VO2 max for cyclists: What is VO2 max? How does mine compare and how can I improve?

Defining your 'aerobic ceiling', VO2 max is a crucial fitness benchmark - here’s what you need to know and how to improve yours

Male cyclist riding hard to improve his vo2 max
(Image credit: Future)

One of the riders I coach, Rebecca, messaged me recently after getting home from an endurance ride. She wanted to discuss which higher-intensity workouts would be best for getting her ready for the race season. 

“I’ve read that a rider’s VO2 max is hereditary and that you don’t really need to specifically train it,” said Rebecca. “Apparently you can do all the hard efforts you need in races and group rides.”

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Brendan Housler of evoq.bike is a cat-one cyclist and professional cycling coach from the USA.