WHAT VO2max MEASURES
Boulay, M. R., Barbeau, P., Giroux, M., Prud'homme, D., & Simoneau, J. A. (1992). Peripheral and central adaptations in cyclists during a training and competitive season. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 24(5), Supplement abstract 566.
Cyclists were tracked from November to August in training and competition. They improved in performance and VO2max but did not change in the actual VO2 of the knee extensor muscles. The changes observed in VO2max over the entire season were similar in magnitude to those observed in maximal cardiac output, lending support to the theory that maximal aerobic power in highly trained subjects is centrally limited.
Implication. VO2max tests reflect central mechanisms more than peripheral mechanisms and therefore, are not a total measure of aerobic adaptation.
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