Endurance Cartel Podcast

Endurance Cartel

#004 – How Important Is Your Vo2max? What Does Yours Actually Mean? With Dr Connie Sol

Is VO2 max the standard in determining an athlete’s endurance and performance capacity?

Exercise physiologist Dr. Connie Sol joins us on today’s episode of the Endurance Cartel Podcast and offers her input on the importance of VO2 max testing in an athlete’s training and performance capacity. 

We discuss the differences between lab and field testing, how the environment and everyday events impact VO2 measurements, and the best way to establish an accurate endurance baseline for athletes. 

She also shares her observations regarding the long-term evolution of women vs. men in endurance competitions and the changes that appear in the lung function and physiology of a person affected by Covid-19.

Time stamps:

00:54- Today’s topic- VO2 max and the importance of this test in an athlete’s training and performance;

01:47- Introducing Dr. Connie Sol, Clinical Exercise Physiologist and Health & Wellness Consultant;

03:51- Is VO2 max an essential indicator for everyone, regardless of athletic performance?

06:37- How useful is VO2 max, and are VO2 max measurements an accurate overview of your performance?

10:29- VO2 max vs. lactate threshold levels- which one is a more precise indicator of endurance?

15:31- The way the environment affects VO2 max levels- differences between lab and field testing;

21:08- Breathing efficiency on athletes that have used different breathing enhancing protocols;

24:43- After effects of Covid-19, changes in the lung structure and decreasing lung capacity;

28:04- Can gadgets and current mass market technology offer the same accuracy in establishing an endurance baseline as a correlation between VO2 max, lactate threshold levels, heart rate monitoring, and other measurements?

29:57- Performance and endurance- men vs. women;

33:09- Cross-country skiing athletes- the best results in VO2 max measurements;

35:44- Getting in contact with Connie. 


“I don’t believe I have ever met an athlete that is happy with their VO2 max. So, it doesn’t matter what they’re going to go through; they’re always going to come off the treadmill and tell me: I can do better(…) The point is that they look at these fantastic scores and think that that’s where they should be.”

“I believe that the applicability of VO2 max is left to science, more than performance (…), and you will see that it changes daily. So athletes who focus on it in their training and allow it to affect their psychological training will suffer”. 

“Coaches underutilize portable VO2 systems because a lab is a lab, no friction, no wind, no heat (…).And so you have the athlete wear it, and yeah, he’s going to be a little bit uncomfortable, but the point is you’re going to be able to see a true performance, under pressure, outside, with friction on the track; of your athlete.”

“If you’re going to set a baseline VO2 max, you need to get a perception of effort, get your lactate, do it all, and then use that information for what it’s meant to be rather than focus on the max that’s so variable, that the next day is going to be different (while) your lactate threshold might not be that different because it’s more predictable on a day to day than your VO2 max.”

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