How Can One Raise Their VO2 Max?

How can one raise their VO2 Max? VO2 max is an effective way of measuring one's aerobic fitness ... Find out what your level of fitness is and what you can do to it improve it right here. Learn more.

TOPIC: How Can One Raise Their VO2 Max?

The Question:

VO2 max is an effective way of measuring one's aerobic fitness, but can unfortunately decrease with age.

How can one raise their VO2 Max?

How long does it take to see a good improvement in one's VO2 max?

Who would be most interested in raising their VO2 max?

Would supplements help to increase VO2 max?

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Max: Let's Get It At Maximum Levels

What Is Your VO2 Max:

    Maximum oxygen uptake (VO2 max) is the standard measure of aerobic capacity and is directly related to the physical working capacity of an individual. VO2 max of an individual is affected by uptake of oxygen in the lungs, extraction of oxygen from the arterial circulation by working muscles and by cardiac output.


    VO2 max is the beginning and the end of your aerobic capacity, but shows the potential you have to being the best athlete you can be. Also, I have read in numerous sources that your V02 max is mostly genetic. If your parents are Lance Armstrong or a cross-country skier, you are going to have a significant advantage in the beginning.

VO2 Max Is The Beginning And The End Of Your Aerobic Capacity.
+ Click To Enlarge.
VO2 Max Is The Beginning And The
End Of Your Aerobic Capacity..

Miscellaneous Information On Athletes With High V02 Numbers:

  • Lance Armstrong checks in at about 84ml/kg-/min.
  • Cross-country skier Bjorn Daehlie measured at an astounding 96 ml/kg/min.
  • Thoroughbred horses have a VO2 max of around 180 ml/kg/min.
  • Siberian dogs running in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race sled race have VO2 values as high as 240 ml/kg/min.
  • Source:

Lance Armstrong Is Such A Hero.
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Lance Armstrong Is Such A Hero.
Cannot understand why many would side with a bitter old man, LeMond, and say that Armstrong has doped. No way.
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How Can One Raise Their VO2 Max?

First, you must understand that their are limits to your V02 max other than genetics ...

1. Age

    Although it varies greatly by individual and training programs, in general VO2 max is the highest at age 20 and decreases nearly 30 percent by age 65.

VO2 Max Decreases Nearly 30 Percent By Age 65.
+ Click To Enlarge.
VO2 Max Decreases Nearly
30 Percent By Age 65..

2. Gender

    Many elite female athletes have higher VO2 max values than most men. But because of differences in body size and composition, blood volume and hemoglobin content, a woman's VO2 max is in general about 20 percent lower than a man's VO2 max.

3. Altitude

There is no magical one answer to fit all in improving V02 max. When I ran, I would do so for 20 minutes at low-intensity. Now, I add in some high-intensity running on non-workout days. I usually run 20 minutes at the fastest pace possible and do that two times a week.

The Top Three Mistakes Runners Make And Some Solutions!
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The Top Three Mistakes Runners Make And Some Solutions!
Assuming you follow smart training protocols then you should be able to find a good middle ground for weight training and running.
Shannon Clark

It is not about how much you run, but the quality at what you run. Here are some published studies that are beneficial:

1. Wenger And Bell

    Wenger & Bell concluded that runs performed at 90-100% of VO2max pace (abbreviated vVo2 max for "velocity at VO2 max") bring about the largest gains in VO2 max. vVO2 max is defined as the slowest pace at which one reaches one's maximum oxygen consumption; for most people, it falls somewhere between 1-mile race pace and 2-mile race pace.


2. Neufer

    High VO2 max can be maintained on as little as two or three workouts per week if the intensity of training is kept high. If the training intensity wanes, VO2 max tends to decline as well.

    From that, I take that running two to three days of high-intensity workouts will improve V02 max and that is similar to what I do. In conclusion, I suggest you run three times a week at high-intensity and at a level that makes you sweat (140+bpm).


What I Do: Sample Workout

What Is The Best High Intensity Cardio Workout?
Doing cardio is better than not doing any cardio at all. Get some great training ideas and fundamentals for high intensity cardio right here.
[ Click here to learn more. ]

How Long Does It Take To See A Good Improvement In One's VO2 Max?

I think you can raise your V02 max in about a month. I believe it's like weight training. After 4 weeks, you test it out and see if you made any jumps. If not, you change the program to keep your body guessing.

If you are a decent athlete in the beginning, your V02 max will not see as much change as a person whose V02 max is poor. For example, novices in bodybuilding experience the greatest gains for a while when they start out. This is the same for poor VO2 testers. The fitter you are, the harder it is to soar to a higher level.

Any Misc Brahs Ever Done A VO2 Max Test...?
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Any Misc Brahs Ever Done A VO2 Max Test...?
So my ex. phys. professor volunteered me to be the subject for a VO2 max test in our lab this week, knowing full well I'm a weightlifter not an endurance athlete.
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Who Would Be Most Interested In Raising Their VO2 Max?

Anybody engaging in a sport would be interested in raising their V02 max because it is important. I took a V02 max test two weeks ago and my max was higher by ten points from my last time. This translates on the basketball court to better endurance for me.

It takes longer for me to get out of breath and sprinting on the court is so easy. Before when playing full court, I would walk up the court. Now, I can jog up the court. No, my V02 max isn't where I want it to be, but that's okay. I will keep pushing myself to reach the highest level.

Is Your VO2 Max Where You'd Like It To Be?

It's Close But Still Needs Improvement.
No It Needs Drastic Improvement.
I Don't Know. I've Never Tested It.

Long distance athletes thrive on V02 max numbers. Cyclists, marathon runners, and cross-country skiers are some of the best athletes when it comes to testing V02 max. They manipulate their training to make sure they are ready for anything and can last longer than other athletes.

Would Supplements Help To Increase VO2 Max?

The ones below are one that specifically that allow you to enhance oxygen intake and not ones that give you better endurance and strength like creatine or beta-alanine.

1. Cordyceps

    I have used AN Drive and MST Cordygen5 which both contains cordyceps. From my experience, I have felt an ability to breathe better and last longer on the basketball court and in flag football. It takes a while getting use to, but it works. Also, helps in the weight room too when your doing burnouts.

2. Inosine

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Some fitness experts claim that inosine can have a positive effect on overall physical strength and energy during exercise. Inosine is the perfect training companion. It is a natural substance that can help increase the body's ability to carry oxygen, without effecting its uptake in the lungs, so it can work harder, stronger. Inosine is the perfect training companion.
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What is VO2 Max?

Definition: VO2 max (also maximal oxygen consumption, maximal oxygen uptake or aerobic capacity) is the maximum capacity of an individual's body to transport and utilize oxygen during incremental exercise, which reflects the physical fitness of the individual.


This means that VO2 max is an indication of the maximum amount of oxygen one can use in one minute per kilogram of body weight. Therefore increasing your VO2 Max would be particularly useful if you wish to participate in endurance events like triathlons and marathons! However this does not mean that maintaining a good VO2 is only important to endurance sports athletes. By increasing your VO2 Max, your cardiovascular ability would benefit and that would in turn translate to a healthy you.

Cyclist Lance Armstrong Has A VO2 Max Of 85 ml/kg/min.
+ Click To Enlarge.
Cyclist Lance Armstrong Has
A VO2 Max Of 85 ml/kg/min..

How Can One Increase Their VO2 Max?

To answer this question, we must first learn how to measure our VO2 Max. Luckily already has that covered. Just follow the instructions given and enter the value into the calculator. Easy isn't it?

1. Lose Weight

    Actually, lose body fat to be exact, as losing muscle would be detrimental to your physical prowess. Why would losing weight help with increasing VO2 max? As I mentioned earlier, VO2 Max is measured as the actual maximum oxygen uptake relative to one's body weight, therefore by cutting down our body fat percentage, it would indirectly increase your VO2 max value.


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2. Do Your Cardio!

    Working out at an intensity that raises your heart rate between 65-and-85% of its maximum for at least 20 minutes 3-to-5 times a week. Research shows that consistent aerobic conditioning will increase your VO2 max value.

3. Interval Training

    French exercise physiologist Veronique Billat found that the fastest way to reach your potential is to run intervals at a speed that elicits your VO2 max. The easiest way to determine what speed you should run at is to make use of a heart rate monitor.

    First subtract your age from 220 to determine a rough guesstimation of your maximum heart rate. Your heart rate during the VO2 max training should be in the 90-100% range of our Maximum Heart Rate, and this level of exertion should be sustained for at least 4-to-8 minutes.

The Heart Rate Handbook.
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The Heart Rate Handbook.
Heart rate training tailors your workouts and performance based upon your heart rate. Believe it or not, you're already sort of doing this ...
Rich Butkevic

    Start off with 3 intervals with a set distance and slowly increase the number of intervals each week. Do this once a week, it might be tempting to jump head first to a new exercise program, but do not let overtraining hamper your gains!

4. Keep Pushing Yourself

    A rolling stone gathers no moss. Increase the intensity of your workouts when you feel ready. Do not let yourself stagnate! Once the workouts feel easier, ramp up the training.

Sample Workout

    A sample workout program would look like this:







      Do something fun, but keep yourself active. Go trekking/hiking or play some sports. Or rest if you found that particular week exhausting.

10 Innovative & Fun Cardio Methods For Outside!
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10 Innovative & Fun Cardio Methods For Outside!
As the summer rolls around, it's a great idea to move your cardio workouts outside, taking in the fresh air and providing some fresh terrain.
Shannon Clark

    It should also be noted that just increasing your VO2 Max might not necessarily translate into becoming a better endurance athlete. You should also work on increasing your lactate threshold via anaerobic exercise such as High Intensity Interval Training (e.g. Tabata), sprinting or Renegade Training-style workouts: What is Renegade Training?

    Conditioning workouts are also effective at increasing one's lactate threshold and work capacity. I have provided below a sample conditioning workout. Check out the forums for more conditioning workout ideas.

Search The Forums Type in the keyword you would like to seach for in the box below, then click "Search".

    Burpee Ladder

      Do 16 sets of Burpees. Start with 20 reps and each set drop one rep until you reach 5 reps.

Burpies Burpees
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Dumbbell Burpees.
WMV (700 KB)

    Every 4 weeks recalculate your VO2 Max to gauge your progress.


To cap it off and give yourself an edge in this whole process and look into purchasing products like Millennium Sport Cordygen5 and Cordygen VO2. Two excellent cordyceps products that have received good feedback from a huge number of forum members. I myself have used both Cordygen5 and Cordgygen VO2 and found them effective in increasing my cardiovascular ability.

Cordygen5 Millennium Sport Presents:

Cordygen5 incorporates 100% organic, highly concentrated extracts of five strains and four species of cordyceps for maximum oxygen utilization, cellular energy, stamina and ATP production. Cordygen5 is an effective performance enhancing cordyceps product and may provide for increases in ATP and in oxygen utilization. Cordygen5 is perfect for anyone who wants to increase their ATP levels but doesn't want to consume creatine due to its common side effects.
[ Click here to learn more. ]
Cordygen VO2 ULTRA Millennium Sport Presents:
Cordygen VO2 ULTRA

Cordygen-VO2 ULTRATM incorporates OxyCeps-ATPTM, a DNA certified, 100% organic and highly concentrated HEAA (hydroxy ethyl adenosine analogs) rich Cordyceps Sinensis Hybrid to provide maximum oxygen absorption, utilization and ATP production. Combined with powerful extracts of Jiaogulan (gynostemma pentaphyllum), Rhodiola Rosea and electrolytes Cordygen-VO2 ULTRATM sets the new gold standard for reducing oxygen debt and providing maximum endurance. Cordygen-VO2 ULTRATM is formulated for rapid release and action.
[ Click here to learn more. ]

Also the difference between the two products is that Cordygen5 is slow-release and longer lasting whereas Cordygen VO2 is fast-acting and lasts for approximately 2-3 hours. Therefore I would recommend Cordygen5 for your light cardio-session days and Cordygen VO2 for interval and conditioning days.

From the product write-up:

Studies suggest that cordyceps enhances ATP production, increases oxygen utilization, improves VO2 Max, increases SOD (Super Oxide Dismutase) and more ...

Also, to help with recovery and to ensure you are able to put in 100% into your training check out MAN BodyOctane, one of the first products which include Beta Alanine and Citrulline Malate. It has been suggested that both ingredients promote lactate threshold and that would mean better and more effective training sessions!

Higher Power Beta Alanine Plus Review.
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Higher Power Beta Alanine Plus Review.
I have been trying a number of beta-alanine based supplements lately, and I can broadly state that beta-alanine supplements are better than nitric oxide ...
Matt Canning

And last but not least, consider purchasing a Heart Rate monitor! It would help you greatly in your training. There are some pretty nifty ones which are actually able to calculate your VO2 Max right off the bat. Some of them can also serve as a training log and help you gauge your progress over time!