How To Improve Your Cycling VO2MAX – Simply put and without going into too much scientific jargon your VO2MAX energy system is different to other energy systems you use while riding. It is the energy system you primary rely on when cycle racing and riding at high intensities. It has a high blend of anaerobic respiration; which is burning energy without oxygen. It’s kind of like adding nitro to petrol. You use it to go really fast. But there is a downside to it.


It was considered that a by-product of burning energy anaerobic and going fast was lactic acid. But it has recently been discovered that lactic acid actually builds up to help aid the muscles in their continual effort to contract while burning energy anaerobically. Nevertheless, it doesn’t stop it from being a great indicator when measuring your ability to ride at your lactic acid threshold (LAT). You know you have reached your LAT because your breathing suddenly changes to being laboured and your legs start getting really heavy.

Considering that we use this energy system quite a bit when racing you would think that it would be an important part of people’s training programs. Unfortunately, most people new to cycling infrequently train this system and then wonder why in a race when they hit their VO2MAX their body fails them and they get dropped.

VO2MAX training is really really hard and for that reason sometimes even the mature athlete will shy away from this intense form of training for bike racing. Sadly, by doing so people miss out on what would be considered the most potent form of training that people can do to improve their cycling racing results. What is even more persuading is that VO2MAX training doesn’t take much time. In most cases, you can do an interval session in 45 to 60 minutes and get far greater benefits than a three-hour ride on a bike.

Interval training at your VO2MAX zone is one of the few ways to improve your VO2MAX.

When doing intervals usually the first interval is usually the hardest as it takes one or two attempts before your body is “primed” to work using this VO2MAX energy system. That is why it is so important to exercise it. And it’s another reason to just peak into your VO2MAX zone two or three times in a warm-up before a criterium or time trial. So by easing you into your intervals and not doing too much recovery between efforts you can improve your cycling vo2max.

One of the best ways to perform VO2MAX interval training is on a fluid or wind trainer under a controlled environment using a set program that’s specifically targeted to the result you want to achieve. That way you can track your improvement in progress by being able to measure and compare your interval efforts consistently between sessions done from week to week. To do VO2MAX intervals you need to work out your VO2MAX Heart Rate Zone based on your MAX Heart Rate.

Remember there are a diverse number of VO2MAX exercises that can be performed, each uniquely targeted at improving a specific cycling event. The best way to do it right is to find a cycling coach that can help you. You also need a good base of aerobic exercise before beginning a program of VO2MAX intervals and performing them in moderation.

Cycling Heart Rate Zones Explained – How To Use Heart Rate Monitor And Zones To Improve Your Cycling

How To Work Out Your Cycling Heart Rate Zones

Introduction To Cycling Power Zones

[VIDEO] – Why it’s important to ride your bike through winter

How to Get Fit During the Winter Months – The Most Effective Winter Cycle Training

How To Get Back On Track With Your Winter Training – Winter Cycle Training Tips

Our Leaner Cyclist Program

Off-the-bike strength training for cyclists

Check out our training products