TOPS Testing: Step Two- VO2Max & DEXA

April, Erik, and Jason are going to be subjects of observation. Step two includes more pre-season groundings such as VO2max and DEXA.

The Carolina Paddleboard Co. team continues their SUP training preparations at TOPS Athletics and gets VO2Max tested and body composition analyzed. Last week they learned all about Functional Movement and Resting Metabolic Rate. If you missed it, Click Here. This week, they tested their VO2Max and had body compositions analyzed.

The VO2Max

This is your maximal oxygen uptake. It is measured as “milliliters of oxygen used in one minute per kilogram of body weight” and basically refers to the maximum amount of oxygen that an individual can utilize during intense or maximal exercise. It is one factor that is used to determine an athlete’s capacity to perform sustained exercise and is linked to aerobic endurance. Theoretically, the more oxygen you can use during high-level exercise, the more ATP (energy) you can produce.
If anyone has ever purchased one of the Riding Bumps training plans, you may already be familiar with VO2Max, because it is used to determine your target heart rate zones used for training. There are ways to approximate your VO2Max before starting a training program, but the most accurate way to get your results is to have a VO2Max test with the proper equipment. If you’re training for SUP racing and are starting to get a little competitive, even if it is just against yourself, the best thing you can do is to determine and train in the right heart rate zones.

My VO2Max test was fun, albeit difficult. We performed the test at TOPs on the treadmill, which may yield a slightly different result than if we could do it while paddling. I started running at a comfortable pace after the warm-up run. Each minute, they increased the incline to increase the intensity. I was hooked up to a mask, which only freaked me out a little, that collected and measured the volume and oxygen concentration of inhaled and exhaled air. This determined how much oxygen I was using. Oxygen consumption is correlated (linearly) to exercise intensity… until oxygen consumption plateaus even though intensity is increasing. This is where you find VO2max. Within the test, we also found my aerobic and anaerobic thresholds.

The AT and LT are the important numbers, the ones that determine the training zones I’ll be in for the next few months. The VO2max reading you get does not necessarily reflect how well you will perform at a race. The magic lies in how close your Lactate Threshold/Anaerobic Threshold is to your VO2Max. Blood lactate starts to accumulate during exercise, for most at intensities lower than their VO2max. The increase in exercise intensity calls upon anaerobic pathways to remove lactate, and the body struggles to remove it quickly enough. When your body can’t keep up and lactate begins to accumulate you’ve reached your Anaerobic Threshold. The closer your LT is to your VO2max, the more efficient your body is at higher intensities = good for race day!

DEXA TestingThe DEXA

Is a body composition and density scan. DEXA, dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, goes way beyond just giving you an idea of body fat percentage. It is hands down the most accurate measurement of body composition, at a pretty decent price considering its reliable, accurate information. It not only relays your lean muscle and fat mass, it breaks these numbers down by site: left arm, right arm, left leg, trunk, and so on. The information is invaluable for athletes looking to acquire optimal body composition to enhance athletic performance.

On race day, you don’t want to be carrying around too much extra weight. Your board and hydration are one thing, but if you’re looking for speed you’ll want to increase a power to weight ratio. Along the road we’ll go back in for future DEXA scans to see if we’re shedding unnecessary pounds or gaining muscle evenly and in the correct places. It’s a fantastic way to gauge our progress.

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