A better method than smartwatches for estimating VO2max

A better method than smartwatches for estimating VO2max

Have you wondered how smartwatches come up with their estimates of VO2max?

Smartwatches are good at measuring heart rates but not good at estimating VO2max

In this post I’m going to show you how fit.test is better than smart watches for the estimation of the VO2max or VO2peak.

Smartwatches are very good at measuring heart rates while someone is exercising and also good at measuring work rates or power when someone is exercising. Smartwatches then use their proprietary algorithms to convert the work or power to an estimate of VO2 for each workload. In order to estimate of VO2max, smartwatches then use a cluster method where the heart rates and the associated work rates cluster around the intensities where the person is generally exercising (“training intensities”).  

This is inferior to the linear regression method used by fit.test and is the FIRST SERIOUS source of error for smartwatches.

For fit.test, I recommend to all of my subscribers that they use an incremental approach to gradually increase intensities: the client should start at a relatively low intensity of exercise and relatively low heart rate and then progress through a series of one-minute stages until they reach the end point of that exercise test (usually fatigue). 

The SECOND SERIOUS source of error for smartwatches is that they assume that all individuals follow the age-predicted heart rate tables. I have written a lot on this topic in other blogs and articles. fit.test gets over this problem by using accurate and direct measurements of heart rates rather than relying on age-predictions or other assumptions or look-up tables.