exercise in the sequence. Both of these approaches to HIIT are sufficient to increase your VO2 max, so find one that works for you and stick with it consistently. If you’re not sure which approach you should be using, you can always ask your personal trainer or someone at your fitness center for advice.

High-intensity interval training is not the only way to improve your VO2 max, though it is perhaps the most efficient. Regularly running sprints, biking, and running will all help your body to adapt to the stress you’re putting it under, and these forms of exercise will all contribute to an increase in your VO2 max. Try mixing sprints, HIIT, and other forms of cardiovascular endurance into your routine to increase your VO2 max and burn fat more efficiently!

We hope that this article has helped you understand the uses and the importance of VO2 max testing. A.M. Total Being Fitness proudly provides personal training, nutritional coaching, and many other fitness services in Southfield. Contact our fitness center today if you’re interested in learning more! We offer a free assessment for new clients, so call us today at 248-251-0801 !