Vo2 Max Test

I’m starting this year out with a Vo2 max test so I can dial in my zones and metabolism for doing more polarity based training this year.

Here’s a link to a sample report of the system.

How would I integrate this data I will be receiving with Xert? Are there any recommendations that anyone can offer?



Vo2max test? pnoe.com leads nowhere. What kind of test? What type of polarized training are you contemplating?

There are sub-domain pages for that address, but perhaps not an operating biz if the home page is defunct.
Example – PNOĒ | Uncover Your Superhuman. (pnoe.com)

1 Like

Their site must be down currently, as that is where I was directed by the sports scientist from NWfitness here on the Oregon Coast - and where I had downloaded the sample report that I posted.

This is the system they are using with a stationary bike doing a ramp test. Seem like knowledgeable folk - and I was surprised to find a fitness facility in a small town on the Oregon Coast, right? Its the closest testing I could find now that the University of Oregon is not currently offering it.

“Polarized” as 80+% low intensity Zone1/2 vs Zone 4. Staying out of Z3.
I first learned about this from Dr Iñigo San Millán and a pro trainer in our club suggested I learn more through Stephen Seiler’s work on the subject. https://www.youtube.com/sportscientist

Last year I didn’t have a very good handle on what my personal fitness was capable of. I started cycling again after a 15 year hiatus - and got a bit overzealous and ended up with a pulled soleus and wasn’t able to finish my commitment of ZRL (Zwift Racing League). :cry:

Thats why I am here with Xert - as the “one size fits all” and the gamification of things isn’t good for me past that initial enthusiasm. I read that Xert can help with this type of training that is based more on HR than wattage goals, and I am excited about learning more.

I hope that once I have my Zones HR referenced to wattage from the Vo2 test, I can fake my way through training a bit better when using Zwift, as everything is wattage based there. I’ll know my burn rate, so I can fuel properly for longer rides I hope.

However, I figure Xert probably does this better than the other training systems and I would like to learn more!

Xert is not strictly polarised in the Seiler sense, and actually doesn’t use ‘zones’ in the traditional way e.g. you won’t find time in zone anywhere. There are good reasons for that though.

That said, there are similarities and you could consider below LTP (or perhaps below 90% LTP) as being zone 1/2, and above TP as being zone 4+.

It also doesn’t strictly implement the 80:20 easy:hard workout ratio. It does suggest easier rides after doing significant work above TP (tired status / yellow stars), it just may or may not result in 80:20. If you ride 5 times a week it’s fairly easy to just make one of those hard though.

Xert is actually mostly wattage based. HR is only used to estimate work for rides without a powermeter (which is ideally not too many).

As an aside, it may be worth researching pyramidal vs polarised. Seems that while it’s important to keep 80% easy, but there’s not necessarily anything wrong with z3 (tempo / sweet spot) depending on your goals.

1 Like

You need the data from this test, not the report. I own a Pnoe and their reports are lacking.

In addition, the flow sensor and O2 sensor have a -/+ of 1% error on reading and will still be within spec. So that can lead to -/+ about 7% difference in VO2 (calculated using flow and consumed O2) reading and the device will still be within spec. Medical grade carts usually have 0.01% error on O2 readings, so take that as you will.

From my experience, I would be highly suspect of the test unless I knew the complete background of the tester and their calibration protocols. The Pnoe device is very fickle. Did they do ambient air calibration or gas calibration?

I only say this as someone who has more than 50 RMR tests and >200 hours of metabolic data collected with a Pnoe device. Just on me. I don’t really test other people yet.

If you can get the raw data in CSV from your tester and provide a fit file (if you have on from the test), I can help you analyze the data. I have charts in WKO and Golden Cheetah for Pnoe data.

1 Like

Yikes. This doesn’t sound good at all. My impression is they are new to their system and I should run and save the $$. Thanks for the input.

I don’t mean to be super negative about having your VO2max tested, but I would only pay good money for a test with a medical-grade device in a clinical setting. Or field testing with a very experienced coach or technician. Anyone can buy a Pnoe and start testing. I’ve seen it. They sold one to me and I’m just a dumb engineer :slight_smile:

I bought a Pnoe because I love data and got a really good deal on a unit. VO2Master was the only other consumer choice as a hobbyist.

Graded exercise tests are great if you can have a custom protocol with a very shallow slope. You need to reduce transient effects between workload and physiological response and sometimes a stepped graded tests is used.

Oftentimes it’s better to save your money and go out and do a quality CP testing program. That’s free and can be repeated whenever you want.

Also, for the cost of a few metabolic tests, you can buy a lactate meter and test yourself.

Lots of ways to characterize your fitness without costly lab work.

1 Like

Watch the first video she linked to. It was one of the most popular videos of GCN ever. Tempo and Sweet Spot are basically verboten. Dr Iñigo San Millán makes a very good case for making that high zone 1 (in a 3 zone system the bulk of your training, with the 20% or 10% glycolytic, high zone 3. He also makes the point that one shouldn’t mix Zone1 with Zone 2 or 3 in one activity, although it’s ok to add that Zone 2 or 3 at the very end of your workout. That would eliminate quite a few Xert “endurance” activities.he also says that this polarized training would perfectly fine for the “only 6 hours” a week athlete.

The other interesting thing I take from that video is that it’s pretty easy to know what “zones” one should be in. One can use the talk test to be in High Zone one (LT1) (according to the Dr., another person, say listening on the phone, should know you are exercising by just listening to your voice). High Zone 3 intervals could be estimated pretty easily I think. It’s the near-threshold intervals that would be harder to dial in without using Xert or pegging zones based on FTP, but doing near-threshold intervals isn’t required it seems according to the doctor. Eh, maybe they would be required for the sake for specificity as one approaches race day. I’d love to hear his opinion on that, whether specificity is even required in one’s training as race day approached.

1 Like

I truly appreciate the input. I had a funny feeling that this fitness center was new to the Vo2 testing. They are not cycling centric, and the vibe I have is they are new to the system. It’s cheap for the test ($100) but with this thread and my time with Xert vs all the random workout stuff I was engaged in last year, I’m questioning if I need much more than low intensity riding for most of the week without ERG or Xert, (It could even be fun rides!) and then once a week race or do a HIIT.

I must admit all this stuff is incredibly confusing and I appear to take 2 steps forward and 2 steps back in my understanding.

The real intention here for me is that I am need clarification of my “Zones”. Now I get that Xert doesn’t even use them! My max heart rate is very low (154) yet it has increased 25bpm in the last year or so. Sometimes I can talk at 115bpm, and sometimes I can’t - so I can’t really tell where this elusive Zone 2 is. However, I do realize now after a couple months of 80% endurance rides vs the crits I’ve done once a week - its going better than before. I have mostly been using Xert for understanding my efforts - not for its structured workouts.

CP/W’ testing is also protocol dependent. Until residual balances (that everyday Xert users see in their data) are properly accounted for, expect to get inconsistent results if you change the CP test protocol. Unfortunately field data can’t be used so you’re sort of stuck going into a lab to get it done too.

In the end though, all that really counts is producing power. In Xert land, we have 3 fitness signature variables (in the current model) that characterize your ability to produce power roughly from 1s to an hour in terms of power duration. The model works accurately and precisely for fixed power as well as variable (MPA is an intermittent model). If you want to produce more power, one or more of these 3 parameters have to increase since that is what makes MPA increase. (An increase in intermittent MPA, by definition, means more power).

In Xert terms, you can’t improve some aspect of your fitness without affecting one or more of these parameters for efforts in this range. You can use phrases like “improve my VO2max” or “increase my lactate clearance” for example as goals but ultimately, these improvements have to translate into more power otherwise, they aren’t useful. This translation must mean that something changes in your fitness signature which raises your MPA. Your fitness signature represents an integrative model of your physiology for constant and variable power. In the end, it’s all that really matters.


You’re absolutely right. It’s hard to speak on nuance of anything in a forum without feeling like I’m bloviating. Consistency is everything. Choose a protocol and stick with it. Then add other protocols and compare to known data.

And that’s why I pay to use your model, even though I use several other models AND collect copious metabolic data. However, power-only analysis isn’t enough for me.

By the way, you provide the best platform, in my opinion. Just go out and ride (with some obvious caveats…like go out and ride with a purpose).

I agree again. However, it seems like there’s a clear lack of knowledge in most athletes as to what they’re actually trying to accomplish when you have the various blogs and platforms muddying the waters as far as how to measure and understanding the complexities of how power is produced and expressed at the pedal. There’s a particular forum that is a great example.

My ultimate point with my posts were about the technical aspects of measuring VO2max with Pnoe and some of the pitfalls of this particular system.

Having a discussion about the nuance of how to measure physiology, determining which protocol is most appropriate, protocol dependency of results, QA/QC measures, measurement repeatability, device specifications, environmental effects, etc. would make for a great thread, though.

1 Like

Thanks @danenick. There are lots of sources of fitness and training information on the internet. Some are aligned, some simply place importance on different aspects and some have deep conflicts. It’s almost like you need to choose a philosophy to follow and adopt whilst ensuring you’re not creating conflicts with other philosophies you might read about. For many it boils down to choosing one coach over another. A bit of a quagmire. Hopefully, with Xert, we can help shine a light on what is working or isn’t for athletes who follow these alternative approaches.


More so with Xert 2.0 … or at least we hope. So many possibilities with it. Tieing things to measurable physiology is something we are hoping to accomplish with it.

1 Like

I purchased an INSCYD Test from FastTalkLabs (had a special going on) because I am a data geek and because I was curious about how the numbers stacked up against XERT values. Haven’t done it yet…

Having spent 20 years studying philosophy - let me boil it down to one thing that probably applies to training too.

Meaning processing. :grinning:


There’s so much fun trying to actually measure VLaMax that estimating that parameter from power-only testing is dubious. However, it can become an index if you can control and repeat the test.

INSCYD is so expensive though. I use a Python script to to the basic modeling that INSCYD does.

I use this:

I’ve studied INSCYD’s patent and they’re not doing anything magical. It’s really cool, though. Much of the simulation is based on this paper:

1 Like

Are you familiar with the authors of the Kaggle? (PM me or email if preferred)

Unfortunately, I am not. I haven’t reached out yet, but I’ve been spreading their work all over. The formulation seems legit, but I haven’t really verified. Not that I really have the background to do so.

Your max heart rate increased? Be curious to know what you mean by that. As for the talk test, there’s another way to find appox LT1. Do a long ERG warmup, (wear a HR monitor) one that starts at low wattage, and gradually increases. It’s got to be quite long, a good warmup, because it sometimes takes heart rate a while to catch up. Maybe 15+ minutes. At some point you should feel your breathing increase to the point where you’re taking a slightly deeper breath. Note your heart rate. That heart rate is IMO a good ballpark marker. That marker is quite obvious to me. For me, the heart rate is about 72% of my max HR. The number stays the same as I increase fitness, but the power at that HR increases. What type of HR monitor do you use? Some can be rather inaccurate.

1 Like