Unlocking Your VO2 Max Potential: How Fast Can You Really Improve?
Are you looking to improve your running, or HYROX performance and curious about how quickly you can boost your VO2 Max? Knowing how fast you can enhance this crucial metric can help set realistic goals and expectations. In this blog post, we'll delve into the science behind VO2 Max, how HIIT can accelerate your improvements, and what kind of percentage increase you can realistically expect.
What Is VO2 Max?
VO2 Max, or maximal oxygen consumption, is essentially a gauge of your aerobic fitness. It quantifies the maximum volume of oxygen your muscles can utilise during high-intensity exercise. For HYROX athletes, this is a vital metric as it directly correlates with your aerobic and anaerobic capabilities, crucial elements in any HYROX event.
Two Effective Ways to Improve VO2 Max
As discussed in previous posts. A combination of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and High Volume Training (HVT) provides a powerful stimulus to improve your VO2Max.
1. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
HIIT is one of the most effective training methodologies for enhancing VO2 Max.
How to Implement High Intensity Interval Training:
Perform short bursts of high-intensity exercise (e.g., 30 seconds to 4 minutes) at your VO2Max intensity. Use testing or a max heart rate test to establish this.
Follow by an equal rest or low-intensity period.
Complete 12-20mins worth of high intensity work or until you fatigue
Perform HIIT 1-2 times per week to start, working up to 2 sessions as your fitness improves.
2. High-Volume Training
High-Volume Training, also known as endurance or long-slow-distance (LSD) training, helps improve the cardiovascular system's efficiency over time.
How to Implement High Volume Training:
HVT is performed in sustained, moderate-intensity exercise for extended periods (e.g. 30-90 minutes).
Perform these workouts 2-3 times per week.
Aim to increase the duration or distance incrementally over time.
The intensity should be your zone 2, or something that feels comfortable. You can find your zone 2 intensity with VO2Max testing
How Quickly Can You Improve your VO2Max?
While the speed at which you can improve your VO2 Max varies due to numerous factors such as current fitness level, age, and training regimen, research indicates that most people can look forward to a 5-15% boost after 8 to 12 weeks of targeted training.
Realistic Expectations and Benchmarks
The adage "Rome wasn't built in a day" applies to VO2 Max as well. The key is to set pragmatic, incremental goals. For beginners, the sky's the limit, with more substantial percentage increases often achievable. Conversely, veteran athletes might find the road to improvement a bit more laborious.
How to Track Your Progress
You can't improve what you can't measure. Ideally you want to be able to measure your VO2Max every 4-6 months as this can also highlight other areas of your fitness that you need to improve. If you’re unable to come in, then using a basic estimation on your watch or a 5k time trial can still help monitor improvements. Use our free resource hub to help you do this.
Incorporating VO2 Max Training into Your Annual Plan
1. Off-Season (General Preparation)
During the off-season, focus on building a strong aerobic base through high-volume, low-intensity training. This sets the stage for more intense training cycles later on.
2. Pre-Season (Specific Preparation)
As you get closer to the your main event (a run or HYROX competition), start incorporating more HIIT sessions to push your ceiling up. Start small. This would be 60-90s intervals with a minimal number of repeats. Gradually increase the volume over this phase.
3. In-Season (Competition Phase)
During the competitive season, maintain a balance of both high-volume and high-intensity work. Use HIIT sparingly during this phase, mainly to maintain your VO2Max.
4. Transition (Rest and Recovery)
After your event or season, reduce intensity and volume to allow for recovery. Use this time to evaluate what worked and what didn't in your training programme.
Ready to Unlock Your Athletic Potential?
VO2 Max is an important metric, but it's just one piece of the performance puzzle. Whether you're training for a HYROX event, a marathon, or just looking to up your fitness game, our comprehensive testing and training programmes can provide you with a complete picture of your athletic abilities.
From strength and movement economy to other key performance indicators, we've got the tools to help you understand your body better and train smarter, not just harder.
Don't settle for one-size-fits-all training plans. Click the link below to see how our Box:Perform testing packages can help support your training goals