Shooting Your Age - VO2Max

My other sport is golf. One of the most impressive achievements any golfer can aspire to is “shoot their age”, which means completing 18 holes with a score equal or less than their age. So, in theory, it should become easier with each birthday.

I’m 61 so won’t be doing that any time soon. perhaps if I live to see a cake with 3 figures I might…

But I’m a much better cyclist than I am a golfer and yesterday I did a VO2max test and set a new PB of 67.

Which got me thinking that there is a slightly different challenge for cyclists, but one that gets harder as you get older unlike its golf equivalent.

What’s oldest age at which anyone has had a VO2max result greater than or equal to their age? From some of the riders in Zpower I would guess it’s in the 70s but if anyone has hard facts it would be fun to know.

Quite apart from fun it would also be an optimistic message. My result yesterday was a lifetime best, up 4 on my last test 7 years ago. So contrary to received wisdom my VO2Max has improved rather than declined with time. If I can do it I’m sure others can too so perhaps the sample on which the wisdom is based is wrong.


Interesting - How are you testing and measuring V02max?

I used to shoot my age all the time …

on the front 9. :golf:


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I’m 47 and when I had my comprehensive work medical at the start of the year I had to do a ‘test’ on the Wattbike at the facility that extrapolated a VO2max of 48

I questioned the accuracy and was told it was good to +/- 5%

I’m heavy so was pleased enough to have a 48 score - if I got back to my ‘fighting’ weight it would have been around 54 according to the assessor - so something to aim for I guess

Not really clear on how it was calculated though so am a little sceptical …

My favorite rough way to estimate relative VO2max in the absence of any modeling software (someone shared it on this forum before but I can’t remember who)

#1: Take your 6 minute power and plug it in here to get a “pace”:

(e.g. 450w = 1:32/500m)

#2. Multiply the “pace” by 4 to get a 2000 meter number

(1:32*4 = 6:08)

  1. Plug in the 2000 meter pace number, bodyweight, and select “not highly trained” here:

This comes up pretty close to the numbers I get from the various modeling software that I use.


I like the number this gives me :joy:

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If you have a high anaerobic capacity, the number will be a little bit inflated, so keep that in mind :wink:

It’s a little on the enthusiastic side (similar to the Garmin FirstBeat estimates), higher than what I got doing a proper beep test.

And VO2Max = Age was quite a while ago (and no, I’m not so old, just slow).

I don’t think that there is anyone in the world who can “shoot their age” at 70. The highest I recall seeing would be in the low/early 60s, maybe mid-60s.

Not my calculator or my website, just sharing to be helpful to slake the curiosity for folks.

A VO2max number doesn’t really help you in your training anyways so I mostly ignore it.


or the ACSM formula mentioned here: Estimated VO2 Max

Liters of oxygen = (5-min power x .0108) + (bodyweight in kg x .007)

then multiple by 1000 and divide by bodyweight

Final formula:
(Power5-min * .0108 + WeightKg * .007) * (1000 / WeightKg)


(Power5-min * 10.8/WeightKg) + 7


  • weight 75kg
  • 350W power at 5-minutes
  • Plugging into ACSM formula: 350 + 10.8/75 + 7 = 57.4
  • VO2max estimate = 57 mL/min/kg

If I plug in my numbers into the ACSM formula, it overestimates by even more. It would be nice if it were true and I had a >80 number :laughing:

There is pretty good agreement between WKO5 and the method I posted above, with the Concept2 method being slightly higher than WKO5.

Just to further prettify your formula a little:

10.8 * (5-minute W/kg) + 7


First method comes out at 49
Second method comes out at 46

(As mentioned earlier, the assessment in January was 48)

Guess it just confirms I’m a fat ba***rd. :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:


Rowing and cycling power are pretty far apart, unless you are well trained for a number of years in both sports – I’ve seen Concept2 numbers for 6-20min that match up with cycling numbers, but both guys had been doing both sports concurrently for a number of years.

For cyclists, your FTP is pretty darned close to what you can hold for a 2k on the erg, but it takes training to get there.

ACSM formula done off of an 8min power test with no spikes at the start or finish would get you pretty close to the WKO+ modelling. An evenly-paced 12min effort would be better.

(Coggan has long maintained over on Wattage that your 12min power is your real VO2 max power — 5-6 minutes has waaaay too much anaerobic interference)

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I’d be interested to take an actual VO2 max test.
I do find shorter anaerobic intervals easier than sustained threshold ones

What I get:

  • 4.032 L/min from WKO5 mVO2max (absolute)
  • 3.926 L/min from ACSM formula

a difference of 2.7%

Absolute because I live and train in flatland, don’t usually look at W/Kg since around here its about raw watts, and more importantly I need to lose weight and protect my ego :rofl: Full disclosure my relative vo2max is 41.3 now and 45.5 at target weight. Aerobic capacity has been growing nicely since start of season in September, figure I still have a lot of headroom to grow aerobic capacity.

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that ACSM formula only “works” if you look at the “flatline” part of a power test – a 5min effort with a big spike at the start and finish is going to overestimate. In the second edition of TARWAPM Allen and Coggan offered that you could use a well-paced 5min effort, but you had to look at the even paced flatline (for example, I’ve done 425w for 5 min, but take out the twin peaks and it was a 400w effort in the middle – exactly what I could hold for 8min at that time, in an even paced effort, while the Coggan 12 minutes of truth was down to 390).

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I’m 67 and have considered a V02 Max test at the local university. What actionable information did it give you, other than a data point to compare down the road to see how much you’ve retained? I would like to improve my VO2 if I could to avoid getting dropped on hills with my younger cyclists buddies. I usually can keep up with them except for hills.

Probably coincidentally, as they’re both just guessing, but mine came out remarkably close. .15 apart, first method being higher.

My garmin says I’m about 10 points (?) lower

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