Understanding VO2 Max and How to Come Back After a Workout Break.

Understanding VO2 MaxIf you’re doing workouts that push your VO2 max (your body’s ability to take in, transport and use oxygen during a workout), you will see the biggest decline after taking time off.

Other workouts that focus on flexibility, strength or even endurance won’t show as much of an impact after a short hiatus. VO2 Max measures the heart and its ability to pump blood efficiently. If you find yourself panting and unable to get a solid breath after a workout break, VO2 Max decline is to blame.

If you’re coming back to an intense conditioning program (like the workout we did today – shown above) after a break, take it easy. Don’t push yourself to the limit you had before the break. One tip is when you find yourself at the point of breathlessness, dial it back just a bit until you can modulate your breathing. This will keep your heart rate elevated, but allow your body to get the oxygen it needs.

After a week off, today’s workout rendered me useless. The 3:00 maximum effort row alone created a heaving in my chest and post-workout “lactic acid cough” I haven’t experienced in a long time. And I worked out on my vacation! I just didn’t do Accelerate workouts. And Accelerate workouts test the VO2 max more than most.

If you find yourself experiencing the post-workout cough, try taking deep breaths through your nose next time you’re in an intense part of class. This limits the amount of debris you inhale and reduces the after cough significantly. But sometimes, like today, nose breathing is just not an option.

Thanks to everyone who came out today – that was one intense workout!