Bruce Jayne

Preparation for your VO2 max Test

So that we are able to get valid results and perform tests efficiently please note the following:

  1. Do not eat or drink any fluid with caloric content for 3 hours prior to your test. If you do have something to eat more than 3 hours before your test, then it is advisable to keep the amount modest and consume light food stuffs that are readily digested. Also avoid consuming any significant amount of caffeine for more than 4-6 hours before your test. Because you may be quite hungry by the time we get done with you test, you may want to bring a snack and something to drink right after we are done.

  2. Bring your own cycling clothing, shoes and and a reasonable size towel to place on the floor to catch your sweat.

  3. The safest thing is to bring your own pedals. Sometimes pedals are difficult to get off your bike. If so, just bring your whole bike in, and we have a monster pedal wrench that we can use to take them off. We do have 2 sets of Speedplay pedals, one set of Shimano SPD SL pedals, and one set of Shimano SPD pedals with a mountain bike type style that does not seem to fit all SPD cleats. However, realize that if you are coming in with a large group it will be unpredictable for who needs what type of pedal at what time.
Measuring seat height of bicycle

4. At home measure (in inches), write down and then bring in the distance from your saddle to your pedal measured along the seat tube from the top of the saddle to the top of the lower pedal spindle on the lower crank arm when it is parallel to the seat tube as shown in the figure to the right. This is NOT the conventional way of measuring bike size. However, this measurement will allow us to set up our bikes to fit you. We have four bikes in the lab. One bike is a a 50 cm size (conventional measurement of frame size) bike with a horizontal top tube. We also have three bikes with sloping top tubes, for which the conventional frame sizes are 52, 56 and 58 cm. Because of the manner in which we can vary saddle height, these bikes can be thought as having a size of plus or minus 3 cm or so. For example, I normally ride a 53 cm bike and I can comfortably ride either the 52 or 56 cm bikes in the lab. We have a very long seat post for all bikes including the 58 cm, and we have had some individuals well over 6 feet tall ride the largest bike comfortably. If you are coming in as part of a group you should coordinate the times of your test so that each of the individuals being testing simultaneously will be have access to a bike with the appropriate size.




  • Saddles. Although we have several men's (including Sella Italia Flite, Sella Italia Flite gel, Phyzik Alliante) and a few women's saddles, a comfortable choice of saddles varies widely among different individuals. Thus, you may bring in your own saddle and we can easily attach it to one of our metal seat posts.

  • Health. The Vo2 max test is very strenuous and involves equipment that we use for multiple individuals after disinfecting it. However, for safety reasons we will not test anybody who has any sort of respiratory infection. In addition, we will not perform the test on any individual who we judge has any medical condition that may put them at risk. It is the responsibility of each individual to touch base with their physician if they have any doubts about whether such a test may be inappropriate.

  • Groups. Setting up and repeatedly calibrating all the equipment takes a significant amount of time. Thus, we can have greater economy of effort if all individuals in a group come in in one continuous block of time within a single day. We actually prefer to test multiple individuals in one day and in a continuous block of time within a day. Testing more than one individual simultaneously is logistically challenging, but we can manage, especially if individuals that have been tested before help us with the testing of new individuals. So, we would be very grateful if your group provides some experienced volunteers to have with our efforts. Also see the comments above about at how groups should coordinate the times of their test so everybody has access to the equipment that is best for them.

  • What results will you get? See the links on this site with previous tests and the explanation of Vo2 max tests to get an idea of what you will receive. We are able to measure heart rate, oxygen consumption, Co2 production, ventilatory rates and volumes, mechanical power output, metabolic rates, efficiency and blood lactate levels. If somebody simply wants to perform a stepped effort test that measures power and heart rate without the respiratory measurements, then that is super easy to do and more comfortable for the rider, and even adding lactate to this is not a big deal. The really labor intensive data on our end is all of the stuff having to do with the gas analysis. Especially for repeated testing, you may strongly want to consider this latter more economical option. For these simpler tests we could have your results completed and ready for you about 10 minutes after your test.

  • How much time should I allow for the test? If we are doing your resting metabolic rate as well as performing an analysis of gases for your stepped effort test, I recommend allowing at least an hour for the whole procedure. Determining resting metabolic rate, calibrating the gas analyzers and setting up the bike will take a total of about 20-30 minutes. The stepped effort test has 3 minute increments beginning at 100 Watts and increasing by 20 Watt increments until power can no longer be maintained. Thus, depending on the power you can sustain, this portion of testing will usually take 15-40 minutes. If you want information on recovery after the test allow another 10 minutes.