VO2 Max Lab FiveDue April 13, 2020
VO2 max, or maximal oxygen consumption, refers to the maximum amount of oxygen that an
individual can utilize during intense or maximal exercise. This measurement is generally
considered the best indicator of cardiovascular fitness and aerobic endurance. The more
oxygen a person can use during high level exercise, the more energy a person can produce. This
test is the gold standard for determining cardiorespiratory fitness because the muscles need
oxygen for prolonged aerobic exercise, and the heart must pump adequate amounts of blood
through the circulation to meet the demands of aerobic exercise.
The ability to predict VO2 max is determined by the heart pumping blood more efficiently and
oxygen is more readily used for metabolism in individuals with higher maximal oxygen
consumption capabilities. This concept better known as cardiovascular efficiency occurs since
the heart doesn’t have to work as hard (heart rate is lower) to meet metabolic demands of a
task. Therefore, if two individuals are performing the same power output (requiring the same
oxygen consumption), the individual with the higher VO2 max will tend to have the lower heart
rate. Also, we would expect that if two individuals were to work hard and record similar heart
rates, the individual with higher VO2 max will perform more physical work than the other. This
laboratory experience will help students learn procedures and supportive principles of basic
fitness testing. Students will also learn how to interpret the results of very simple fitness tests
and compare the outcomes of three different ways to measure VO2 max.
Students will select three different ways to measure VO2 max and record the data for each test.
There are six different ways to measure VO2 max, but given the on-line nature of class,
students will choose three of five tests. The five tests include: one-mile walking test, 1.5-mile
run, 12-minute run, step/bench test, and the 12-minute swim test. Students will find a
separate lab sheet for each mode of exercise under week nine on Blackboard. Students will
have two weeks to complete the three different tests and record the data including any
observations the student may make during these tests. Since we are not meeting in a group,
students may experience a variety of conditions that may impact overall results.
Students will submit a data sheet recording their findings for each of three different fitness
tests. Once they have completed three different tests, students will answer the following
1. Please describe each fitness test you performed and explain which of the three most
accurately reflects your cardiorespiratory fitness level?
2. Did you find similar results among the three fitness tests? Why or why not?
3. How do your VO2 max results compare to the average person in your age and
gender category? If you don’t have access to data, make an educated guess.
4. What common problems or sources of error might interfere with the accuracy of
5. Why is it important that experts measure VO2 max in elite athletes, students, and
6. Which special populations should avoid these VO2 max fitness tests?