Forum home Road cycling forum Training, fitness and health

understanding and training V02max

ozzy1000_0ozzy1000_0 Posts: 144
hi all,
I've been cycling again for about 2-3years now, just sportives and recreation. Interested in racing but yet to pluck up the courage. I'm 36years old, used to cycling as a youth/junior but fell into fags, booze 'n birds after junior only to return as a 30-somthing fatty with a couple of health issues... cliché I know :)

anyway I've had the opportunity to do some testing lately, I was ramp tested in mid feb, six weeks into the year after relapsing into the above lifestyle for xmas and few months prior. I would have said I was relatively puffy and flabby in feb, my V02max was about 60.5ml/kg/min. Since then I've averaged 6hr's a week of training (including rest weeks) so not dramatic volume, but a genuine non-BS quanity. a good portion of this has been hard work on the turbo doing steady state, and hard 2-3minute intervals. I was tested again earlier in the week, my v02max is now about 62ml/kg/min, given the fact I've lost a couple of KG in body mass it basically hasn't moved...

now; my question is; I'm definitely a lot faster than I was in feb, so my body has made lost of peripheral adaptions, I can tolerate more intensity with less grimacing for longer periods.. but have I probably reached my genetic plateau with V02max? am I likely to get less training gains from now on, or am I probably not stressing myself enough in terms of volume to make good cardio gains? I'm 5' 11" and 73kg, but I have reasonable shoulders so much less weight and i'm too skinny for my wife to fancy me :) so I probably can't make many gains there.. how far will a V02max in the early 60's get me? whats the ceiling for me interms of power? a good friend of mine who's competitive in XC racing has a max oxygen of 68ml/kg/min and a local legend I'm aware of is mid 70's.

I know I expose myself to alsorts of grief and criticism with these kinds of big vague questions, but I think they make for interesting conversations and if you don't ask you don't learn right?

Posts

  • There is no way you have reached your limit after only two months. Come back after 4 or 5 years of consistent hard work, and we'll re-evaluate ;-)

    Forget VO2max. It's a poor predictor of performance, two riders with same VO2max can have significantly different performance levels. Beyond saying you'd probably need a minimum to be a pro, it won't tell you a great deal about what you are capable of. There are other physiological factors, let alone non-physiological factors, that determine how far you can take it.

    What matters physiologically is the power you can sustain, so if you have been training OK and there are no other reasons for under-performance, then it's likely the percentage of VO2max you can sustain at sub-maximal levels has risen.
  • ozzy1000_0ozzy1000_0 Posts: 144
    There is no way you have reached your limit after only two months. Come back after 4 or 5 years of consistent hard work, and we'll re-evaluate ;-)

    Forget VO2max. It's a poor predictor of performance, two riders with same VO2max can have significantly different performance levels. Beyond saying you'd probably need a minimum to be a pro, it won't tell you a great deal about what you are capable of. There are other physiological factors, let alone non-physiological factors, that determine how far you can take it.

    What matters physiologically is the power you can sustain, so if you have been training OK and there are no other reasons for under-performance, then it's likely the percentage of VO2max you can sustain at sub-maximal levels has risen.

    Hi Alex,
    thanks for the reply and reassurance. Its not just 2months of training, when I was tested in feb I would have been relatively fit compared to the general population, I'd just let it go quite abit over the autumn/winter. but yes.. I see your point :)

    I understand that it not all that matters, but I ride with a friend who does 68/mg/kg/min, when he's relatively untrained and I'm stronger than him and we go for ride, he's not puffed when he's struggling, he can be going slowly due to the burn but he rarely looks out of breath... then give him 2-3 weeks of proper training and I can't touch him...

    what happens when someone with a smaller V02max is trained right up, do we just end up riding everywhere with a very high HR? and a smaller difference between LT and max... sort of like a pimped up fiesta with a big turbo, compared to larger capacity engined Jag taking in a lesser state of tune... the dissapionting thing is that larger capacity engines can be tuned and turbo'd too :(

    so whats the reality of being able to increase the capacity of my engine? I've read that "untrained men" are often about 35-40ml/kg/min, so obviously I'm up on that. the girl in the lab initially said to me in feb "you could probably train that up towards 70", but then at my last visit, "maybe you're actually not that far from your genetic ceiling".. but then she's a PDH student and not a coach....
  • VO2max is trainable. However, no one can tell you how much it'll change by (this science isn't available). Mid 60's VO2max is reasonably decent - it should enable you to be a 2nd cat rider, so long as you have the other attributes that are required (see Alex's post).

    If you increase your VO2max, then it's possible that your sustainable HR may rise, but then again it may not. If you increase your VO2max then you're increasing the size of your engine. You increase heart size as well as a myriad of other physiological changes.

    Additionally, you can have fitness changes without a change in VO2max. For e.g. your LT (and sustainable TT power) can increase while, VO2max is stationary (the gap closes), you can increase anaerobic capacity, sprint power, and you can lose weight, as well improving your efficiency and prevent fatigue from occurring earlier.

    As you get closer to your ceiling, then the gains become smaller and harder to make (e.g. if you're a couch potato it's easier to significantly increase your fitness, compared to if you're already able to win the TdF where it's much harder to change your fitness). That doesn't mean you shouldn't try though!

    As Alex suggests, it's unlikely you're at the ceiling though. so keep training. and you should keep improving. If you need any help then just shout me or Alex :-). see our url!

    cheers
    ric
    Coach to Michael Freiberg - Track World Champion (Omnium) 2011
    Coach to James Hayden - Transcontinental Race winner 2017, and 2018
    Coach to Jeff Jones - 2011 BBAR winner and 12-hour record
    Check out our new website https://www.cyclecoach.com
  • ozzy1000_0ozzy1000_0 Posts: 144
    thanks alex and ric,

    I also found this old thread;

    viewtopic.php?p=15428401

    I know its all abit nerdy and there's probably a few old schoolers reading this thinking "just ride your bloody bike more".... but I'm very interested in the physiology and I'd be keen to starting racing at some point.. I'm time limited, have kids etc, and I think understanding what is actually happens and how it interacts really guides how I spend the little bits of time I have..

    so basically I'll keep at it.. I'm only a couple of years into being fit again and have a had a couple of "relapses" during that period. so yes, given what you've both said my early 60's v02max probably has a little way to go, and even if it doesn't the rest of me probably does..

    thanks again,

    Owain
  • SetarkosSetarkos Posts: 239
    A few thoughts (most has been said):

    If you keep riding, you will most likely get better ;)
    If you want to start racing other factors will be more important than you VO2max.
    Raising you VO2max for the sole purpose of raising your VO2max can be done but doesn't make much sense.
    Get your threshold tested as well (if you don't have a power meter to test it yourself) and see how close your threshold power is to your VO2max power - that'll tell you what you should primarily work on.
    If you haven't done specific VO2max training (such as Jesper Bondo Medhus' VO2max booster or certain HIT-programmes) there is most likely still potential. Considering how long you've been back on the bike for there is probably room for improvement anyway.
    Low 60's VO2max shouldn't keep you from racing successfully.


    PS: Congratulations for rediscovering cycling for yourself ;)
  • nothing nerdy about it at all. it's good stuff. i think "just ride your bike more" is useful, but if you're time limited, have kids, trying to make a comeback, or are elite and want to get the best gains in the shortest time possible then some sort of organised, cohesive and regular training is essential. of course, this is where coaching can really speed the process along, and get you up to scratch pronto

    ric
    Coach to Michael Freiberg - Track World Champion (Omnium) 2011
    Coach to James Hayden - Transcontinental Race winner 2017, and 2018
    Coach to Jeff Jones - 2011 BBAR winner and 12-hour record
    Check out our new website https://www.cyclecoach.com
  • ut_och_cyklaut_och_cykla Posts: 1,594
    one thing you could try is make the hard intervals slightly longer. Its my understanding that VO2 adaptations need raised blood pressure to take place - over a period of minutes and it is possible your 2-3 minute intervals are just too short. 5 x 4:4 interrvals fit nicely into an hour of turbo and you should be aiming for around 93% of max pulse for the last minute or two of each interval. But as others have said VO2 on its own is a poor predictor of performance on a bike. Getting your threshhold closer adn sustainable for longer will be more beneificial probably
Sign In or Register to comment.