149-d : VO2 max TRAINING

For adults, the lung capacity is fixed. Not all the oxygen we breathe is used by the body. By training the lungs can take in more oxygen, which enters after transportation by the blood into the muscle. The oxygen supply to the muscles thus increases which is reflected in a better performance. The specific VO2 max training ensures efficient maximal oxygen uptake capacity of the lungs.

VO2 max is the maximum amount of oxygen that can be inhaled and utilized by the body.

Oxygen is needed for the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats and proteins in the body. These degradation processes provide the necessary fuel for the muscular work.

During intensive efforts, the body switches to a different help system to provide energy. This produces lactate. An increasing lactate is associated with an increasing acidosis. This acidosis is not caused by lactate but due to the increase of H + ions or protons. Due to the acidosis the intensity of the effort decreases. With an increase in the transport of oxygen the moment acidosis will occur is delayed.


VO2 max can be determined by measuring, using a gas analyzer, oxygen uptake during a maximal exercise stress test in a laboratory. This is expensive and time-consuming.

But there is a good road test that can predict your VO2 max, like the functional threshold power (FTP) test. For the FTP test read Chapter 012 and Chapter 013.

Briefly, ride a flat time trial of 20 minutes. Take seven percent off your average power figure. This is your THRESHOLD POWER. The VO2 max training zone will be around 110-120 percent.

Essential points are: Do a FTP test, Train at the right intensity. Combat lactic acid. Absorb more oxygen.


The average power can be determined in a time-trial of 10 or 20 minutes. We are talking about the critical power of 10 and 20 minutes. Abbreviated the CP10 or CP20. The individual FTP is calculated by multiplying the CP10 to CP20 with 0.88 and 0.93. Do this CP10 and CP20 tests regularly during training. So you learn better how to dose these short time trials and you will get a good impression of the increase of your VO2 max.

A rider has a CP20 of 290 watts.
FTP is: 0.93 x 290 = 270 watts
The lower limit of his VO2 max training is: 1.06 x 270 = 286 watts
The upper limit of his VO2 max training is: 1.20 x 270 = 324 watts

With these figures different variations are possible.

Warm up for 15 minutes at a reasonable pace. After that step-up your pace for 15-minutes. Please note that you do not run out of breath and can talk. Next the time-trial of 20 minutes followed by a cool down of 15 minutes.

Based on FTP the other training zones.


 In the scheme above the VO2 max training will take place at 106-120% of FTP.
The duration of the intervals amounts to 3-8 minutes.
Once you are used to the training sessions, the best way to your continuous improvement is to Increase the number of intervals, Increase the length of them, or reducing the time you spend in the recovery between them.

Some suggestions of VO2max training for a rider with a FTP of 270 watts.