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How Long Is A VO2Max Test

VO2Max Test: Some notes before we start!

  • VO2Max is the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use in one minute. It is usually measured in ml/kg/min which means millilitres of oxygen per kilogram of bodyweight per minute

  • The VO2Max test is generally regarded as the most reliable indicator of cardiovascular fitness and aerobic endurance.

  • It is suitable for a wide range of individuals, from the sedentary to elite athletes.

  • There is a slight difference between the way maximal and submaximal VO2Max tests are performed

VO2Max Test: What is it?

A VO2Max test (or aerobic capacity test) measures the maximum rate of oxygen consumption by your body in a set time period. This is usually measured in ml/kg/min which means millilitres of oxygen per kilogram of bodyweight per minute (or litres per kg in some countries).

VO2Max Test: Why is it performed?

Many individuals are ineffective with their training who have no knowledge of what heart rate, intensity, or duration would be best for achieving their specific goals such as fat burning, endurance training, or specific conditioning.

A VO2 Max test can help establish the specific target heart rates that will allow each individual to achieve their fitness objectives more successfully, with less risk or injury and burnout.

A VO2Max test is usually done at the start, or periodically between training blocks to help design training plans and to ensure training is going well. This can also be a great motivator when you can objectively see improvements in fitness.

Calorie and Fat Burn

The test also determines the number of calories burned at different intensities of exercise, providing valuable information when designing a weight loss programme or understanding fuelling for different events.

Through something called Respiratory Exchange Ratio (RER), we can also determine the proportion of energy coming from carbohydrates and fats at different levels of exercise intensity. This information can be very helpful when building a workout designed to burn more fat.

More than just the VO2Max

VO2Max testing is a crucial tool for serious athletes to assess their performance and analyse their training programme. Although intensive training might result in a plateau in VO2Max, an athlete's VO2Max test results can still be utilised to boost performance in other ways. Establishing the Aerobic (AeT) and Anaerobic Thresholds (AT) can highlight other areas of performance that can be improved.

VO2Max Test: How long is a VO2max test?

A VO2max test would usually take around 8 to 12 minutes, but this can vary depending on various factors such as the protocol used, the athlete's age and training status etc

As the name suggests, a VO2Max test is the best test to measure your VO2Max! This is because it’s fairly short meaning you hit these max intensities without tiring.

Longer (lactate/metabolic efficiency) step tests can also be used to identify your Aerobic and Anaerobic thresholds. A VO2Max can still be established however, this is unlikely to be as accurate as the shorter VO2Max test due to its length, as you get tired! These tests are more suited to longer course (ironman, ultra) athletes where VO2Max is less important compared to the aerobic threshold.

Combining tests

At Box Nutrition and Performance, we can combine a number of tests to ensure you get the most accurate data. For most people, the VO2Max test will provide you with more than enough data to help with your training plan.

If you are a competitive cyclist or runner, you may also wish to combine this with INSCYD remote testing, which gathers information from a series of max efforts over a few days. This gives us a bigger spectrum of data to ensure your training zones and fuelling are spot on.

Next Steps

If you think you're not getting the most from your training and wanted to get some more direction, or you just needed to pinpoint your training zones then see the VO2Max testing we offer. Secondly, reach out and gain support and information on how here at Box Nutrition we can help support you further. Either send your questions over to, use the form on the contact us section of the website or call 01212937581 and let us guide you with our specialist knowledge in metabolic testing and coaching.


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