Looking to get a VO2 max test in the UK?
If you’re into any kind of cardiovascular fitness there are all kinds of devices, protocols and methods to help you up your game.
One of which is the VO2 Max test which has been used by professional fitness coaches for decades.
Like a lot of fitness technology (and technology in general), the barriers to entry lower as it becomes cheaper and more accessible to non-professional but equally keen enthusiasts.
Over the last few years, the VO2 Max test has grown in popularity among people looking to improve their fitness performance, especially among runners, cyclists and triathletes.
VO2 max is the optimum rate at which the heart, lungs, and muscles can effectively use oxygen during exercise and it is used as a way of measuring a someone’s individual aerobic capacity.
As we age, VO2 Max decreases so the earlier you have it tested the more you can start benchmarking your longevity protocol.
What is the VO2 Max test?
In simple terms, the VO2 Max test is a way to measure your body’s ability to use oxygen. The more oxygen you can consume while performing during high-intensity exercise the better. Some claim the VO2 Max test to be the gold standard for measuring aerobic fitness and cardiovascular endurance.
A VO2 Max test allows you to test how much oxygen-rich blood the heart can pump around the body and how efficient the muscles are of making use of that oxygen.
It’s calculated by measuring the volume of oxygen you consume while doing aerobic activity usually on a treadmill or stationary bike.
The volume (V) of oxygen (O2) (Max)imises during the activity and your heart is beating at its maximum. After some calculations you get your VO2 Max reading.
Most VO2 Max testing centres will also track your heart rate zones so you’ll receive an analysis of that too.
How to get a VO2 Max test
Most tests are done in a sports science lab of some kind. To find the one nearest to you do a Google search of your town or city along with ‘VO2 Max test’. It’s then simply a case of making a booking for the most convenient day.
You’re required to fast with only for eight hours beforehand so it’s best to do a test on the morning so you’re not feeling hungry.
Cyclists usually do a test on the stationary bike and runners on the treadmill. If you’re a triathlete then test it doing your preferred discipline. Or, if you’re really keen, test it doing both.
Once in a test centre, you’ll hook up to a computer via an oxygen mask which takes the reading. From there you’ll be instructed to start running (or cycling, I did mine on the treadmill) to the point of almost exhaustion.
This lasts for around 20 minutes and by which time you’ll be pretty much depleted of your energy.
Where to get a VO2 Max in the UK?
VO2 Max Salford
Salford University does VO2 Max testing for £160.
Vo2 Max Loughborough
Loughborough University does a VO2 Max test for £165.
VO2 Max Hampshire
Solent University does a VO2 Max test for £100.
How much does the VO2 Max test cost?
As you can see above it varies from place to place. Some universities with sports science facilities provide a VO2 Max test to the public. Sometimes you can get a good deal on them as it will be a student doing the test under the supervision of a teacher.
A VO2 Max test will cost you anywhere from £80 to £170 depending on where you get it done. You’ll pay in the upper end if you’re having it done in London or from a premium sports science company.
Should you get a VO2 Max test?
It all depends. Are you into fitness and do you want to improve your fitness levels for some kind of race? Then get one.
Are you into longevity and maintaining good health? By doing regular tests you’ll be able to measure and manage how age is impacting your aerobic fitness and cardiovascular endurance.