October 21, 2007

VO2 Max testing for baseline

Round one. VO2 Max Testing

I have all of my appointments for the research scheduled now and have tried to keep them all at the same time of day for consistency. Seven AM on Mondays and Fridays. This Friday, I was tested for my VO2 max and was introduced to the computrainer and breathing tube and mask. Hopefully, the hardest effort is over now and my baseline is set for the remaining sessions.

What is VO2 max testing? Well... In short it is the a measure of a persons aerobic capacity. A test to measure the maximum capacity to utilize and transport oxygen throughout the body during an increasing load of exercise. Just like we all have a limit to our maximum heart rate and limits in the ability to deal with the lactate production from overworking muscles there is a limit to how much oxygen we can use at a given time. It is much more accurate in determining given levels of training zones and in some way our ability or limits on physical performance. Like our LT (lactate threshold) and heart rate zones, the amount of oxygen you can efficiently use can be increased to a degree but we are limited to an extent by the parents we choose.

Jeff was very gracious in explaining all of this to me and how we would work through the test. I was hooked up to a system that would monitor my effort in a number of ways. The computrainer would measure and deliver an increasing load while the mask I wore would collect my breath (C02). I was also wearing a heart rate monitor to correlate with the increase in load (measured in watts) and I would pedal at a steady 90 RPM cadence for the entire test.

Now for the test. After a short warm up I started out twith my 90 RPM cadence and started pushing an easy 100 watts. At every 60 seconds the load would be increased another 25 watts and I would have to keep my 90 RPM. Jeff reminded me again and again. ninety! I know, I know... Did he think that this would be hard?

After a few minutes went by and I started getting use to breathing out of a tube. The pace was... well 90 RPM but felt easy even with a few extra watts. Then it hit me. I am not ridding until we reach a time limit or a set of watts. I am going to ride until failure. Complete muscle failure where I could no longer hold 90 RPM or move my legs as it would turn out. Crap. This is going to hurt. I tried to settle in and get ready for the fun. 200 watts, 225, 250. . . 300... not bad but I knew I was exceeding my LT. 325 was tough. I noticed the front of my bike starting to bounce and was really resisting the urge to stand. Jeff must have seen it coming and started counting down the last 20 seconds for the final stage. I made it and with 350 watts and about 15 minutes later I could not longer hold anything together. I was so happy to get that tube off . . . even if it did look all Lance Armstrong.

Was that good? I asked Jeff and we went over some numbers. Lets just say I am no Lance... At the peak my heart rate got up to 178bpm and somewhere just before there my VO2 was around 65. I am not sure if that is good or not but I am looking forward to future test where I can compare myself against myself. Much better than going against Lance. I should get a full report when we are done but now that the test is complete I will have a baseline for the rest of the visits so we can see if these different cranks really work.

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