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Cycling
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VO2max Calculator

Cycling

6 min power W
Weight kg
VO2max ml / (kg ⋅ min)

VO2max Explanation

VO2max is a synonym for the maximum possible intake of oxygen. It is the amount of oxygen which is processed by the body under maximum activity. It essentially depends on four factors. First, the oxygen needs to get into the lungs. Therefore it is an advantage being able to breathe in and out a lot of air within a given timespan. Blood needs to absorb the oxygen and transport it to the muscles. The heart pumps the blood through the blood vessels. Finally, the muscles need to absorb the oxygen transported by the blood and need to use it. Parts of the VO2max value is genetically determined but the other part is definitely trainable. VO2max is a good indicator for endurance capacity of an athlete but many other factors come up when aiming for a win. As a consequence athletes with a lower VO2max can beat athletes with a higher one.

VO2max Formula

The calculator applies the following formula:

\( VO_{2}max = \frac{6\: min\: Power \cdot 10.8}{weight} + 7 \)

Using this formula the VO2max can be determined very vell. To get the exact VO2max value a fitness test in a lab has to be done.
My calculated VO2max corresponds very well to the value measured in a lab. With my 66.5 kg and a power of ~400 W for 6 min the VO2max is calculated to 72.0 ml / (kg ⋅ min). It differs only 3.0 ml / (kg ⋅ min) or 4 % from the measured VO2max of 69.0 ml / (kg ⋅ min) in the lab (17 November 2017).

To calculate your VO2max you need to know your body weight and the power you can sustain for 6 min on a bike. A powermeter can easily measure this 6 min power. To do this you should choose an ascent and give everything for 6 min. At the end you should be completely exhausted. Don't go too hard at the beginning, because you should aim for a reasonably steady power output. The average power output for these 6 min will serve as a basis for the calculation.

If you don't have a powermeter on your bike you can do the test on a hometrainer too. Therefore you should approximately know how much watt you can produce for a period of 6 min. Now you start riding with this wattage. If you feel that the choosen wattage was too low, you can increase the wattage for example one minute before the end. Finally you have to calculate the arithmetic average (attention: if you did 5 min at 300 W and 1 min at 350 W the average is calculated to (5 min ⋅ 300 W + 1 min ⋅ 350 W) / 6 min = 308 W).

VO2max Comparison

Fitness level 20 - 29 years 30 - 39 years 40 - 49 years 50 - 59 years 60+ years
well above average 49.5 48.1 46.6 41.9 41.9
above average 45.0 41.9 41.9 37.4 34.4
average 40.5 38.9 37.4 34.4 31.3
below average 35.9 34.4 32.9 29.8 26.9
well below average 32.9 31.3 29.8 28.4 25.4

This data applies to men and is indicated in ml / (kg ⋅ min).

Top cyclists have a VO2max of above 80 ml / (kg ⋅ min). The four times Tour de France winner, Christopher Froome, has a VO2max of 84.6 ml / (kg ⋅ min), for example. Miguel Indurain once had a figure of 88.0 ml / (kg ⋅ min) and Greg LeMond even had 92.5 ml / (kg ⋅ min).

Cross-country skier tendentially have higher figures because more groups of muscles have to be supplied with oxygen.

References

Was geht (noch) mit 40?, Retrieved 27 November 2017

Leistungstests (Spiroergometrie), Retrieved 27 November 2017

Percentile values for peak oxygen uptake, Retrieved 27 November 2017

Chris Froome, Body Composition & Aerobic Physiology Report (PDF)

World Best VO2 max Scores, Retrieved 27 November 2017