Forum home Road cycling forum Training, fitness and health

Garmin 1000 V02 Max

cld531ccld531c Posts: 517
Ive just noticed that my Garmin shows V02 max when you start playing with all the buttons.
Anyone had a proper V02 test and know how (in)accurate the data from a Garmin is?
Also, any idea what settings it uses to calculate that as some I have just left as standard so if it is of any use mine is probably wrong anyway.
Thanks

Posts

  • TyresomeTyresome Posts: 113
    cld531c wrote:
    Ive just noticed that my Garmin shows V02 max when you start playing with all the buttons.
    Anyone had a proper V02 test and know how (in)accurate the data from a Garmin is?
    Also, any idea what settings it uses to calculate that as some I have just left as standard so if it is of any use mine is probably wrong anyway.
    Thanks

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-s ... tness_test

    This is a well respected fairly common test which is used to determine VO2 max. There are plenty of easily accessible internet resources available to facilitate the setting up of your own version. If you did it you’d have something to judge the Garmin’s numbers.

    https://www.topendsports.com/testing/te ... huttle.htm
    Here are some instructions and a table or two to peruse.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=sP8tvsjR2dQ

    And here’s the actual test.
  • cld531c wrote:
    Ive just noticed that my Garmin shows V02 max when you start playing with all the buttons.
    Anyone had a proper V02 test and know how (in)accurate the data from a Garmin is?
    Also, any idea what settings it uses to calculate that as some I have just left as standard so if it is of any use mine is probably wrong anyway.
    Thanks

    REAL VO2 max tests are as unpleasant as tests get... basically you only stop when you puke in a bucket

    any nonsense estimated by a device is not a VO2 max test and should not be quoted as such.

    It's enough nonsense that a 1 hour FTP test can be done in a few minutes
  • cld531ccld531c Posts: 517
    Ugo - No doubt you're right. Numbers weren't anything I would be bragging about anyway, I was just wondering whether, if set up correctly, it would be a good indicator of whether my fitness was improving or not (irrespective of the pure numbers, more as a trend).
    Tyresome - thanks but no running for me!
  • cld531c wrote:
    Ugo - No doubt you're right. Numbers weren't anything I would be bragging about anyway, I was just wondering whether, if set up correctly, it would be a good indicator of whether my fitness was improving or not (irrespective of the pure numbers, more as a trend).
    Tyresome - thanks but no running for me!

    If I was to choose a parameter to measure my fitness, I'd not choose VO2 max. It's a number which is difficult to shift up and the difference between you as a sedentary person and you as the best athlete you can be, might be quite small.

    Resting heart rate, measured over long periods of time to, with loads of data points, might give you a better indication of your aerobic fitness and it's easy to measure too with modern wrist bands.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,729
    If I was to choose a parameter to measure my fitness, I'd not choose VO2 max. It's a number which is difficult to shift up and the difference between you as a sedentary person and you as the best athlete you can be, might be quite small.

    Agree that VO2 max is not a particularly good indicator of fitness or performance, but it is trainable, to a certain extent.
    Resting heart rate, measured over long periods of time to, with loads of data points, might give you a better indication of your aerobic fitness and it's easy to measure too with modern wrist bands.

    I can't see that RHR would be any more useful as an indicator of 'fitness' that VO2 max. Certainly, a lower RHR might indicate a better trained CV system, but HR is generally unique to individuals, so it wouldn't necessarily correlate that a lower RHR would equal higher performance.

    I would have thought something like an FTP test - or an aerobic limit test - would be a better, more 'real-world' indicator of overall cycling fitness.
  • Imposter wrote:

    I can't see that RHR would be any more useful as an indicator of 'fitness' that VO2 max. Certainly, a lower RHR might indicate a better trained CV system, but HR is generally unique to individuals, so it wouldn't necessarily correlate that a lower RHR would equal higher performance.

    What I meant was checking it over long periods of time should spot trends... if it goes down, then fitness should have improved... the absolute number is meaningless, I agree.

    I don't really believe in FTP... you can measure it 5 times over a period of 2 weeks and get very different numbers, typically improving, as you get smarter at squeezing the most out of those 20 minutes (or 60 if done properly).

    I tried twice in the same week and I improved by 30 Watts, which is enough to scrap the all concept

    Ultimately, you should feel if you are in good form or not... small things like being able to stick to the same big gear going over that motorway bridge... being able to keep 25 mph over that stretch of flat or not... these things should be more telling than spending 20 minutes on an indoor trainer trying to get your best number out
  • redvisionredvision Posts: 2,813
    I don't really believe in FTP... you can measure it 5 times over a period of 2 weeks and get very different numbers, typically improving, as you get smarter at squeezing the most out of those 20 minutes (or 60 if done properly).

    I tried twice in the same week and I improved by 30 Watts, which is enough to scrap the all concept

    Ultimately, you should feel if you are in good form or not... small things like being able to stick to the same big gear going over that motorway bridge... being able to keep 25 mph over that stretch of flat or not... these things should be more telling than spending 20 minutes on an indoor trainer trying to get your best number out

    I was coached last season by a well respected former pro, now BC coach, who swore by FTP testing and training programs based on the results. I also didn't really believe in FTP until he educated me in to the accuracy, benefits and possibilities it opens.

    My progress was substantial through the year, until it came crashing down in October (a different matter). Anyway, one thing he stressed over and over, the importance of only doing an FTP test once every 8 week.

    Everyone has their own training techniques and beliefs and if they work for you then that's all that matters. But if you decide to try and train to power and conduct more FTP tests, make sure you only do them once in every 8 weeks.
  • tonysjtonysj Posts: 386
    cld531c wrote:
    Ugo - No doubt you're right. Numbers weren't anything I would be bragging about anyway, I was just wondering whether, if set up correctly, it would be a good indicator of whether my fitness was improving or not (irrespective of the pure numbers, more as a trend).
    Tyresome - thanks but no running for me!
    I'm not sure on its accuracy as I have a Garmin 1000 linked to cadence, speed sensors and a Tacx Flow smart trainer. I have a power meter but this is not a crank or hub model so I don't engage that tending to use the turbos measure of power/Watts.
    I always check/record my rides and have done a FTP test 2 weeks ago when I started a organised training programme ( nothing fancy just 5 sessions a week ranging from 75% to 105% of FTP initially ) this is the first time other than a month of TrainerRoad I did over 1 year ago, that I've actually applied myself to regular training in the hope of being fitter and be more in a Good place come the Spring.
    A couple of months ago my VO2 Max measured via Garmin/Turbo trainer was around 48 at Mid November when I started turbo T riding with some regularity and intensity . Last week my VO2 Max was 52 via Garmin/Turbo. So over 2 months an increase. Now some may not agree with the accuracy of that reading but I think its good to see an improvement as it keeps me motivated and I do feel I have got fitter as my HR is lower for similar sessions from previous weeks.
    It MAY only be 45 but I still view it as another measure for my fitness to look at and check.
    Id just use it as a measure, as long as you input your current stats, weight etc, and if it goes up Good for you :D

    Regards,
    Tony.
  • TonySJ wrote:
    A couple of months ago my VO2 Max measured via Garmin/Turbo trainer was around 48 at Mid November when I started turbo T riding with some regularity and intensity . Last week my VO2 Max was 52 via Garmin/Turbo. So over 2 months an increase.

    It's not a measurement, it is an estimate, just like the power numbers on Strava are estimates. If you like to compare estimates, then it's all good, but they are not even measurements, so talking about accuracy is inappropriate.

    More generally, extrapolating how much oxygen you consume per minute per kg of body mass based on a turbo is simply ludicrous...
    If you look at athletes, you will find a wide range of VO2 max and you will find athletes showing similar performance with different VO2 max... so it simply cannot be extrapolated, end of...
  • mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,426
    I wouldn't be too dismissive of Garmin's VO2 Max estimates. I have no experience of using a Garmin cycling device but I do use a Forerunner 645 for running and find the VO2 Max figure provided by First Beat to be interesting and useful. A recent article in Runners' World outlined the findings of four US university studies which showed a Garmin Forerunner combined with chest strap was off by less than five percent overall compared with a VO2 Max lab test. I guess a cycling Garmin combined with chest strap and power meter would give similar accuracy.

    For running, the figure is based on pace and heart rate so you need to do a steady run on the flat to get a consistent figure. A hilly route will see your figure decline slightly. Running off-road will see your figure decline significantly as your heart rate is much higher for the same pace which is why Garmin has a trail running app which doesn't measure VO2 Max estimate. It gives me a good indication of how fit I am currently and how I compare with others in my age group via Garmin Connect.
  • ... but not a fitness parameter...

    It measures the size of your aerobic engine... it is influenced by things like lung capacity, which is highly individual. There are folks who have never done sport and will trump your figures any day of the week.. that doesn't make them fitter than you... they just have a bigger engine... they have more potential than you, but they might struggle to run 10 km or ride 30 miles
  • mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,426
    Yes you're right, ugo. I should have said it gives a good indication of my body engine rather than my fitness. But it's an interesting element of the Garmin experience. Even though, in commmon with the findings of other users on the Garmin forum, my figures are slightly over estimated. Still, it's nice to read that I'm officially "superior" and in the top 1 percent for my age and gender (66 next month) with the fitness age of an "excellent" 20-year-old!
  • tonysjtonysj Posts: 386
    Mercia Man wrote:
    Yes you're right, ugo. I should have said it gives a good indication of my body engine rather than my fitness. But it's an interesting element of the Garmin experience. Even though, in commmon with the findings of other users on the Garmin forum, my figures are slightly over estimated. Still, it's nice to read that I'm officially "superior" and in the top 1 percent for my age and gender (66 next month) with the fitness age of an "excellent" 20-year-old!
    And that's all that matters, you get the feel good factor by figures. Good on ye ; )
  • One fitness parameter which is extremely easy to measure, very reproducible and is very telling of aerobic fitness is VAM.
    All you need is a hill of at least 80 vertical meters with a decent gradient (6% or more) and Strava will measure it for you.

    That of course is too easy, so the industry wants to sell you fake measurements of parameters which sound very PRO, but in practice are completely meaningless unless you know your own physiology.

    Of course you need a hill, I mean a real hill, not the Col de Zwift
  • ProssPross Posts: 31,602
    I doubt the accuracy (mine is currently showing 48 which is on the cusp between excellent and superior for my age and I'm certainly not!) but looking at the long term tracking it definitely reflects my improvement in form and levels of exercise. Of course, it could be simply taking the level of recorded exercise and converting that into a VO2 max figure in its most simple form but as above I believe it is mainly based on the effort in comparison to your maximum heart rate at any given pace in which case it would require you to accurately provide your maximum heart rate and as it is measured in ml/kg/min (it's a measurement of the amount of oxygen your body can utilise) you would also need your weight to be accurate.

    I would say it's a reasonable guide of your relative state of fitness but wouldn't suggest it could be used as a reliable measure of your comparative fitness to others.
  • TonySJ wrote:
    A couple of months ago my VO2 Max measured via Garmin/Turbo trainer was around 48 at Mid November when I started turbo T riding with some regularity and intensity . Last week my VO2 Max was 52 via Garmin/Turbo. So over 2 months an increase.

    It's not a measurement, it is an estimate, just like the power numbers on Strava are estimates. If you like to compare estimates, then it's all good, but they are not even measurements, so talking about accuracy is inappropriate.

    More generally, extrapolating how much oxygen you consume per minute per kg of body mass based on a turbo is simply ludicrous...
    If you look at athletes, you will find a wide range of VO2 max and you will find athletes showing similar performance with different VO2 max... so it simply cannot be extrapolated, end of...

    If we're talking about trained cyclists (so, to try and make this simple, let's say anyone who races or could race and keep up) then you'll find similarish* VO2max's across groups of cyclists, and you'll find that efficiency is also pretty similar across trained cyclists full stop.

    For e.g. for say 3rd cat males you'll find the vast majority are ~55 - 60 mL/kg/min

    it's unlikely there's any elite riders who have a VO2max <70mL/kg/min

    I guess it may also depend by what you mean by a wide range of VO2max...
    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
  • ... but not a fitness parameter...

    It measures the size of your aerobic engine... it is influenced by things like lung capacity, which is highly individual. There are folks who have never done sport and will trump your figures any day of the week.. that doesn't make them fitter than you... they just have a bigger engine... they have more potential than you, but they might struggle to run 10 km or ride 30 miles

    Are you talking about VO2max? If so it isn't influenced by lung capacity.

    There are people who've never done sport who will be sat at home, on the couch eating a doughnut, with a VO2max bigger than mine, as VO2max is about 50% genetically determined. With somewhat minimal training, they'll be faster than me quite rapidly.

    With cessation of exercise you'll see VO2max decline. When World Tour pros stop so does theirs. but it's quite likely that even with years of no exercise and with their VO2max at their baseline sedentary level they could get on a bike, or run and hammer someone who is training.

    VO2max - is treated as both the gold standard of fitness in most exercise physiology labs, and is thought of as "engine size".

    As far as i'm aware, tech that tries to estimate VO2max isn't overly accurate.

    Ric "been tested lots of times for VO2max with Douglas Bags and online gas analysers"
    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

  • With cessation of exercise you'll see VO2max decline. When World Tour pros stop so does theirs. but it's quite likely that even with years of no exercise and with their VO2max at their baseline sedentary level they could get on a bike, or run and hammer someone who is training.

    I wouldn't be at all surprised if the decline had more to do with them no longer chipping in the drug kitty...

    Seriously, I don't think PRO athletes are representative, with all that's (still) going on in professional sport and professional cycling specifically.

    As for the comment above, by wide range I mean it wasn't uncommon for top cyclists to have VO2 max close to 90 ml min-1 kg-1

    Why is VO2 max not affected by lung capacity? My impression is that athletes with large lung capacity always turned out with bigger VO2 max...Indurain is the textbook example, was he not north of 8 litres?

  • With cessation of exercise you'll see VO2max decline. When World Tour pros stop so does theirs. but it's quite likely that even with years of no exercise and with their VO2max at their baseline sedentary level they could get on a bike, or run and hammer someone who is training.

    I wouldn't be at all surprised if the decline had more to do with them no longer chipping in the drug kitty...

    Seriously, I don't think PRO athletes are representative, with all that's (still) going on in professional sport and professional cycling specifically.

    As for the comment above, by wide range I mean it wasn't uncommon for top cyclists to have VO2 max close to 90 ml min-1 kg-1

    Why is VO2 max not affected by lung capacity? My impression is that athletes with large lung capacity always turned out with bigger VO2 max...Indurain is the textbook example, was he not north of 8 litres?


    Yes, world tour pros will have VO2max in the range of say ~70 to 93 mL/kg/min

    a quick check of Indurain, show's his body mass (presumably as a pro) at 80 kg. If his VO2max was 8 L/min, then his VO2max would have been 100 mL/kg/min....

    Lung capacity is something else... This has no effect on VO2max. IRRC lung capacity scales with body height. But in terms of VO2max, most of the O2 you breathe in, breathed out, we have tons of spare air and O2, and so this comes down to your respiratory chain being able to use the O2.

    of course, VO2max is generally stated per body mass. And if you say a sedentary VO2max is ~40 mL/kg/min then the absolute VO2max would be influenced by body mass (e.g. if you weighed 50kg then VO2mx would be 2 L/min, whereas if you had a mass of 80 kg it'd be 3.2 L/min)
    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


  • Lung capacity is something else... This has no effect on VO2max. IRRC lung capacity scales with body height. But in terms of VO2max, most of the O2 you breathe in, breathed out, we have tons of spare air and O2, and so this comes down to your respiratory chain being able to use the O2.

    Not sure it's so not related. Yes, we breathe in much more oxygen than we use, but it's also true that unless you have a given partial pressure (concentration) of it in the blood, you can't really use it. With oxygen saturation lower than say 98%, you can hardly move, let alone climb a mountain.
    If what you say was true, then one should be able to perform reasonably well whilst having a mild asthma attack, which is obviously impossible.
    Thing is, normally large lung capacity comes with a big pump and more oxygen is available to the tissues at any given time, which in turn should increase the amount that can be used per unit of time and mass.

    I have to come clear that the last time I studied physiology was at Uni in 1992... :roll:
  • cld531ccld531c Posts: 517
    Thanks all, bit more technical than expected. Think I'll keep an eye on what it says but not set too much store by it
  • I’ve climbed a mountain with O2 saturation levels in the low 80%s.

    I reckon it’s more about efficiency than volume, that’s probably because I don’t have a huge lung capacity. How efficient are your lungs at osmosis as most of the air is exhaled anyway.
  • I’ve climbed a mountain with O2 saturation levels in the low 80%s.

    How did you measure it?
  • The little meter you climb on to your finger. Was at the altitude sickness clinic at Thenbouche
  • Sorry o2 saturation meter you clip on to your finger.


  • Lung capacity is something else... This has no effect on VO2max. IRRC lung capacity scales with body height. But in terms of VO2max, most of the O2 you breathe in, breathed out, we have tons of spare air and O2, and so this comes down to your respiratory chain being able to use the O2.

    Not sure it's so not related. Yes, we breathe in much more oxygen than we use, but it's also true that unless you have a given partial pressure (concentration) of it in the blood, you can't really use it. With oxygen saturation lower than say 98%, you can hardly move, let alone climb a mountain.
    If what you say was true, then one should be able to perform reasonably well whilst having a mild asthma attack, which is obviously impossible.
    Thing is, normally large lung capacity comes with a big pump and more oxygen is available to the tissues at any given time, which in turn should increase the amount that can be used per unit of time and mass.

    I have to come clear that the last time I studied physiology was at Uni in 1992... :roll:

    During maximal exercise O2 sat can drop way below 98%, to the low 90s, or into the 80s. for e.g., see https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3934509/ see their point 1.

    I seem to recall seeing an article in (maybe) velonews maybe 10 years ago (yeah, i know that's a lot of maybes!) where (medical) doctors were amazed to see what happens to O2 sat in endurance athletes.
    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
Sign In or Register to comment.