I was recently doing some research on basketball skills training and came across a young basketball player who was not only amazing on the court, but also an amazing track star. He was breaking records in both sports by the age of eleven. What caught my attention was not only his incredible abilities, but that some doctors tested him and found that his VO2max level was extremely high. Ok so what is VO2max and what does it have to do with why this kid is so awesome? Well, first, VO2max is the maximal oxygen carrying and utilization capacity of an individual’s body during incremental exercise, reflecting the physical condition of the individual. Now, actual VO2 measurement is all science and math; what we want to know is what it really is and why it is important.
To put it in layman’s terms, it’s simply the amount of oxygen your body takes in when you push yourself, VO2max is reached when oxygen uptake remains stable despite an increased workload. So now we know what it is and why it is so important. Physicians and other professional athletes consider VO2 measurement to be the single best measure of cardiovascular fitness and maximal aerobic power. The reason is that you need oxygen to breathe while exercising, and exercise increases the strength of muscles such as the heart. Endurance training, like running, can increase your VO2 max, but unfortunately strength training doesn’t increase VO2 as much as we’d all like. It doesn’t hurt, but resistance training is the best.
Basically, this 11-year-old has the VO2 max measurement of a 20-year-old marathon runner, so he doesn’t hit the wall of “I feel like I’m dying” out of breath as quickly as the rest of us or, even better. , doesn’t hit it as fast as the average 11-year-old does. Now why is his VO2 so high? Part of it is his training in basketball skills and his dedication to sports training in general, but part of it is also genetics. Does this mean his VO2 will be through the roof when he hits 20? Not exactly, but it will definitely increase as long as you keep up this type of training.
Aerobic power is very important for basketball players because the game requires frequent periods of intense activity throughout the game and VO2max tests, among other tests and indicators, have been used to determine the athlete’s aerobic power and fitness. related general physiology. to basketball skills training. Although a good VO2max is sometimes characterized by genetics, it is possible to improve it through resistance training.
French physiologist Veronique Billat created the 30/30 and 60/60 interval technique to help improve VO2max. This technique requires the athlete to warm up for 10 minutes, run as fast as possible for 30 seconds, and then jog at a steady pace for 30 seconds. The athlete continues to alternate the 30/30 intervals 12 or more times. After mastering the 30/30 interval technique and improving VO2max, the athlete moves on to 60/60 interval training, repeating the fast and slow movements for 60-second intervals.
With improvements in VO2max, basketball players can greatly improve their explosive power on the court and can be a very important inclusion in basketball skills training for youth and adult players. Once optimal VO2max is reached, basketball players and many other types of athletes can take advantage of the sport’s competitive advantage because they will tire less often and outperform other players.
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