Coming up with a plan to improve performance is key whether you’re a professional or recreational athlete or just someone who wants to stay active. One way to ramp up your performance is by determining the condition of your cardiovascular system with a VO2 Max Test. It measures your body’s ability to use oxygen and the higher your VO2 Max is the better. SSMI Biomechanics Coach Alex Edwards explains why and the importance of doing this type of metabolic testing.

Meet Alex Edwards, SSMI Biomechanics Coach 

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m a 3rd generation Sun Devil. I graduated from ASU’s exercise science program in 2016 and then went on to finish a master’s degree from ATSU in 2019.

What does being a Biomechanics Coach entail?

As I Biomechanics Coach, I look for ways to optimize movement patterns and performance. 

What tests do you perform at SSMI?

  • Gait Analysis
  • Biomechanical Evaluation
  • VO2 Max Test

Who are these tests geared towards?

Gait Analysis is specific to walking or running and is good for anything from injury management to running performance 

Biomechanical Evaluations are more generalized for exercise prescription and performance. So, it’s good for people recovering from an injury, starting a new exercise program, or looking to increase performance training.

VO2 Max Test is the gold standard measurement for aerobic conditioning. While most people seeking out this test are endurance athletes looking to track their performance, it’s also a good tool for the general population and even special populations with chronic disease do establish a baseline and track endurance performance. 

How do you prepare for each test?

All the tests involve exercise so appropriate clothing and attire is required. The VO2 Max Test has more specific instructions like fasting at least 3-4 hours ahead and avoiding caffeine. Otherwise, patients should just come ready to exercise. 

What is the importance of each test?

Each of these tests provide information that can be used to tailor an individualized exercise prescription based on personal needs. 

How do people know which test is right for them?

Patients recovering from an injury should follow the care plan provided by Dr. Carfagno which usually has specific instructions for what tests may be necessary. Healthy patients looking to improve their fitness and performance can choose the right test based on their needs where biomechanics evaluation and gait analysis focuses on general movement/ strength and conditioning and VO2 Max testing focuses on cardiovascular conditioning.