Aug 4, 2020
The Role of V02 Max in Re-Conditioning Student-Athletes

{Sponsored} In the world of athletics, everything has changed in 2020. For those who are working toward the next level of their careers — either via transitioning to college or professional athletics — the uncertainty that the sudden end to the spring term created may mean some student-athletes are now deconditioned due to the lack of structured workouts while staying home.

While coaches may be providing specific training regimens to their student-athletes, if the athletes aren’t completely self-motivated, they may not actually complete the requisite training.

This puts coaches in an awkward position of not knowing where each student-athlete is and not knowing what training they’ll require once the next season starts. We spoke to two coaches about how they will be utilizing V02 Max testing to cut out the guesswork when providing workouts to their student-athletes.

Aaron Volkoff coaches track and field at Lakewood High School in Lakewood, California. With all of his student-athletes currently working out independently, the V02 Max test is helping Volkoff tailor the workout to each athlete. He is using it to create tailored workouts using specific training zones and grouping the students within them.

The Lakewood student-athletes have responded well to how Volkoff has used the data, even if they don’t understand it. They do understand what their coach is doing with the data. “Having tangible training zones with an anaerobic threshold gives them a much more concrete idea of where they are aerobically and anaerobically instead of just sending them out on time,” Volkoff said.

It also takes away some of the blame often ascribed to coaches when student-athletes aren’t successful. Instead of a blanket one-size-fits-all workout, each athlete is pushing their own anaerobic threshold and discovering how the correct workout for their specific V02 Max is helping them hit their individual targets.

But V02 Max isn’t just for runners. Paul Drake, owner of First Cardio Performance, works with Division I men’s and women’s tennis players in his training programs. He takes the V02 Max testing, interprets the data, assesses the athletes and then sets up individualized zones from that interpretation, creating protocols to improve each tennis player’s weaknesses.

First-Cardio-Performance-athlete using V02 Max
Courtesy of First Cardio Performance

This testing is especially critical after the long COVID summer, since it is impossible to know how these athletes will perform when they come back to school. Drake hopes, like all coaches, that student-athletes are working out — but until these elite athletes are re-tested, he won’t actually know where they are, despite the daily biometric data he receives from each athlete.

“V02 is vital for setting markers in terms of going, what do we need to work on or not, and what have they been doing or not and if weaknesses, we need training protocols to accommodate weaknesses,” Drake said.

The V02 Max test was designed to measure lung capacity. If the lungs have a higher capacity, they’ll have more oxygen to provide to the body, which can reduce the accumulation of lactate. In addition, it can measure metabolic rate, and therefore provides an approximation of calories burned. For the elite athletes Drake works with, knowing the individual data, and then analyzing it allows him to maximize what the athletes are getting out of their workouts.

However, Drake fears that the deconditioning that these athletes may be facing due to COVID-19 could mean that their lung capacity is becoming more like a sedentary person’s. But with his “four pillars” — testing, interpretation, assessment, setting zones — Drake is poised to be able to use the V02 Max testing to get the elite tennis players reconditioned faster and with greater efficiency.

For schools thinking about investing in V02 Max, they need to consider how the investment won’t be an annual or even bi-annual one. The initial investment Lakewood High School made in the V02 Max testing equipment is not one they’ll anticipate needing to make repeatedly. Unlike the GPS watches Volkoff’s student-athletes previously used that were obsolete after two years, the testing equipment is a long-term investment.

About KORR Medical Technologies

KORR puts the high tech training tools o f VO2 Max and Anaerobic Threshold detection into the hands of fitness trainers at every level of expertise. The results of all tests are presented in a format that will help educate and motivate the client. To learn more about KORR, visit

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