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Estimating VO2max

Old 11-05-23, 09:06 AM
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terrymorse BTW, I think you are doing amazing cycling and training. Riding up Hamilton 18 miles with 4400 feet of elevation gain once per week is beast mode at any speed. Keep it up.
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Old 11-06-23, 06:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Hermes
My wife's VO2Max calculated by Garmin peaked at 73. She was age 72. She is the hour record holder at 38.6 Km age 70 to 74. She is also the 2k pursuit WR holder 70 to 74. She is going for the 75-79 hour record in 2025 with a target of 40 km. She weighs 105 pounds, 9% body fat and works out in the gym daily. She was tested at UCLA sports lab to enter a sports clinical trial and failed to produce any lactate. They disqualified her from the trial. Beware of trials that contain selected athletes.

She is always in beast mode. So there are a lot of other genetic features that matter other than VO2 max when determining if someone if going to set a world record. Her first coach in 2007 when she did her initial simple test on the trainer said Cat 2 power. That was untrained.

Do I believe the 73 VO2 max. Yes, to an extent (it may be higher) coupled with the hour record and 2k performances but I think the determining factors are her lactate production or lack thereof and total focus on performance, strength and weight control.
That is very impressive indeed, but I find it extremely hard to believe she has a genuine VO2 max of 73 at the age of 72. I looked up the highest recorded VO2 max for a female athlete in their prime and it is apparently 78. Clearly your wife is world class for her age, but Garmin VO2 max estimates are probably not! It would be very interesting if your wife did a lab test for VO2 max to confirm. It would be amazing if it were possible to maintain that elite level of aerobic fitness in later life.
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Old 11-06-23, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
That is very impressive indeed, but I find it extremely hard to believe she has a genuine VO2 max of 73 at the age of 72. I looked up the highest recorded VO2 max for a female athlete in their prime and it is apparently 78. Clearly your wife is world class for her age, but Garmin VO2 max estimates are probably not! It would be very interesting if your wife did a lab test for VO2 max to confirm. It would be amazing if it were possible to maintain that elite level of aerobic fitness in later life.
I rest my case. Garmn VO2 numbers are BS but so are all the rest. As soon as the number looks fishy, a real test is called for and that makes sense. What is also clear besides VO2 are speed differences and time. The latest elite hour record for women from a couple of weeks ago was just over 50 km/hour. Bonkers.
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Old 11-08-23, 04:04 AM
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Old 11-08-23, 07:42 AM
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My VO2 max is 53. I'm 68 and weigh 140lbs/63.5kg. As has been stated above while I have a hard time generating a high w/kg my weight to power ratio is good.
The VO2 number is based on data from rides on Garmin Connect. No lab testing so it is just a number based on collected numbers.
While Garmin says it is a great number I much prefer real world testing...my finishes in area races/events, no prisoner group training rides, etc.
I use all the numbers to monitor my training, rest/recovery periods, etc.
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Old 11-08-23, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Kai Winters
My VO2 max is 53. I'm 68 and weigh 140lbs/63.5kg. As has been stated above while I have a hard time generating a high w/kg my weight to power ratio is good.
The VO2 number is based on data from rides on Garmin Connect. No lab testing so it is just a number based on collected numbers.
While Garmin says it is a great number I much prefer real world testing...my finishes in area races/events, no prisoner group training rides, etc.
I use all the numbers to monitor my training, rest/recovery periods, etc.
I think you meant to write:

> while I have a hard time generating a high w/kg watts my weight to power ratio is good

FYI, Garmin Connect currently reports my VO2max at 57, while HRV4Training reports 59 (I'm 3 kg lighter, which helps). Pretty decent match of the two, but the Garmin one jumps around from day to day, while the HRV4Training one seems more consistent. The HRV4Training number is more complimentary, so it has that going for it

But yeah, they're not giving trophies for VO2max. The real measure is how you perform on the road. Was it Andy Coggan who said, "The best measure of performance ability is performance itself."?

I think these estimated VO2max trackers are decent fitness monitors, even if the absolute values are questionable. Going up is good, staying the same is okay, going down is not so good.
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Old 11-08-23, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
I think you meant to write:

> while I have a hard time generating a high w/kg watts my weight to power ratio is good

FYI, Garmin Connect currently reports my VO2max at 57, while HRV4Training reports 59 (I'm 3 kg lighter, which helps). Pretty decent match of the two, but the Garmin one jumps around from day to day, while the HRV4Training one seems more consistent. The HRV4Training number is more complimentary, so it has that going for it

But yeah, they're not giving trophies for VO2max. The real measure is how you perform on the road. Was it Andy Coggan who said, "The best measure of performance ability is performance itself."?

I think these estimated VO2max trackers are decent fitness monitors, even if the absolute values are questionable. Going up is good, staying the same is okay, going down is not so good.
I generally use w/kg as a stock measurement of my performance.
Some of my numbers this year: Back in Jan in a Zwift Racing League B race I averaged 3.6 w/kg or 230 watts avg/230 watts np. Also marked 3.7 w/kg for 20 minutes.
My best 15 second power was 8.7 w/kg in March Zwift event.
While not particularly impressive considering I'm 68, 5'4" and 63.5kg/140lbs I'll take it...for now lol.

I'm looking forward to the 2024 season because I'm going to spend a lot of time in the gym working on a strength program. It is going to be interesting to see how my performance changes for the road season.
I'm still competitive and participate in perhaps 10 or more events this season. I managed 2nd in a Century race open division, 3rd overall at the Tour of the Catskills. Those were my best the rest were respectable.
This is my third year back to competition after a 16 year off period due to a very bad car vs bike crash that did a lot of damage physically and mentally then a move to another state and working 12 hour swing shifts for the next 15 years until I retired and decided I wanted to race again. I was very active in the New England race scene starting back in the mid '80's until the accident in '02 which basically ended things for a year or two.

Back to numbers lol...They all work as a method to monitor fitness. I think they work best when you understand the numbers and what they mean so you can see, data wise, when you need to take a bit of a break to recover and build. It is also very important to monitor your body, physically and mentally. We can easily get caught up in the 'continuous pushing' for improvement and using this to push when fatigued. Your body is telling you to rest and recover but you think you need to push harder.
I use Training Peaks, Strava and Garmin Connect as well as the data Zwift Power provides to monitor my training and recovery. The data sources are fairly close...I guess they use different algorithms...close enough that I trust their accuracy.

VO2 Max and Lactate Threshold are endurance numbers, telling you the rate and level at which you can exert yourself while still processing chemicals in a manner that can be maintained for periods of time...go beyond and your body can't process what is being created/excreted...lactate, etc...and you start to see diminishing returns as you can only push at that level for so long. Training to improve these levels and using the data to track/monitor improvements is so very useful because the body lies and the quote of Greg LeMond is so true..."it never hurts less, you just go faster"...likely I'm not quoting exactly but you get the idea.

Whew, enough bloviating for me.
This is a great topic for discussion regardless of age or ability...using numbers/data to monitor fitness, physical well being, the need to rest and recover, etc. is a great way to go imo.
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Old 11-14-23, 06:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Kai Winters
I generally use w/kg as a stock measurement of my performance.
Some of my numbers this year: Back in Jan in a Zwift Racing League B race I averaged 3.6 w/kg or 230 watts avg/230 watts np. Also marked 3.7 w/kg for 20 minutes.
My best 15 second power was 8.7 w/kg in March Zwift event.
While not particularly impressive considering I'm 68, 5'4" and 63.5kg/140lbs I'll take it...for now lol.


This is a great topic for discussion regardless of age or ability...using numbers/data to monitor fitness, physical well being, the need to rest and recover, etc. is a great way to go imo.

This is a great topic. And some of it leaves me confused...

VO2 is a great predictor of health, longevity, fitness... but there has to be some grey zones in the numbers. Same with judging "fitness" in w/kg. Cycling fitness, yes, but in terms of overall fitness- that number may be lacking.

VO2 is heavily influenced by weight. Ones cycling engine - heart, lungs, legs - could be just as strong as another's, but VO2 max could be a good bit lower due to the non cycling bits - like a strong upper body with some muscle mass. Lean mass outside of cycling specific lean mass skews the "fitness" numbers lower.

(If) I could lose the extra 20#'s of lean upper body mass that I carry - my VO2 would go up, my w/kg would go up - but would I really be more fit overall? Would I be a better cyclist - yes, but would I be better in terms of overall health and well being?
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Old 11-14-23, 07:43 AM
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As much as all this data points towards fitness I find it equally valuable to help determine when it's time to take a short break to recover from a period of intensity training. We often hit a point where our training stagnates, plateaus, etc. and all too often our response is to 'go harder' when in reality our body is telling us it's time to ease up and recover.
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Old 11-14-23, 08:53 AM
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Here's some info on Garmin's VO2Max estimation algorithm:
https://support.garmin.com/en-US/?fa...w76z5WoihLy5f8

Garmin licenses their algorithm from FirstBeat Technologies. Their description is here:
https://www.firstbeat.com/wp-content..._30.6.2017.pdf

Some other FirstBeat info is here:
https://www.firstbeat.com/en/science...-publications/
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Old 11-14-23, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Jughed
This is a great topic. And some of it leaves me confused...

VO2 is a great predictor of health, longevity, fitness... but there has to be some grey zones in the numbers. Same with judging "fitness" in w/kg. Cycling fitness, yes, but in terms of overall fitness- that number may be lacking.

VO2 is heavily influenced by weight. Ones cycling engine - heart, lungs, legs - could be just as strong as another's, but VO2 max could be a good bit lower due to the non cycling bits - like a strong upper body with some muscle mass. Lean mass outside of cycling specific lean mass skews the "fitness" numbers lower.

(If) I could lose the extra 20#'s of lean upper body mass that I carry - my VO2 would go up, my w/kg would go up - but would I really be more fit overall? Would I be a better cyclist - yes, but would I be better in terms of overall health and well being?
VO2 max is sport specific. So a dedicated cyclist could have a relatively high cycling VO2 max and only an average VO2 max for say rowing.
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