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Human Performance Lab


The V02max test is the criterion measure of aerobic power in athletes. Described here is the method utilized by the HIT Center's Human Performance Lab to measure V02max directly, by indirect calorimetry.

REQUIRED EQUIPMENT: Oxygen and carbon dioxide analyzers, ergometer on which workload may be modified, heart rate monitor (optional) and a stopwatch. Expired air may be collected and volume measured via Douglas bags or a Tissot tank, or measured by a pneumotach or turbine ventilometer.

PROCEDURE: Exercise is performed on an appropriate ergometer (treadmill, cycle, swim bench etc.). The exercise workloads are selected to gradually progress in increments from moderate to maximal intensity. Oxygen uptake is calculated from measures of ventilation and the oxygen and carbon dioxide in the expired air, and the maximal level is determined at or near test completion.(See VO2max videos)

RESULTS: Results are presented as either l/min (liters per minute) or ml/kg/min (mls of oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minute). The athlete is considered to have reached their VO2max if several of the following occurred: a plateau or 'peaking over' in oxygen uptake, maximal heart rate was reached, attainment of a respiratory exchange ratio of 1.15 or greater, and volitional exhaustion. See also the Adult VO2max norm values.

HPL Benefits


There are substantial benefits and strong support for a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to testing athletic performance. By combining both sport science testing with field and weight room evaluation, the athlete gains insight into system-specific strengths and deficiencies. Definitive baseline data is obtained that will provide a more accurate training prescription, and due to a more comprehensive approach, future comparison of training efforts can be assessed from several points of reference. Most importantly, the athlete gains an appreciation for the efforts of the athletic program in providing the optimal environment for his/her health, and enhances the opportunity for future success on the playing field.

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