VO2 max stands for maximum oxygen uptake. It is the gold standard for cardiovascular fitness testing and represents the greatest volume of oxygen that can be processed by the heart, lungs and muscles per minute while engaged in strenuous exercise.
In VO2 tests, the subject’s expired gases are captured and measured. Oxygen utilization is commonly measured in milliliters of oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minutes (ml/kg/min). In the case of oxygen uptake, more is better; the more oxygen that can be processed by the body, the greater the person’s aerobic capacity.
If you have had or plan to be tested for your oxygen uptake, here are some general criteria to help you understand your results.
Fitness levels defined by VO2 (oxygen uptake):
- A person with a measured VO2 max of less than or equal to 30 ml/kg/min would have low level of fitness.
- A person with a measured VO2 max of 30 to 50 ml/kg/min would have a moderate level of fitness.
- A person with a measured VO2 max of 50 to 90 ml/kg/min would have a high level of fitness.
- A fun fact to know: The highest recorded VO2 max was a Norwegian cross-country skier who had a measured VO2 max of 94 ml/kg/min.