In June the 2015 NHL recruits gathered at its national combine. This event gave each team’s trainers, owners and scouts the opportunity to evaluate the skills and fitness level of eligible players prior to the draft.
During recruiting, each potential player was put through a VO₂ Max test, which has the reputation of being nothing short of torture. The young boys gasped and staggered off the ice, having given every ounce of effort to impress. “What was your time?” was the inevitable question they asked each other.
This is an odd question, since time is irrelevant to their results. This lack of understanding was disconcerting – especially among hockey players. Just this year there has been much discussion about Duncan Keith, who led the Blackhawks to their third Stanley cup title, and how his league topping VO₂ Max score of 76 may explain his ability to play effectively for such prolonged minutes.
But these young athletes obviously didn’t understand a VO₂ Max score, because what they should have been asking was, “What was your max?”
In technical terms, VO₂ Max is milliliters of oxygen per kilogram of body mass per minute that your body is consuming. Although the math sounds confusing: ml/(kg∙min), the result is simply a number from 0 to 100. This number is different than how long you stayed on the bike or treadmill. It’s a measurement unique to you, telling what your body’s capacity is to perform and keep performing, whether that performance is as a professional athlete, enjoying a game of basketball with your son, or cleaning your house.
So what is a “good” VO₂ Max score? Highly trained athletes can boast scores from Lance Armstrong’s 74 to Olympic cross country skiers in the 90s. The young hockey recruits ran a range from 41 to 70. The typical, untrained person will score between 25 to 40, depending on age and gender.
The beauty about VO₂ Max is that is can be a great tool to train clients of all levels and abilities. Training has been shown to as much as double VO₂ Max. Trainers who use VO₂ Max as part of their fitness regimen can give clients measureable goals to shoot for. Real improvements in fitness are not only felt through an improved quality of life but can be seen and tracked through improved VO₂ Max scores. VO₂ Max gives trainers the data to truly personalize each client’s program.
So let’s get personal….what’s your max?
Julie Kofoed is the vice president of marketing at KORR Medical Technologies. She has experience in the healthcare industry as a registered nurse for over 25 years and has spent the past 15 years specializing in metabolic health and wellness. She can be reached at email@example.com.