How far can you go in your workout before you run out or breath? Well if you’re struggling on that treadmill you’ve got stashed away in the garage, or can barely manage a run through the neighborhood, then try taking a page from an elite athletes training playbook. Endurance is the name of the game. And your goal should be to increase VO2 max with your cardio sessions. This one little trick will get you going faster for longer sets of time.
A body in motion runs on oxygen. The heart pumps oxygen-rich blood out and the muscles take it in. What matters most in your exercise sessions is how these to work in relation to each other. Your body is like a machine and you should train with this in mind. You’ll want to make your heart stronger and the muscles more efficient at absorbing the blood. This should be the goal of your conditioning.
In this post we’ll discuss the most effective strategy to increase your endurance so you can start to survive those workouts of yours.
While there are certainly many ways to determine your aerobic fitness level. One of the simplest forms involves the VO2 formula:
Using this can help you determine the volume of oxygen your body uses while running or lifting at maximum oxygen uptake.
What’s the Best Training Method to Increase VO2 Max?
Research has shown that genetics determines about half of your endurance capability. Fifty percent seems like a huge predetermining factor. But, it’s actually a benefit in disguise. It means your training has plenty of wiggle room to get your faster and with more intensity for longer periods.
Interval Training Will Work Wonders
Beginners can expect to see an increase in their VO2 Max within a six months span. Weekly workouts can manage a performance increase of 15 to 20 percent for that time period. So if you were to knock out just 30 minutes of interval cardio sessions three times a week, you’ll either be on track or well ahead of besting this average.
Moderate to advanced individuals can see improvements up to 25 percent by running intervals near their their maximum capability for two to five minutes.
The longer you can maintain your pace nearer and longer to your VO2 threshold, the quicker your gains will be apparent.
[Here's a study showing how intervals may affect the VO2 plateau: Alterations in VO2max and the VO2 plateau with manipulation of sampling interval. The participants were at different levels of physical fitness and age ranges. Their readings were taken at 15, 30 or 60 seconds.]
Know Thy Self!
I always recommend keeping tracking your progress with with a log. You can choose a simple diary or a full-blown journal chronologically detailing every repetition and/or calorie eaten.
The only way to improve your stats is to know your stats.
You can easily test your output at home without needing any special equipment. All that’s required is a chair, or workout bench, and a stopwatch. Here’s a link that offers many options to evaluate yourself and increase VO2 max performance. There’s even one to apply the Home Step Test.
The site recommends using a metronome in the test. I think this is a good idea for establishing a rhythm. I happen to have a metronome because I’m always trying to build up my guitar chops, but you can come up with a good alternative with a quick “metronome online” Google search.
Did You Know:
The athletes with the greatest VO2 max output are Cross Country skiers. The highest recorded measurement reached is 96.0 ml/kg/min, by Espen Harald Bjerke, a Norwegian cross country skier, in 2005.
If you want to stop huffing and puffing your way through workouts then aim your exercise routines for better maximum oxygen uptake. Most practitioners of HiiT increase VO2 max in the shortest amount of time than with any other fitness routine. This is great for anyone with a tight schedule or who are members of the Impatient Club.