MAM Podcast S01E010: Understanding Max Aerobic Speed Testing and Training



Show Notes


I just want to ask you why do you in MBSC believe in heart rate-based conditioning so much when we know that during short and long intervals our heart rate and VO2 response is not in good correlation?

I know that you believe in the KISS principle and conditioning is the hardest part of training to program and I have learned so much from you guys in MBSC but I think there is a better way to prescribe HIIT sessions based on testing the right thing. I use 30-15 IFT that is very easy to test and it is in good correlation with athletes MAS, sprinting speed, change of direction and in that test we have work interval and rest interval like in team sports and final speed on that test we can use to program short intervals. I am sorry if I bother you but I really want to know your thinking behind programming conditioning.

1. How Do We Use Heart Rate Monitors At MBSC?

  • We encourage all clients to use MyZone Heart Rate Monitoring.
  • Primarily to monitor resting HR, prescribe rest and screen for possible health issues.
    • Resting HR – Elevated resting HR directly correlates with all-cause mortality independent of physical fitness (Goal: under <60 seconds) 
    • HR Recovery – Low HR Recovery is directly correlated with all-cause mortality (Goal: a 30 beat drop in 60 seconds after a intense bout of exercise)
    • Health Concerns – Abnormal jumps/elevations in HR
  • We don’t use it as much for targeted training zones ie) Train at the HR for X intervals.
  • Sometimes for longer duration aerobic work but not for HIIT work.
  • We prescribe work INTENSITY for HIIT using MAS
  • 12 Great AirDyne Bike workouts by Michael Boyle

2. What is the 30-15 IFT Test?

  • Field test was developed by Martin Bucheit to indirectly measure VO2 and program for aerobic output.
  • Progressive shuttle running intervals of 30 seconds interspersed with 15 seconds of passive recovery. Starting at 8 km/hr and increasing by .5 km/hr at each bout. 
  • Test ends when the subject can no longer reach the end line/maintain speed.
  • Velocity achieved during the final stage is taken as their Max running speed.
    • Example: 30 second run done at 8.5 km/hr = 69.2 m covered
  • Problems with practical application for us: Time and Space
    • It takes 20-30 minutes to complete
  • It would work well in a team setting done outside. Not great in a private setting indoors.

3. What Max Aerobic Speed (MAS)?

  • MAS is physiologically defined as the lowest speed at which you each maximal oxygen uptake (VO2).
  • Time spent at or above 100% of MAS seems to be a critical factor for improving aerobic power
  • Short intervals at > 100% os MAS are the most effective way to improve aerobic power.
  • Specifically, intensity of 120% of MAS was determined to be the best single speed for short intervals to improve MAS
  • The key is training at or above MAS for increasing duration
  • We use MAS as a practical way to measure MAS in an indoor group setting.
  • We use a set time trial or a set distance test on the airdyne or assault bike.
    • 5-6 min time trial
    • 2 mile time trial on Assault bike (most will fall in between 4-7 minutes)
    • Set up the bike correctly (soft bend in the knee, arms straight)
    • Give them RPM/Watt windows to start then adjust up or down based on what you’re seeing
    • Keep the sitting down
    • Feedback and motivation is okay 
    • Get a 60 second Heart Rate Recover after
  • Typically, field sport athletes such as soccer players display an MAS of 4.4-4.8 m/s
  • MAS testing is very easy and practical for us for youth athletes inside. We can put them on a bike and test/train MAS very quickly and easily
    • :10/:20 x 8 at 120% of MAS
    • :20/:10 x MAS at 110% of MAS
  • Dan Baker Resource (use this information for finding a running MAS)
  • Do the test on yourself before you have other people to do it!

Book Club recommendation:

All References PDF

MAS References: 

  2. “Recent Trends In High Intensity Aerobic Training For Field Sports”

30-15 IFT Test References: 

  1. The 30-15 Intermittent Fitness Test: Accuracy for Individualizing Interval Training of Young Intermittent Sport Players
  2. The Validity and Contributing Physiological Factors to 30-15 Intermittent Fitness Test Performance in Rugby League
  3. 30–15 Intermittent Fitness Test: A Systematic Review of Studies, Examining the VO2max Estimation and Training Programming
  4. Effects of Heart Rate vs. Speed-Based High Intensity Interval Training on Aerobic and Anaerobic Capacity of Female Soccer Players

Resting Heart Rate Reference: 

  1. Resting Heart Rate is a Risk Factor for Cardiovascular and Noncardiovascular Mortality: The Chicago Heart Association Detection Project In Industry
  2. Resting heart rate and all-cause and cardiovascular mortality in the general population: a meta-analysis
  3. Resting Heart Rate in Cardiovascular Disease

Heart Rate Recovery References: 

  2. Heart Rate Recovery after Submaximal Exercise Testing as a Predictor of Mortality in a Cardiovascularly Healthy Cohort
  3. Association of Socioeconomic Status With Functional Capacity, Heart Rate Recovery, and All-Cause Mortality

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