INSCYD Metrics

VO2max – Aerobic Power

Aerobic power – or VO2max – is the most important measure of performance for a race ranging from a 400m run to an IRONMAN triathlon. It is the most well-known and accepted measure of endurance. INSCYD enables you to measure and monitor your VO2max, with or without a metabolic cart (VO2 analyzer).

The most sought-after performance metric is available for you

By default, VO2max is monitored during each test you perform using INSCYD. Whether that’s a lab test, a lactate test, or a power/GPS only test. Therefore you can:

  • Monitor VO2max where it matters: in the field, in the pool, on the road.
  • Get VO2max from critical power or lactate tests – no lab required!
  • With accuracy similar to a lab test – even if you don’t have a lab!
  • INSCYD is available for various sports such as swimming, where aerobic capacity seemed impossible to measure.

Schedule a personal demo and learn more about measuring VO2max with INSCYD:

Prof. Dr. Rodriguez from the INEFC Barcelona explains the meaning of VO2max.

INSCYD user Björn Geesmann – CEO of STAPS Europe’s most successful coaching and testing company – on his favorite workout to increase VO2max

Now that you can measure VO2max, make the most of it!

Measuring VO2max is not something new. But with INSCYD you can now see how VO2max interacts with running and training performance:


  • Understand the impact of VO2max on fat oxidation and carbohydrate combustion.
  • Explain the changes in anaerobic threshold power or fat burning observed in your athlete.
  • Compare the effect of high intensity interval training on endurance training on VO2max.
  • Assess the impact of specialised nutritional diets to further increase VO2max.
  • Make the best training decisions for your athletes.
How VO2max affects sports performance - explained

From VO2max to Aerobic power

Aerobic power (or VO2max power) is the power that you can generate via your aerobic energy system.

If you want your muscles to produce aerobic power, you need oxygen. The mitochondria in your muscles are able to use this oxygen to generate power. The rate at which your muscles use oxygen is proportional to the amount of energy (or power) produced aerobically. So whenever you want to produce more aerobic power, you need more oxygen. That is why your VO2max is important. It’s also why VO2max is a valid marker of the aerobic energy system performance.

In fact, every watt of power (e.g. on the bike) requires a certain amount of oxygen. This relation is pretty much fixed: you need approximately 12 ml oxygen per minute to continuously produce 1 watt of power on the bike. So if you want to produce 100 watts, this requires 1.2 liter of oxygen per minute.

How aerobic power depends on VO2max
The higher the VO2max (ml/kg/min), the higher the aerobic power (watt). Example for a male athlete who weighs 75 kg, with a VLamax of 0.5 mmol/l/s)

For running or other sports that are influenced by economy, the relationship still exists, but it’s less fixed. To give an estimate: runners need approximately 3..5 ml/min/kg oxygen to run 1 km/h (or 5.7 ml/min/kg to run 1 mph).

Max aerobic power test

Your max aerobic power is the amount of power you can generate with the maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max). That’s why some use aerobic power and VO2max power interchangeably. Note that your max aerobic power is not the same as the power you produce when exercising at a VO2max intensity, because at this intensity, there’s also anaerobic power.

All INSCYD tests, with or without a metabolic cart (VO2 analyzer), measure your max aerobic power. This means that a 360 metabolic profile report from INSCYD doesn’t only give you the VO2max value in ml/min/kg. It also provides you with the max aerobic power in watts:

Example of metabolic power coming from the anaerobic energy system (VLamax, red), aerobic energy system (VO2max, blue) and the power at anaerobic threshold (grey).
Example of metabolic power coming from the anaerobic energy system (VLamax, red), aerobic energy system (VO2max, blue) and the power at anaerobic threshold (grey).

Knowing your max aerobic power and anaerobic power also enables you to understand exactly where your power is coming from.

Sustainable VO2 intensity

As we learned, endurance performance is highly determined by the aerobic energy system. Your VO2max and max aerobic power are not the only parameters that are important. Especially in long distance events (where you’ll never reach VO2max), the percentage of VO2max that you can maintain for a long time is important too.

The INSCYD metabolic report shows your anaerobic threshold intensity (the highest intensity at which your lactate concentration remains in steady-state) and shows at which percentage of VO2max this takes place::

Example of an anaerobic threshold (295 watts) and the percentage of VO2max (82.1%), in the INSCYD software.

Learn more about VO2max