Lab 6: Maximum Oxygen Consumption
Purpose: To study the factors associated with maximal cardiorespiratory
performance in a well-trained individual
Concepts: ▪ Maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max)
▪ Peak oxygen consumption (VO2peak)
A subject (trained endurance athlete) will be recruited to perform a maximal exertion exercise
test on the treadmill with concurrent heart rate monitoring and oxygen consumption
measurement with a computerized metabolic measurement system. This lab involves maximal
exercise and should not be performed by somebody who may be ill or injured.
1. Obtain a resting blood lactate measurement.
2. Attach a heart rate monitor to the subject and obtain resting HR.
3. Allow the subject to warm up and stretch.
4. Choose an appropriate exercise testing protocol and familiarize the subject with the
procedures and treadmill/ergometer. Several protocols are programmed into the
computer; confirm that the protocol is appropriate for the subject’s fitness level.
5. Calibrate the metabolic cart and connect the subject.
6. Advance through the stages of the exercise test, watching carefully for signs that would
indicate stopping the test.
7. During the test record VO2 (mL/kg/min) and heart rate (bpm) at the end of stage on
the data sheet.
8. Encourage the subject to continue to their maximal voluntary ability.
9. Stop the test when the subject grabs the rails and straddles the belt: a tap on the front rail
by the subject can serve as a warning if desired.
10. Stop the treadmill, remove the mouthpiece and headgear (use gloves), and allow the
subject to cool down at a slow speed until completely recovered.
11. Two minutes after the completion of the test take a finger stick to measure blood
12. Record exercise data averaged per 30 or 60 seconds and compile the relevant result
figures (see below)
Take Home Assignment:
Summarize (in a sentence or list) the results of test. Specifically, state the test duration, number
of stages successfully completed, maximal/peak oxygen consumption in relative (ml·kg-1·min-1)and absolute (L·min-1) terms, max HR, and max RER
1. Create 3 columns in an Excel spreadsheet (column A = stage number, column B = VO2
(mL/kg/min), column C = HR (bpm). Record the VO2 (mL/kg/min) and heart rate (bpm) at
the end of each stage of the test (see video) in the appropriate column. Even though she did
not finish stage 7 still include the VO2/HR data for stage 7 in the table (and the graph
2. Using the above table generate two (2) separate line graphs:
a. Plot stage number (1-7) on the x-axis and VO2 (mL/kg/min) on the y-axis [Graph 1]
b. Plot VO2 (mL/kg/min) on the x-axis and HR (bpm) on the y-axis [Graph 2]
1. How does the VO2 max of the subject compare to the general population? Support your
answer with numeric examples.
2. How does the VO2 max of the subject compare to elite, world-class endurance athlete?
Support your answer with numeric examples. What fitness category would you therefore put
3. Her RER (calculated as VCO2/VO2) went significantly above 1.00 towards the end of the
test, suggesting she was breathing out a large amount of CO2. This is referred to as “nonmetabolic” CO2. Where is it coming from?
4. Consult Graph 1 (that you made):
a. Was there a plateau in oxygen consumption at the end of the test?
b. If there was not a plateau in oxygen what is the appropriate term to describe the
highest VO2 she achieved (not a VO2 max but a VO2 [blank]?)
5. Consult Graph 2 (that you made):
a. Is there a linear relationship between exercise intensity (i.e. stage number) and heart
b. Did our participant achieve her age-predicted heart rate max during the test?