How to Train for VO2 Max without SRM Crank System

I have received a couple of emails concerning my VO2 max booster program. These questions are from people who really would like to test the training program, but don’t have a SRM crank on their bikes.

Now I will show you how to dramatically improve your VO2 Max without using an expensive SRM monitor.

Before we go on, please notice that I always try to provide the best information about what I’ve learned about training principles and show you how to implement them in your daily training routine.

In my eyes training with a power meter is the best and most secure way to track your intensity during intervals.

I know that power meters are expensive, but there are also cheaper options (e.g. Polar) that should be affordable for many cyclists. I’m sorry that the majority of the readers here on Training4cyclists.com are not able to monitor their wattage.

I understand if you don’t just run out and buy a power meter to test some of these training programs so I’ve tried to outline some principles that can be used if you want to maximize your VO2 Max without a power meter

1.Know your maximal heart rate and use it retrospective

There is a close relationsship between heart rate and oxygen consumption. When your heart rate is close to maximum your oxygen consumption is also close to maximum.
Here is a post on how to measure maximal heart rate.

Don’t rely on calculations like the common 220 minus age since there is a huge standard deviation. That means that I will only use this formula if I had to do a physical test on someone where I didn’t have an idea of their real maximal heart rate. Still that would be an assumption, thus it limits usability of the above formula.

For a beginning I recommend you use the heart rate retrospective. Try to ride the intervals as hard as possible and compare your heart rate file with your subjective feeling afterwards. It’s extremely difficult to adjust workload during short 30/30seconds intervals based on your current heart rate.

If you end up with a maximal heart rate that is less than 10 beats from your max heart rate for a few minutes then you’ve probably had a great workout.

2.Ergometer bike

If you don’t have a SRM or PowerTap mounted on your bike then look for alternatives to track your power output. I really like ergometer bikes and if you’ve never tried a professional ergometer bike, I will highly recommend you to try one. One of the most reliable ergometer bikes in the world is Monark
that is known for top performance and valid power monitoring.

3.Home trainer with power monitor

There are several affordable home trainers that provide information about your workload. These systems are rarely the most precise monitors, but if you use the same home trainer every day it’s probably good enough for you.

Remember it’s only 14 days training with intervals and so far people are reporting about great improvements on their VO2 max.

Take home message: You can train for VO2 max without using SRM crank system. If you have a heart rate monitor you can look at your heart rate retrospective to see whether you’ve trained hard enough. Using a professional ergometer at your local gym or simply just a home trainer can be a cheap and reliable solution.

1 comment… add one
  • Richard

    +1 that you can get a decent power meter at low cost. My Polar PM cost me £150. It’s wired and messy to fit and the reading drops out occasionally but it works and my fitness has been transformed since I started training with power this year, more than I ever imagined. The polar was reduced in price because it had been superceded by a better model. I’ve also seen powertaps being sold off cheap when newer models come out (e.g. wired versions when wireless ones came out). If you keep a lookout and don’t need the latest and best (you don’t) then you can get a real power meter without paying silly money. Using a previous generation PM is better than using none at all.

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