What is performance testing and why do it?
Testing performance is a key way to achieve fitness goals. There is a range of tests run at the CXC Center of Excellence in Madison, WI including VO2 max and lactate threshold. Testing and monitoring these criteria gives a deeper look into how to target performance improvement.
These tests can be accomplished by running, biking, roller skiing, swimming or rowing.
The VO2Max test determines maximal functional lung capacity. By exercising to maximum potential the volume of oxygen the lungs can process is calculated. The results are then used to determine heart rate exercise zones. Knowing these zones allows an athlete to train smarter by targeting activities and exercises that work specific heart rate zones. The VO2 Max results also show aerobic and anaerobic thresholds.
Usually performed in conjunction with the VO2 Max test, the Lactate Threshold test measures the amount of lactate created at a specific point during exercise. Exercising anaerobically causes lactate build up in the system hindering the muscle’s ability to contract. By determining lactate threshold ideal exercise and recovery zones are determined as well as the time it takes to flush the lactate from the body.
Performing the VO2Max and Lactate Threshold tests twice a year sets a good benchmark of how effective a training program is. If improvements in lung volume and a higher lactate threshold are seen the training program is working correctly. Ideally, after six months an athlete should have the ability to work out harder and longer without getting as much burn in the muscles. Improvements should also be seen in heart rate zones. If an athlete is able to stay in each zone with less difficulty the training is working. If improvements aren’t seen testing gives information on how to recalibrate the training plan to ensure goals are met.