Monday, March 4, 2013

Vo2 Max, Lactate Threshold, and Power Testing

I did a lab test at the Millennium Institute of Sport and Health last week. We are well into the 2013 race season so I thought it would be an opportune time to undergo testing and get real data on my Vo2 maximum, lactate threshold, and power output.

After a 10-minute warm-up on a stationary bicycle, the test starts with a 3-minute interval at 150 watts. The resistance is increased every 3 minutes by 30 watts until the point of failure. The stronger you are, the longer the test. 

I managed to reach 330 watts for the full 3 minutes, but failed 90 seconds into the 360W stage. Pushing 360W for 90 seconds, after having pushed 330W for 3 minutes and 300W for 3 minutes before that is damn hard. Maintaining cadence becomes harder and harder and then eventually, physically impossible.

My results were as follows:

  • My Vo2 max was 64. Sixty-four is not a bad result for an amateur, but also the reason I am an amateur. Pros are mid-high 70s. Vo2 is mostly genetic and can be equated to natural talent, although training will improve the score slightly. 
  • Lactate acid (4 mmol) begins to build when my heart rate reaches 160bpm (or 270W).
  • My power-to-weight ratio at 330W was 4.7. At 360W, the ratio was 5.1. (I weighed 70.7kg for the test). The best pros can hold 6.0.

Finally, the test also determined my training zones which I will now incorporate into my training plan. I've been doing a lot of intensity work for the past 3 months; probably too much (at or near threshold group rides 3 days per week). This has come at the expense of strength and base work which I did in the spring, but probably should continue through the racing season to improve my economy. I'll include more variation from now on. 

For locals, I recommend calling Joe McQuillan at Millennium if you are interested in a lab test. Or, email me and I will give you his contact info.


  1. Great stuff Duncan. How much does a test like this normally cost?