Cardio High and the VO2 Max Test

Exploring Intensity

Cardio High and the VO2 Max Test

vo2-max-pic-2-300x225 After introducing you to the VO2 max test here (and an easy at-home calculator), we had to see how the pros did it. Your faithful cardio correspondent visited a local gym called VO2 Max Fitness to see how the test actually works.

The test involved placing a plastic mask over the nose and mouth and peddling a spin bike. The first 6 minutes of spinning are easy – they establish a baseline. Every 30 seconds our tester Erin cranked up the resistance.

At the 12th minute or so she jacked up the resistance so that we had to stand up on the spin bike and power “up a hill” as hard as possible. We’re not going to lie, it’s very tough to go all out with a breathing tube on your face. It honestly feels a bit claustrophobic. But we weren’t giving up yet.

At the 17th minute we were ready to quit but managed to keep going for the final 180 seconds. And felt every one of them. Doing the test gave a nice little cardio buzz, but it’s quite uncomfortable. Our score on this official machine was actually better than the at-home calculator (62 vs. 55), but we may be sticking to the less stressful method in the future.