We already know what Vo2 Max is, why it is important to train it and at what intensities we should train to improve it. Now all we need to figure out is how to calculate those percentages to know if we are training at the right intensities.
Let’s not forget that training intensities between 40-89%Vo2Max can improve the aerobic capacity in normal people. This means that people who are not in such good shape can train at 40 % of Vo2Max, or even lower, and already see improvements, while people who are in better shape will have to train at higher intensities. Remember that two of the ways to improve VO2Max are by:
High Intensity Interval Training ( 80-100 % Vo2Max)- Only people who are well fit should train at those percentages.
Long Slow Distance Exercise ( 50-65% Vo2Max)- The run should usually last longer than 30 minutes.
Ok, so now the moment we have all been waiting for, how to calculate the intensity of Vo2Max you are working at. So, we do this through a method called the KARVONEN METHOD. It works because it is based on the linear relationship between hear rate and Vo2 with increasing work.
The steps you have to do are the following:
- Calculate your Heart Rate Max ( 220 minus your age)-This formula is not exact and the potential error with the standard deviation can be +-11 beats per minute.
- Calculate your resting HR- It is usually better to do it in the morning
- Calculate your Heart Rate Reserve (HRR)- This equals Heart Max- Heart Rate Rest.
- Target Heart Rate (THR)- This is the heart rate we want to work out.
Remember that there is a linear relationship between heart rate and Vo2 with increasing work. That is why this formula works. So let us say that I want to work at 80% of Heart Rate Reserve the formula would be as follows..
THR= HRrest +0.80 ( Heart Rate Reserve)
I will use myself to put things more clearly. I am 34 years old, my heart rate at rest is 58 and I want to train at 80% of Vo2 Max.
- Heart Rate Max:220 -34= 186
- Resting Hear Rate: 58
- Heart Rate Reserve: 186-58= 128
- THR= 58+0.80 (128) and my Target Heart Rate would be 160.4, meaning that if I wanted to work at 80% percent of my VO2Max my heart rate would have to be at 160 beats per minute
I know it seems a little bit complicated but once you get the trick of it it will be quite easy and your training’s will be much more effective!!
Try it out and let me know if it works. Until next time