RAISE YOUR VO MAX
Tap into the cardiovascular code that can power you to achieve your fitness goals with James Hewitt, performance coach at HINTSA Performance
Why Go Max?
“Your VO2 max is the maximal volume of oxygen that can be inhaled and used by your body. It’s often expressed as a ratio – ml.kg.min – to describe maximum oxygen uptake relative to body mass over a period of one minute. There’s a correlation between VO2 max and endurance performance and a higher VO2 max means that your body can take in more oxygen and deliver it to your muscles, enabling you to cycle faster for a given effort.” So, clearly, this is an area worth targeting, but how?
Tailor Your Training
“There’s often room for VO2 max improvement among amateurs, but you’ll need a targeted training programme to achieve it. Both of the following methods aim to achieve beneficial adaptations to improve fitness and VO2 max. Be realistic about how much training stress you can handle – only tackle high intensity sessions when fresh enough to hit the ‘big numbers’. Build a deep base through as much low-intensity riding as you can fit in - and do the high-intensity training once or twice a week.”
Go Long And Low
“You can ‘push up’ your VO2 max from below your functional threshold power (FTP) with low-intensity, long rides (the ‘threshold’ is the maximum intensity of effort that you could sustain for 60 minutes). For example, go out for three hours of steady riding where you keep your perceived rate of exertion around 2-3 out of 10 (light-to-moderate), your heart rate at less than 75% of your max or power below 75% FTP.” As you progress you can build the length of these rides, but keep the intensity low.
Go Short And High
“Also aim to ‘pull up’ your VO2 max from above your threshold with high-intensity, short rides. The high levels of lactate accumulation, oxygen debt and high-force muscular contractions will encourage your body to adapt. Start with a 20-minute gradual warm-up. Then ride for two minutes easy including 2 x 6-second sprints to ‘activate’. For your main set aim for 6 x 3-minute intervals at 110% FTP and perceived exertion of 7-10. Include three minutes of light recovery between each interval and then cool down.”
If you can boost your VO2 max you will be able to ride faster for the same effort