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The VO2 Test


Staff member
Every time performance fitness evaluations take place, the V02 test brings out respect (and occasionally dread) from the players, and intense curiosity from fans and media. And it always starts with the same question: What exactly is it?

"The VO2 test measures the cardiovascular fitness system," said U.S. fitness coach Masa Sakihana. "This is accomplished by running on the treadmill with a mask covering your face, which allows us to measure how much oxygen you inhale and how much you utilize. Essentially, you learn three things: at how high an intensity a player can work, how long they can maintain it, and how quickly they can recover."

The test on the treadmill starts with speed of three miles per hour. For the next four minutes, it goes up one mile per hour. After seven minutes, it goes up one mile per hour every 30 seconds. Once they hit 10 miles per hour, then the incline goes up one percent every 30 seconds until the player stops running. Make sense?

Generally speaking, the fit players make it to 10 minutes. Really fit guys get to 11 plus, and then the occasional iron man goes past 12 minutes.

And how do the players describe it? Perhaps the sentiment was best summed up by San Jose Earthquakes defender Justin Morrow: "Grueling."

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