54% of VO2max loss in masters athetes can be explained by loss in volume

Seems that for us older folks it’s even more important to keep the intensity high, use it or lose it


Only read the abstract but doesn’t seem to mention intensity and instead says loss of VO2 is caused by cessation or reduction of training volume. So conclusion from this particular study would be to keep volume high and not have big breaks from training.

Which isn’t to say that it’s not important to incorporate high intensity training regularly as you get older, I’m pretty sure that it is and other studies back that up. Just not this one (or at least not in the abstract!).


It says in the results that in all but 1 study a decrease in volume went hand in hand with a decrease in high intensity

Ah, should have read more! In which case would be interesting to tease out the impact of the overall volume reduction vs the impact of the high intensity volume reduction.

I.e. If you were training 6 days/week with 2 high intensity days and 4 endurance/recovery days and needed to reduce your riding to 3 days/week, would it be best to keep overall mix the same (1 high, 2 low), keep the high intensity and drop the endurance (2 high, 1 low) or even to attempt to compensate for the volume reduction by increasing intensity (3 high).

This is clearly a meta study on reduced volume with one sentence saying intensity is reduced broadly inline with volume, so it’s clearly not taking on the question of intensity distribution.

I think the fact some of the stats are “per decade” is useful context as well to understand the nature of this study.

I’m not looking forward to maintaining 8-10hrs into my 60s in the hope of limiting the damage to -5% per decade…

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Ties in perfectly with joe friels book “fast after 50”.


Having read it … their conclusions are that aging athletes should continue to maintain volume and intensity.

Interestingly, they suggest that we’re better off doing longer VO2 Max intervals than shorter, more intense ones.

So, ditch the 5 × 5s up around 125% and do 3 × 8s down at 110% instead. I’m guessing “longer” would include 10 and 12 minute sets of on/offs as well.


I am. Most of the constraints on my training time are family and work related. By the time I’m 60 the kids will be in their 20s and I’m hoping I’ll either be retired or at least doing work for enjoyment that fits in around my cycling rather than vice versa!



Guy in our club (who was already pretty fast / fit for late 50s - early 60s) retired 5 months ago.

He’s been doing multiple long rides per week outdoors and smashing chain gangs. His fitness has made a quantum leap upwards and he’s telling everyone how happy he is :smiley::smiley:

  1. I’d be surprised if any of these observations held up to proper study design and replication. But it doesn’t matter. The good advice of a hard day or two every 7-10, plus a lot of endurance work, will do well for any age cyclist.

  2. Retirement, or downshifting, makes all the difference for senior athletes. When you don’t have to worry about work, business travel, dinners out, etc etc etc, it becomes easy to find 12-15 hour a week to train well and rest well. I’m semi-retired and comfortably hitting CTL numbers I couldn’t reach when working full time. Some of the happiest and best trained riders I know are 55+ and exited the daily grind. The only down side is we aren’t 35 years old any more :grimacing:


Not a lot of longitudinal data to draw from.

A year ago June I crashed my mtn bike and ended up getting a few stitches in my hand. Not wanting to rip them out in another crash I decided to take few days off. I ended up taking a 3 week break since being retired I’d been training pretty constantly for the last two years only taking a day or two off now and then but felt I needed some down time.

OMG. The first ride after returning I felt more like I’d taken 3 years off rather 3 weeks. On my initial ride doing a climb that I’d done many times my HR shot up to 180 which honestly scared me since it was way over my theoretical max. Previous rides on that climb I would see ~160. On the positive side my conditioning returned pretty quickly but I won’t be taking any more long breaks voluntarily in the future.


Why not I’m 66 and with some of the pensioners of Chorley CC do between 14-20 hrs per week and love every second of it. We are the local cafe experts to boot.


Whenever I need a good café recommendation I ask my local group of retired cyclists and get inundated with great suggestions including what menu items are best in each place! Look forward to joining them one day.


This is not a scientific study but rather a literature review and their interpretation of published articles.

Not surprisingly the conclusion is that decreased volume resulted in a lower VO2 max. Sedentary athletes saw the most decline.

So basically keep training to slow the loss of your mojo. Did we need an article for that?


Fair point! :laughing:

It’s a meta study, or study of studies, and still accepted as published research.

There is a challenge in doing them without bias, as they note they have analysed only six studies which “met their criteria” and those criteria in any meta study often exclude studies with contradictory or difficult to include results. We don’t know what they excluded.

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Training volume correlates with stroke volume and stroke volume correlates with VO2max. I don’t see any surprise there.

You can’t stop max hr decrease with age but you can keep or even improve your stroke volume.

I’m sure vo2 max in younger athletes has a strong correlation with their training volume as well. It seems what they are saying is that the reduction is mostly nothing to do with age but to do with changes in training.

A review is considered to be a higher level of evidence actually than 1 original study

well the conclusion could have been that the decline was inevitable but a big part if that decline fortunately doesn’t need to be if you keep up volume and intensity

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