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 would like to test the training program but don’t have an SRM crank on their bikes.

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 cheaper options (e.g. Polar) should be affordable for many cyclists. I’m sorry that the majority of the readers here on Training4cyclists.com cannot 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 you can use 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 relationship 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 typical 220 minus age since there is a substantial standard deviation. That means that I will only use this formula if I had to do a physical test on someone I didn’t know their real maximal heart rate. Still, that would be an assumption; thus, it limits the 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 challenging 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 ten 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 an SRM or PowerTap mounted on your bike, look for alternatives to track your power output. I like ergometer bikes, and if you’ve never tried a professional ergometer bike, I will highly recommend you try one. One of the most reliable ergometer bikes in the world is Monark
that is known for top performance and accurate power monitoring.

3.Home trainer with power monitor

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

Remember, it’s only 14 days of training with intervals, and so far, people are reporting remarkable improvements on their VO2 Max.

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

1 thought on “How to Train for VO2 Max without SRM Crank System”

  1. +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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