VO2 Priming Earlier than Exhausting Intervals

VO2 Priming Earlier than Exhausting Intervals


TOOLBOX: VO2 priming, also referred to as pre-conditioning, is a coaching approach utilized in sports activities efficiency to optimize cardio capability and improve endurance. By participating in short, high-intensity train previous to the primary coaching session or competitors, athletes purpose to stimulate physiological variations that enhance the physique’s capability to make the most of oxygen extra effectively throughout subsequent train.


In Could the flowers are in full bloom, every week is just a little hotter than the final, & the Giro d’Italia confirms that spring season is in full swing. I hope your out of doors season is off to an amazing begin & that you just’re capable of begin racking up these out of doors miles!

On this month’s toolbox article, we can be discussing a coaching approach often called ‘VO2 Priming’.

VO2 priming includes quick bursts of intense effort adopted by a restoration interval, which serves to ‘prime’ the cardiovascular system, respiratory system, and muscle mass. This method goals to raise oxygen uptake, improve metabolic responses, and enhance neurological readiness, finally resulting in improved efficiency in endurance actions. Whereas VO2 priming is often employed by well-trained athletes, its protocols and integration into coaching packages must be tailor-made to particular person health ranges and coaching capacities for optimum outcomes.

Understanding VO2 Max and its Significance

Now we have mentioned VO2max in Toolbox articles earlier than, but it surely by no means hurts to refresh. VO2max, or maximal oxygen uptake, is a measure of a person’s most capability to make the most of oxygen throughout intense train. It represents the best fee at which oxygen could be consumed and utilized by the physique’s muscle mass throughout bodily exercise. VO2max is usually thought-about a key indicator of cardio health and endurance efficiency.

Since VO2max represents a maximal fee of oxygen course of over time, it may be expressed in absolute models (Liters/min). Nonetheless, it’s extra typically expressed as milliliters of oxygen consumed per kilogram of physique weight per minute (mL/kg/min). By normalizing oxygen uptake to every athletes’ physique weight, VO2max could be in contrast between athletes of various sizes.

VO2max displays the effectivity of every athlete’s cardiovascular system in extracting oxygen from the air & delivering it to working muscle. Whereas a lot of your VO2max is genetically decided, it will also be educated, and is usually used as a useful indicator of cardio health and endurance capability. Increased VO2max values usually correspond to improved cardiovascular health and the power to maintain higher-intensity train for longer durations.


Exploring VO2 Priming

As we mentioned within the introduction, VO2 priming is a method to optimize cardio effectivity. Sounds nice, however how does it work?

VO2 priming consists of heavy depth train previous to the primary coaching session. The priming work is assumed to speed up the VO2 response throughout subsequent train, thereby growing athlete’s time to exhaustion for efforts above FTP. These enhancements in efficiency are achieved with none change to the athlete’s Vital Energy (analogous to their FTP). To summarize, VO2 priming helped athletes obtain a rise in time to exhaustion above FTP (e.g. how lengthy you may maintain 500 W would enhance, regardless of no change to your FTP. Free positive factors!

The urged mechanism behind VO2 priming remains to be beneath debate as we speak, however is taken into account primarily from the change in VO2 kinetics and a rise in VO2max. Put one other means, ‘priming’ helps your physique obtain increased charges of oxygen utilization extra shortly. Priming may additionally assist athletes obtain the next VO2max than when examined with none priming. When priming is supplied with sufficient restoration, these enhancements can all be achieved with out fatiguing your physique an excessive amount of for subsequent intervals.

For a extra detailed evaluation on the underlying mechanisms of VO2 priming, that are nonetheless beneath debate within the scientific neighborhood, I like to recommend studying the 2023 evaluation article linked on the backside of the article.


Implementing VO2 Priming Methods

Given all of the claimed advantages of VO2 priming, how will you implement it as a part of your personal coaching? I’d wish to shortly level out that VO2 priming is useful for performing work above your FTP. Due to this fact, priming can be simplest earlier than excessive depth classes, and comparatively pointless for low-intensity/endurance coaching classes, since these classes aren’t restricted by your VO2max.

Within the examine talked about above, the authors confirmed that solely 6 min of heavy train (roughly candy spot depth) adopted by a brief, 10 min restoration was efficient for VO2 priming. Additionally they confirmed that extreme, or near-maximal, train was not efficient.

I like to recommend that you just experiment a bit to seek out what works the very best for you. In my private expertise, I’ve discovered that including in a number of quick (~30s), arduous intervals  at my 5 min energy helps me really feel extra ready for a tough interval session. Beneath is an instance of one in every of my favourite Xert exercises, which options an prolonged warmup with a number of bursts (depicted within the yellow intervals) that helps prime me earlier than a set of 30-30’s till failure.

Since I’m lucky to reside someplace with straight, comparatively quiet again roads, I typically wish to experiment with varied out of doors exercises. Nonetheless, with a purpose to attain the quiet again roads out of city, I have to climb up a steep hill – about 300 m lengthy at 7% grade, which takes 40-60s to climb. I’ve discovered {that a} tougher push up the hill, adopted by some restoration on the prime, helps my legs (and my thoughts) really feel extra ready for the intervals to comply with. Beneath is an instance of a dash exercise I did final week with a number of min at candy spot adopted by a brief, 45 s push up the hill. After the arduous push, I recovered for about 9 minutes earlier than beginning with my 30 s dash intervals.


In conclusion, VO2 priming could be a helpful approach for athletes aiming to optimize their efficiency. By participating in high-intensity train previous to the primary coaching session, athletes can stimulate physiological variations that improve their VO2 max. The advantages of VO2 priming embody improved oxygen uptake and enhance time to exhaustion. With cautious implementation, VO2 priming could be a highly effective addition to your coaching and provide help to attain new ranges of efficiency.  Think about incorporating VO2 priming into your coaching routine and expertise the potential advantages in your athletic pursuits.

That’s all for this month. Keep secure, experience quick, and I’ll see you subsequent time!


BURNLEY, MARK; DAVISON, GLEN; BAKER, JONATHAN ROBERT. Results of Priming Train on V˙O2 Kinetics and the Energy-Length Relationship. Medication & Science in Sports activities & Train 43(11):p 2171-2179, November 2011. | DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31821ff26d

Goulding RP, Burnley M, Wüst RCI. How Priming Train Impacts Oxygen Uptake Kinetics: From Underpinning Mechanisms to Endurance Efficiency. Sports activities Med. 2023 Could;53(5):959-976. doi: 10.1007/s40279-023-01832-1. Epub 2023 Apr 3. PMID: 37010782; PMCID: PMC10115720.

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