VO2 Max

VO2Max is the most objective way to determine your aerobic fitness.

Our muscles can be seen as one large engine. This engine draws its fuel from sugar, fat and other chemicals stored in our body. Just like an engine, it requires oxygen to burn this fuel to convert it into energy.

During a marathon, our muscles can reach 2000% of our resting metabolic rate (as opposed to just 200% during a high fever).

As the intensity of exercise increases, so will the amount of Oxygen that your body requires. There will come a point where the amount of Oxygen used by the body does not increase despite the increasing intensity of exercise. This is known as the VO2Max. It is the absolute aerobic limit of the body. It is also known also as the dreaded ‘test to exhaustion’. With training, the VO2Max increases.

VO2Max can be determined by measuring the amount of Oxygen inhaled and exhaled while increasing the intensity of exercise. Once the amount of Oxygen consumed by the body stops increasing despite an increase in the intensity of exercise, this is the VO2Max.

VO2Max is expressed in L/min or ml/kg/min. The latter takes in to account the body weight of the athlete making inter-individual comparisons easier.

Below are some of the world’s top athletes and their VO2max scores. How will you compare?

Espen H. Bjerke Cross Country Skiing 96 ml/kg/min
Greg LeMond Cycling 92.5 ml/kg/min
Matt Carpenter Running 92 ml/kg/min
Miguel Indurain Cycling 88 ml/kg/min
Marius Bakken Running 87.4 ml/kg/min
Dave Bedford Running 85 ml/kg/min
Lance Armstrong Cycling 84 ml/kg/min
Mark Walters Cycling 83.5 ml/kg/min
Kip Keino Running 82 ml/kg/min

For further information about VO2max testing at our OUB Clinic or if you would like to book an appointment for VO2max testing, call us at 65366418 or email us at  hello@dtapclinic.com.sg

Please also read our article ‘VO2max testing’ for more information on what to expect during your test.


About Dr. Tan
Dr. Tan graduated from the National University of Singapore in 2001. His residency was in the two largest public hospitals in Singapore; Tan Tock Seng Hospital and Singapore General Hospital.

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