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What happens in a VO2 max test?
Our man takes the VO2 test
Our man Nick gets the full VO2 treatment

Olympic champion rower Matthew Pinsent has a lung capacity of eight-and-a-half litres.

So when it comes to a VO2 max test, why do he and fellow rower James Cracknell fall behind someone like Paula Radcliffe?

Your VO2 max is the maximum amount of oxygen you can shift through your lungs.

But when weight is taken into comparison, it reveals some surprising results.

Here our own potential Olympian (in the loosest sense of the word) is put through his paces.


  • VO2 max is measured by getting the lungs to work as hard as they can
  • This is done on a treadmill or a rowing machine where the speed is increased
  • As the body works harder and harder, the lungs draw on more oxygen to supply the muscles
  • The body will reach an exhaustion point where the lungs are working at their maximum.This is the point where the measurement is taken


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