Earlier or later we will have to look at this topic. So after we had some great feed backs and ideas of testing ( VO2 max test with 1 min steps) or using 125 % of VO2 max , we may have to take some critical approaches towards this ideas.
We are not alone, but in the future equipment like MOXY will actually help us nicely to know, whether we reached a VO2 plateau for the moment and how we may be able to change that situation, depending what the reason of the plateau is.
Here a great summary from a Ph.D work I got sent to me from a friend from the Netherlands and I will use one or the other section out of it. It was done in Maastrich and is a great summary and overview on many cycling related ideas, but can be sued as a guide for any sport in the endurance filed.
Here let's start :
Several parameters are used in professional and amateur road cycling to assess and predict
cycling endurance performance, and to detect differences between professionals and
amateurs. Maximal oxygen consumption (VO
2max) is such a parameter and has been
considered the most important physiological parameter for many years. Individuals differ in
2max, and initiation of a training program might increase this parameter. However, once a
certain (maximal) training state is reached, no additional improvement of VO
2max occurs. A
combination of factors limit VO
2max; these restrictions include cardiopulmonary limitations,
oxygen carrying capacity limitations and limitations in the oxygen consumption capacity by
the muscle cell mitochondria. Despite its general use, VO
2max has not been shown to be
reliable in predicting endurance performance, as witnessed by the lack of difference between
professional and amateur cyclists. Rather, other parameters seem to be highly beneficial in
assessing and predicting cycling endurance performance. The most important parameters are
power output (W), breathing pattern (minute ventilation, V
E; breathing frequency; tidal
volume, Vt), ventilatory equivalent (eqVO
So when we look this summary in one of already shown picture ( see att. than you can see, that many of the factors related to a change in VO2 max are possible to improve, if and only if we know who and where the limitation is and who and how we compensate for the " weak link"
If you go carefully through the VO2 factors and you are ready to ask some open questions on how good each of the factors can react in a 1 minute step, than you can see, how subjective it may be to argue that a 1 min step test is great to find VO2 max. Why not a 2 min step test or a 5 min step test.
Is the VO2 max the same for any athlete or can one reach a higher VO2 max in a 1 min step and another athlete can reach a higher VO2 max in a 5 min step test.
If your answer is, well yes that could be possible, than we have to ask the question: Are we sure 125 % or 110 % of VO2 max is really 125 % ????
Or in other words,:
What does a % calculation has to do with Physiological testing or any testing in the first place. Does that mean any person out there increases the availability of any physiological system by 25 %. How about the possibility , that in a VO2 max one system was only pushed to the max. The other system not really. So now 125 % from who will be loaded and what if in different athletes % load was on a different system,
One may have pushed his a-v O2 difference ability to the max, the other one is cardiac output ???
This is NOT a critic on people who do that but rather a question to all of us who do that and it would be nice to have some interesting answers back or comments.
Here from the same study paper from the Netherlands
A study protocol with 3-minute stages was used in this study, starting with 2 W/kg and
increasing every workload step with 0.5 W/kg. Other research investigating differences
between professionals and amateurs, mainly Lucia and Chicharro, used different study
protocols with stages of 25 W/min (17, 18, 37, 39-44). Sallet et al. used a ramp protocol of 30
Watts every 1 minute and 30 seconds (55). These differences in ramp protocols may hamper
comparisons between the several studies. For example, the ramp protocol of 25 W/min
generally requires less total time than the protocol used in this study"
So again the question : if there is such a thing like VO2 max or a lactate threshold as a physiological information, how come , that different subjectively design protocols will give different VO2 max and lactate threshold information.
Would we not expect, that if something is physiologically limited, that no matter what we chose may be the limit , if there is enough time to try to get going to the optimal performance for that limiter.
If the cardiac out put may be a limiter and CO = HR x SV.
and the test protocol is a Wingate test protocol. The functional reaction of the athlete is going over HR rather than SV and the rapid increase of the load will not allow for an optimal venous return of blood to the heart, than we may never reach an optimal SV due to the never optimal preload of the heart itself. ?
Preload as well is directly linked to plasma volume and if we test people in heat and than in another situation we have to keep that in mind as VO2 can vary a lot.
Than the old idea as in PP ( Dal Monte) which ever 15 years triggers a new study . Here another one as the current generation forgets some great studies from the past.
Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1980;45(2-3):117-24.
A comparison of various methods for the determination of VO2max.
Keren G, Magazanik A, Epstein Y.
Previous studies have shown that true maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) obtained by means of cycle ergometer and step test are lower than the VO2max measured during uphill treadmill running. The predicted VO2max measured by ergometer was even lower. Four different methods for the determination of VO2max within the same group of examinees were compared: True VO2max by treadmill, ergometer, step test, and predicted VO2max (Astrand-Rhyming). This study was performed on 15 healthy non-professional sportsmen. They underwent progressive test protocols on alternating days and the results were as follows -- VO2max expressed in ml O2 kg BW/min (mean +/- SD): treadmill running 63.8 +/- 4.7; ergometer cycling 60.2 +/- 5.6; step test 59.6 +/-5.2 and predicted VO2max 59.9 +/- 6.9. The VO2max as determined by uphill treadmill running was significantly higher than with the other methods. No significant difference was found between true VO2max determined by the ergometer and step test. However, step test and properly executed Astrand-Rhyming test again proved to be reliable and deviate from the treadmill test by only 6%. Maximal heart rate was significantly higher in the treadmill and step tests than in the direct ergometer test.
Remember VO2 is an indirect information on the TOTAL bodies use of O2.
- The VO2max as determined by uphill treadmill running was significantly higher than with the other methods
Maximal heart rate was significantly higher in the treadmill and step tests
Now the question " Who used the more O2 ? Jean Bour the great Brsain behind the physioflow and his son Frank Bour showed me, how we can measure the MVO2 ( O2 used from your cardiac muscle and this would be possibly the case here can enhance O2 use.
So critically looked:
If the respiration or the cardiac system do not work effcient , than we may see a higher VO2 but a lower performance compared to a person with a very effcient respiratory system and a very effcient cardiac system.
So we can have a lower CO but aa better performance overall.
Why the long stroy ?
When we start to use NIRS and MOXY in specific we suddently can see why and where VO2 max starts to limits itself.
I will show to close here in the next reply a test and will ask some questions .