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Maximum Velocity (Vmax)

The maximal velocity (Vmax) achieved at the end of a maximal exercise test has been shown to correlate well with changes in running performance (Noakes et al. 1990). This test is similar to the VO2max test, without the expensive metabolic analysis equipment.VO2 max test

  • aim: to estimate aerobic fitness
  • equipment required: a treadmill or other ergometer on which workload may be modified and a stopwatch, heart rate monitor (optional).
  • procedure: Exercise is performed on an appropriate ergometer for the athlete (treadmill, cycle, swim bench etc.). The exercise workloads are selected to gradually progress in increments (~1 km/hr or 1 mph) starting from moderate to intensity such as 8 km/hr (5 mph). The speed should be increased every few minutes (between 1-4 minutes)  The speed is increased continuously until the athlete reaches exhaustion.
  • scoring: Vmax is taken as the final speed the athlete can maintain for at least one minute. 
  • target population: Any sport in which aerobic endurance is a component, such as distance runners, cross country skiers, rowers, triathlon, cycling.
  • advantages: This test does not require expensive VO2 analysis equipment, though can give similar results. You can also get a direct measurement of maximum heart rate by recording heart rate during the test, which can then be used for setting training target heart rate zones.
  • other comments: This test is best conducted with athletes who are familiar with exercising at high intensity.
  • caution: This test is a maximal test, which requires a reasonable level of fitness. It is not recommended for recreational athletes or people with health problems, injuries or low fitness levels.
  • reference: Noakes, T. D., Myburgh, K. H., & Schall, R. (1990). Peak treadmill running velocity during the VO2max test predicts running performance. Journal of Sports Sciences, 8, 35-45.