What’s A Good V02 Max? Average V02 Max By Sex & Age
As an athlete, we are constantly striving to improve our speed, endurance, lactate threshold, or V02 max. Because of this, many athletes spend countless hours researching different training methods and workouts.
V02 max is an important measurement of the amount of oxygen your body can utilize during exercise. Because of this, V02 max is one of the best indicators of cardiorespiratory fitness. With that being said, the higher your V02 max is, the better your aerobic fitness will be. So, if an athlete improves their V02 max, it can make a substantial difference to their fitness.
Today, we explain what V02 max is and what is a good average V02 max based on sex and age.
What Is V02 Max?
Before we answer the question, what is a good V02 max? We first need to understand what V02 max is.
V02 Max, which is referred to as Volume Oxygen Maximum, is the maximum oxygen your body can use while exercising.
When we breathe, oxygen gets pumped throughout our bloodstream and then transferred to the muscles. Once it reaches the muscles, it is then utilized to generate energy. This energy is known as ATP.
ATP or adenosine triphosphate is an energy-carrying molecule. This molecule is seen in most living things, including humans. Once food molecules are broken down, ATP captures the energy and transfers it as fuel. This fuel then helps other cellular processes.
Because of this process, it is important for athletes to have a high V02 max, as it can use more oxygen to generate energy. Hence why V02 max is an important part of an athlete’s physiology.
How Do You Measure V02 Max?
We already know a high V02 max is important for an athlete’s physiology, but how do you measure V02 max?
First, you need to know how it is measured. V02 max is calculated by the maximum millilitres of oxygen consumed in 1 minute during exercise.
VO2 Max = maximum millilitres of oxygen consumed in 1 minute/bodyweight in kilograms
Unfortunately, most people can’t measure their results as easily as their speed, heart rate, or power. This can make it difficult for people to see improvements in their V02 from training.
V02 tests are performed through a sports lab with a ventilation mask. Runners are usually measured by running on a treadmill, while cyclists will perform the test on an indoor trainer or erg.
This is the most accurate way to measure V02. However, some watches like Garmin estimate your V02. However, take these with a grain of salt, as they typically overestimate.
The V02 laboratory test usually begins with a brief warm-up. Then the power (cycling) or speed/incline (running) is gradually increased. Once your maximum effort has been reached, the test is complete.
The test will take between 12 and 15 minutes for most people. Once the test is complete, your heart rate, oxygen updated, and speed/power is calculated to get your V02 max results.
While a lab test is the most accurate way to measure your V02 max, there are some self-tests that you can perform to get an estimate. These include the copper test. However, there is a greater margin of error in using these types of tests.
If you are an athlete, you should get your V02 max tested every 3-6 months. Doing so will help you gauge your cardiovascular fitness improvements from your training. Alternatively, it can help restructure your training if you are not seeing improvements in your cardiovascular fitness.
What’s A Good V02 Max For Females & Males By Age?
Before we discuss V02 max results for females and males, you need to know some of the top numbers recorded by both sexes.
The highest V02 max ever recorded (allegedly) is by a cyclist from Norway. The Norwegian cyclist Oskar Svendsen produced an outstanding result of 97.5.
Another one of the best men recorded, include Kilian Jornett ( a top trail runner) has one of the highest numbers recorded (allegedly). He produced a whopping 89.5 V02 max result.
With that being said, most amateurs will never reach these numbers. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t strive to improve our results.
The below table shows what is referred to as a good V02 for both females and males. It is based on age, so you can compare yourself and see how V02 max declines as you get older.
VO2 Max Chart for Women (ml/kg/min)
VO2 Max Chart for Men (ml/kg/min)