fitness, vocabulary, terms, workout, how-to

FITNESS VOCAB: VO2 MAX

What athletes should understand about this marker, plus two workouts to help improve it

Consider this Furthermore series further education for fitness. Here, we help define the terms that all athletes should know.

TERM: VO2 max

DEFINITION: VO2 max is a measurement of the maximum amount of oxygen that a body can utilize during exercise. It is used to calculate overall fitness. As you become more conditioned, your VO2 max and your endurance increase, allowing you to perform longer and work at a higher intensity with less effort. VO2 max is measured in a laboratory test: You walk or run on a treadmill until you reach your all-out effort, while equipment analyzes the amount of oxygen inhaled and the amount of carbon dioxide exhaled.

Research shows that interval training produces greater improvements in VO2 max than continuous (or steady-state) workouts. You can do intervals with any activity by alternating periods of intense and easier effort, or try one of the workouts below.

15-Minute Jacob’s Ladder Workout designed by Amanda Pezzullo, a Tier X manager at Equinox The Loop in Chicago

TIME

PACE

DIFFICULTY LEVEL

3 minute warm-up

50ft/min.

5

1 minute interval

70 ft./min

7

2 minutes recovery

50–60 ft./min

5–6

1 minute interval

80 ft./min

8

2 minutes recovery

50–60 ft./min

5–6

1 minute interval

90 ft./min

9

2 minutes recovery

50–60 ft./min

5–6

1 minute interval

100 ft./min

10

2 minute cooldown

50–60 ft./min

5

20-Minute, Total-Body Workout designed by Maryanne Blake, an instructor at Avery Street, Seaport, Dartmouth Street, and Franklin Street Equinox locations 

WARM-UP:
Jog in place for 15 seconds.

High Knees
Jog in place, bringing knees toward your chest, for 15 seconds.

Butt Kicker
Jog in place, bringing your heels toward your butt, for 1 minute.

Skater
Hop to the left, landing on left foot as you tap right foot on the floor slightly behind you. Push off left foot as you hop to the right. Continue, moving from side to side, for 1 minute.

Lunge and Reach
Take a big step forward with right foot and bend knees, lowering into a lunge; as you lunge, bend your torso over to the right, reaching left arm overhead and right hand toward the floor. Return to starting position and repeat on opposite side to complete 1 rep. Do 10 reps.

Mountain Climber
Get in plank position. Step right foot forward, bringing right knee toward chest. Hold for 1 count, then slowly step back to starting position and repeat with left leg to complete 1 rep. Do 10 reps. Next, jump right foot forward; then switch legs, jumping left foot forward as you extend right leg to complete 1 rep. Do 10 reps.

Inchworm
From plank position, walk feet forward until they’re just behind your hands; walk hands forward until you’re in plank position again to complete 1 rep. Do 6 reps and then stand.

CIRCUIT 1: Running and push-up

Run forward 8 steps, run backward 8 steps, then do 1 push-up. Repeat, this time doing 2 push-ups.

Run forward at a diagonal 8 steps, run backward at a diagonal 8 steps, then do 3 push-ups. Repeat, this time doing 4 push-ups.

CIRCUIT 2: Side shuffle, squat jump, and inchworm

Shuffle 4 steps to the right, then do 1 squat jump. Shuffle 4 steps to the left, then do 1 squat jump.

Shuffle to the right again, do 1 squat jump, then bend forward and place hands on the floor in front of your feet. Walk hands forward until you’re in plank position. Bend elbows, lowering chest toward floor, then push up. Walk hands back toward feet and do 1 squat jump. Shuffle to the left and repeat.

Repeat entire sequence 4 times.

CIRCUIT 3: Alternating lunge and lateral lunge jump

Step back with right foot and bend knees, lowering into a lunge. Rise up as you return to starting position. Repeat, this time stepping back with left leg, to complete 1 rep. Do 10 reps.

Next, push off left foot and jump to the right, landing in a lunge with right foot behind left. Do 4 jumps, each time landing in a lunge with left foot forward, then repeat in the opposite direction with right foot forward.

CIRCUIT 4: Suicide runs

Sprint to the right for 4 counts then bend down and touch right hand to the floor. Immediately rise up and sprint to the left for 4 counts then touch left hand to the floor. Repeat 5 times.

CIRCUIT 5: Multidirectional burpee

Stand and in one motion, place hands on floor in front of your feet and jump feet back into plank position; jump feet toward hands, and then jump straight up, reaching your arms overhead to complete 1 burpee.

Do 2 burpees (see above), jumping feet to the right and left as you rise up.  

Do 3 burpees, jumping straight up for the first, to the right on the second, and to the left on the third.

Do 4 burpees: one center, one right, one left, and one forward.

Do 5 burpees: one center, one right, one left, one forward, and one backward.

<<Repeat circuits 1 to 5>>

CIRCUIT 6: Core challenge

Army Crawl
Get in plank position and lower your forearms to the floor. Crawl forward for 20 seconds.

Side Plank Reach
From the army crawl, extend your arms so you’re in a plank position with hands under shoulders. Lift right arm and rotate torso to the right, shifting weight to left arm. Bring left foot forward so it’s in front of right. Lift left leg as you reach right hand toward left foot. Lower left foot and repeat 5 times. Reverse motion to return to plank position, then repeat the entire sequence on the opposite side.

Back Extension
Lie facedown with your arms extended at your sides, palms facing ceiling. Lift your chest and thighs and hold for 5 counts. Lower to the floor and repeat. Do 5 reps.