Physiological Testing

Sub-Max and Maximal Aerobic Fitness Testing

 Maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) refers to your body’s maximal ability to utilize oxygen and is considered to be the best indicator of aerobic fitness. Since good aerobic capacity depends on a healthy cardiovascular system, VO2max is important when evaluating cardiovascular health and risk. Additionally, a baseline test creates a reference point for evaluating the impact of an aerobic training program. VO2max is determined by a graded exercise test on a treadmill or stationary bicycle. The test consists of exercising while the workload is gradually increased until the person can no longer continue (~12-15 minutes). During the test, the person breathes through a mouthpiece and their expired air is analyzed for oxygen content by a computer to evaluate VO2max. Test can be completed on:

  • Treadmill
  • Bicycle ergometer
  • Computrainer

Lactate Threshold Testing

This test determines the lactate threshold (LT) during exercise, which can aid in determining an appropriate training intensity and monitor progression in the serious athlete. This test is similar to the VO2max test, but with slightly longer periods of time between changes in workload. This test does involve several blood samples taken from the ear or finger for the assessment of blood lactate. It is not considered a maximal test but does require a high intensity effort. 

Lactate Threshold Performance Implications

Lactate Threshold (LT) - this term has many definitions and people argue with each other as to what is the correct way to define it. The answer is that there is no one universally accepted definition. To make it simple, LT is the maximum steady state (MLSS) effort that can be maintained without lactate continually increasing. Others may use a different definition but this represents a physiological phenomenon that is important for endurance performance.

Performance - Researchers have identified three factors that are highly correlated with performance in endurance sports. These are

  • VO2 max or aerobic capacity
  • Economy of Movement
  • Lactate Threshold