Maximal Aerobic Power (Vo2)

The term refers to the functional capacity of the cardiorespiratory system and can be described the maximum rate at which oxygen can be used over a period of time to supply oxygen to muscles.

It is important to understand that it is not the muscle’s ability to extract oxygen from the blood it receives, but rather the rate at which the oxygen can reach the muscles. 

When a person exercises at a progressively higher power output, there is a linear increase in oxygen uptake to match the demand of the active skeletal muscles (movement) until the maximal oxygen consumption is reached. 

Endurance training elicits a number of training adaptations that promote an increase in VO2. These include:

  • Increase in cardiac output 
  • Increase in arterio-venous oxygen difference
  • Increased oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood – due to an increased haemoglobin content. 

It is important to note however, that these training adaptations occur over a long period of time, requiring periodic commitment to a training program. The extent of increase in VO2 depends upon:

  • Initial fitness status of the individual
  • Duration of the training program
  • Intensity, duration and frequency of the individual training sessions

VO2 max values are, in many cases, higher in trained athletes compared to that of sedentary individuals due to the enhanced stroke volume, improved myocardial function and higher capacity for oxidative metabolism in active muscles.

Studies have reported a VO2 max increase of ~15 percent with training, although it should be remembered that everyone is different.

Yellow sessions at Cycle Collective are focused on improving a riders VO2 max – so get onboard