Helena, Montana

Montana State University-Billings uses test to maximize athletes’ training

BILLINGS – Getting the most out of your workout could be as easy as taking a deep breath.

Montana State University-Billings’ Health and Human Performance Department uses the VO2 Max test as a tool to maximize effort during physical fitness.

“As the treadmill increases in speed and grade, you’ll see the oxygen consumption gradually goes up, which makes sense,” Dr. Jeffrey Willardson, MSUB head strength and conditioning coach said.

Oxygen consumption allows you to produce energy in your body to allow for muscles to contract and keep you moving.

VO2 Max Testing is a means for measuring someone’s cardiovascular fitness. It works by measuring aerobic intake while gradually increasing the speed and incline of the treadmill.

“So this test would give us your fitness level and the most important part there would be to get someone an exercise prescription that is appropriate for their current fitness level,” MSUB Health and Human Performance Assistant Professor Dr. Alex Shafer said.

The test can help athletes cater their training to their needs.

“My Vo2 Max results, I will take that into consideration when I’m going to the weight room and I’m doing my cardiovascular training, treadmill, spin classes or anything like that,” student athlete Brandon Maassen said.” I know where my heart rate should be or my rate of exertion when I should call it quits.”

The test can be very educational for health and human performance students as well.

“This last semester, I ran about four participants through the Bruce Treadmill Protocol and that was the first time I had run the test by myself,” Maassen said, “It gave me some perspective into what it’s like to be on the treadmill.”

From the lab to the field, new advancements give athletes a practical application.

“All the HHP students get super excited whenever we get anything new into the lab and with the new science building that’s getting built. We’re excited to get a bigger lab space and new equipment and the sky really is the limit with MSUB and the HHP department,” Maassen said.

The VO2 Max test is also used in the recovery stage of those who have suffered cardiovascular damage.

Doctors are able to prescribe the right duration and intensity for a safe workout regimen.

To learn more, or try it out for yourself, visit http://www.msubillings.edu/cahp/hhp/ or call 406-657-2370.

Reporting by Jenny Fick for MTN News

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