VO2max Test: Step by Step

If you have never done a VO2max Test before, take a look at our step-by-step rundown of what to expect.


After booking a test, you will receive a confirmation email with a questionnaire and a few points to consider in preparing for the test. We advise you to take it easy the day before the test by having a rest day or only having a light and short training session. Doing the test while fatigued may have adverse effects on your heart rate and heart rate zones. On the day of the test, try not to eat anything and not to drink energy drinks (with lots of sugar) from 90 minutes before the test. Drinking coffee just before the VO2max Test is not a good idea either, as it may affect your heart rate. Needless to say, drinking water is fine.

If you will be doing a cycling test, make sure you bring your cycling shoes. We have Look, Look Keo Classic and Shimano (SPD and SPD-SL) pedals. If you have a different brand of pedals on your bike, you can bring those, so that we can fit them to our cycle ergometer. We also have toe clips for normal trainers. Please make sure you specify your bicycle settings on the questionnaire, so that we can apply the same settings on the test bicycle.

For a running test, all you need to bring are your (clean!) running shoes.

Intake and warm-up

Before the actual test, we will go over your (medical history) questionnaire with you. This questionnaire also includes questions about your training regime and, for runners, your running times, so that we can make a good estimation of the test protocol. Next, we will weigh you and measure your body fat percentage through a skinfold measurement. Then we will put a heart rate monitor on you and you can start the warm-up. After a warm-up on the bicycle or a warm-up run, we will put a mask over your mouth and nose to be able to measure the air you inhale and exhale, and then the test can start.

Maximum stress level

The test protocol is made up of steps of 3 minutes. With each step, we up the cycling stress level or running speed until you have reached your maximum stress level and cannot take a higher stress level.
It starts easy, but the exercise gradually gets more strenuous, until your legs feel heavy as acid levels soar, or you cannot continue for another reason. Our aim is always to design the test protocol to make sure the test consists of between 4 to 6 steps, i.e. 15 minutes in total. If your test includes additional lactate testing, we will take a blood sample from your earlobe – through a tiny earlobe prick, which you won’t feel. And we will repeat this at the end of each test step. Generally, merely taking a swipe of the crust from the previous earlobe prick, without having to prick again, will be enough to get a tiny drop of blood.

Discussing the test results

After the test, we will go over the initial results with you. We will then also discuss your training regime. Your training zones and thresholds will not have been extrapolated from the data yet at this point. You will receive those by email within 1 or 2 working days. The report also details the focus points and references we discussed, as well as possible comparisons with previous tests.

Sports medical examination

If you choose to combine a VO2max Test with a Sports medical examination, a sports physician of SMA Olympia will also be involved in the test. The sports physician will discuss your questionnaire with you, measure your blood pressure, and affix stickers on your upper body for the ECG. After the resting ECG, you can start the warm-up. As soon as you have warmed up, the test starts as described above. After the test, the sports physician will first go over the sports medicine part of the test with you. The exercise physiologist will subsequently discuss the initial test results with you, and go over possible training questions.


All our tests are performed at the Sports Medical Center Amsterdam, which is located at Olympiaplein 74a, 1076 AG in Amsterdam. There are dressing rooms and showers available. There is ample parking around SMC Amsterdam, albeit that it is paid parking between 9am and 9pm on Monday to Saturday.


For a list of tests and prices, click HERE.

Go to the SCHEDULER to book a test. Or send an email to info@contest.nl.

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