VO2max and performance


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VO2max (maximal oxygen consumption) refers to the amount of oxygen that can be consumed within 1 minute – this value has been called the absolute VO2max and this parameter is one of the highest in rowers among other sport disciplines.

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VO2max and performance

  1. 1.  Training planning and analysis tips  Rowing technique videos  Applicable bits of rowing research Jarek Mäestu Sports Scientist (PhD), Ex rower and rowing coach, Rowing Academy Scientist SPORTLYZER ROWING ACADEMY MAXIMAL OXYGEN CONSUMPTION (VO2MAX)
  2. 2. SPORTLYZER ROWING ACADEMY Maximal oxygen consumption The effective 2000 m race must be rowed at a „severe steady state condition“, requiring mainly the aerobic pathways. Therefore, VO2max, or maximal aerobic power appear to be the most important determinants for elite rowers. VO2max refers to the amount of oxygen that can be consumed within 1 minute – this value has been called the absolute VO2max and this parameter is one of the highest in rowers among other sport disciplines. While maximal oxygen consumption is often large in rowers, this finding reflects mainly their large body dimensions. The relative oxygen consumption is relatively low in rowers compared to other endurance athletes because of the high body mass in rowing (Steinacker 1993). Only in some rowers (mainly in lightweight), relative oxygen consumption reaches 75 ml/min/kg (Steinacker 1993).
  3. 3. SPORTLYZER ROWING ACADEMY VO2max increases with age, training distance and with training experience, but levels off in Senior A level at about 24-25 years (Figure 1). 172.4 184.8 194 449 480 503 5.56 6.19 6.5 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 Junior Under 23 Senior A Ventilation Pmax VO2max However, after attaining the plateau of VO2max, the increases in performance can still be found in rowers. Among other reasons, it is the result of increased endurance capacity – the ability to perform longer at a certain intensity level. Figure 1. The change in ventilation, Pmax and VO2max in rowers.
  4. 4. SPORTLYZER ROWING ACADEMY Figure 2. The relationship between rowing performance and VO2max 4 4.5 5 5.5 6 6.5 270 320 370 420 470 VO2max(L/min) Performance (W) The relation between rowing performance and VO2max therefore indicates a plateau like relationship (Figure 2). Additionally, there has been found no significant increase in VO2max of different rowers from studies dating back 1968 to 2000, but a constant decrease in 2000 metre racing times (Figure 3). 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1968 1972 1976 1980 1984 1988 1992 1996 2000 sec l/min VO2max Race time Figure 3. Changes in VO2max and racing times. Therefore, we may say that VO2max for elite rowers is relatevely poor determinant of rowing performance.
  5. 5. SPORTLYZER ROWING ACADEMY To overcome this disadvantage, a traditional incremental test can be switched to 2000 m maximal performance test, where VO2max is constantly measured and the average value calculated (Figure 4). This allows the measurement of the ability to sustain higher fraction of VO2max during a certain time period. The 2000 m test can also be switched to 95% Pmax test. Figure 4. VO2max and heart rate values during a simulated 2000 m ergometer test. During the „classical“ incremental VO2 test the values were 6,1 and 5,87 L/min for rower A and B, respectively. Despite significant differences in VO2max values their performance was similar at 2000 m ergometer test and the average VO2 values too (5.84 and 5.83 L/min, respectively). 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 0 500 1000 1500 2000 heartrate L/min Meters Rower A Rower B
  6. 6. SPORTLYZER ROWING ACADEMY In Conclusion Despite the importance of VO2max and its high value as a parameter which is needed for rowers, its predictive value in elite and high level rowers is relatively small. This disadvantage can be eliminated if the average VO2 during a high intensity performance test is measured. This also indicates the importance of the testing method on VO2 values for specific rowing performance predictions.
  7. 7. SPORTLYZER ROWING ACADEMY References • Steinacker JM. Physiological aspects of training rowing. International Journal of Sports Medicine 1993; 1: 3-10. • Secher NH, Volianitis S, Jürimäe J. Physiology. In: Rowing, N. Secher, S. Volianitis (eds). Blackwell Publishing 2007; 42-66.
  8. 8. SPORTLYZER ROWING ACADEMY Hey, before you go! Please Tweet, Like, +1 and share this presentation if you found it helpful or entertaining. Next slide: learn more about the Rowing Academy
  9. 9. Sportlyzer Rowing Academy Sportlyzer Rowing Academy is No 1 source for rowing coaches looking for inspiration and ideas to: • make training plans more effective • plan and analyze athletes' progress better • learn from other coaches' experience Discover more • Testing for maximal aerobic power (slideshow) • Energy system contribution in 2000 m rowing (research paper) • Olympic gold at the age of 32 (research paper) More related reading