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Aerobic Capacity

Founder, Mr. Mamil
Oskar Svendsen Highest VO2 Max
Oskar Svendsen has the highest recorded VO2 Max

Aerobic capacity measures the maximum amount of oxygen a person can use during intense exercise.

Aerobic capacity is also known as VO2 max, which stands for the volume of oxygen uptake per minute, adjusted to the body weight. VO2 max is measured in ml/kg/min. Aerobic capacity is influenced by age, gender, genetics, training, and altitude. Aerobic capacity is an indicator of cardiovascular fitness and endurance performance.

The term aerobic capacity comes from the word aerobic, which means requiring oxygen, and capacity, which means the ability or power to do something. The concept of aerobic capacity was developed by the Swedish physiologist Per-Olof Åstrand in the 1950s, who devised a test to measure VO2 max using a bicycle ergometer. The test involves cycling at increasing workloads until exhaustion while measuring oxygen consumption and heart rate.

Some synonyms or related terms for aerobic capacity are;

  • VO2 max
  • Maximal oxygen uptake
  • Maximal aerobic power

The table below lists the top male athletes with VO2 max above 80 (ml/kg/min).

VO2 max (ml/kg/min)NameSport
97.5Oskar SvendsenCycling
96.0Espen Harald BjerkeSkiing
96.0Bjørn DæhlieSkiing
93.9Brett AitkenCycling
93.0Kurt Asle Arvesen Cycling
92.5Greg LeMondCycling
92.0Kilian JornetRunning
92.0Matt CarpenterRunning
92.0Tore Ruud HofstadSkiing
91.0Gunde SvanSkiing
91.0Harri KirvesniemSkiing
88.0Miguel IndurainCycling
88.0Anders AuklandCycling
87.4Marius BakkenRunning
87.0Jon Anders GaustadSkiing
86.6Mark TarnopolskySkiing
86.4Edvald Boasson HagenCycling
86.0Thor HushovdCycling
86.0Ole Einar BjœrndalenBiathlon
85.0Dave BedfordRunning
85.0John NgugiRunning
84.6Chris FrommeCycling
84.4Steve PrefontaineRunning
84.0Lance ArmstrongCycling
83.5Mark WaltersCycling
83.0Jens Arne SvartedalSkiing
82.7Gary TuttleRunning
82.0Kip KeinoRunning
81.1Craig VirginRunning
81.0Jim RyunRunning
80.9Øyvind LeonhardsenSoccer
80.1Steve ScottRunning
Athletes with VO2max above 80 ml/kg/min.
Alex Lee at Mr.Mamil

Alex Lee is the founder and editor-at-large of Mr. Mamil. Coming from a professional engineering background, he breaks down technical cycling nuances into an easy-to-understand and digestible format here.

He has been riding road bikes actively for the past 12 years and started racing competitively in the senior category during the summer recently.