World Best VO2 max Scores

The maximum rate of Oxygen (O2) consumption by the body during exercise, commonly written as VO2max, is the criterion measure of aerobic endurance fitness. You can read details of the procedures for conducting a VO2max Fitness Test. The measurement can be given in the units liters of O2 per min (l.min-1) or divided by body weight to get a score relative to a person's body weight (ml.kg.min-1)

Expected Scores

Wikipedia lists VO2 max levels for the average young untrained male of about 3.5 liters/minute or 45 ml/min/kg. In comparison, world class male endurance athletes in sports such as cycling and cross-country skiing typically achieved scores in excess of 80 ml/kg/min, and occasionally a few may exceed 90 ml/kg/min. The average young untrained female will score about 2.0 liters/minute or 38 ml/min/kg compared to world class female endurance athletes which a few may exceed 70 ml/kg/min. See also some VO2max results for athletes for specific examples for a range of sports.

World Bests

Below is a list of VO2max scores (in the units per body weight: ml/kg/min) that have been recorded for a variety of athletes in a range of sports. Not all the values have been verified, and the accuracy of these values may vary, as the scores achieved depend on the quality of the equipment used, the calibration of the equipment, and the testing protocols used. However, these values still provide an interesting list for comparison and discussion.

Having a high VO2max does not necessarily mean that you will be successful. Although all the athletes listed below have been successful in their chosen sports, there have also been others equally successful who have not recorded such high VO2max scores. There are obviously other factors to consider for success in aerobic based sports.

Males

These are some of the top male VO2max scores ever recorded (in ml.kg.min-1).

score name sport notes
97.5 Oskar Svendsen Cycling 18 year old from Lillehammer, Norway.  The test was conducted in Sept 2012 at the University College of Lillehammer by physiologist Joar Hansen. (from an article on procycling)
96.0 Espen Harald Bjerke Norwegian cross country skier This score was achieved in 2005 (7.3 liter/min, 76 kg body weight), listed in an article on www.fasterskier.com.
96.0 Bjørn Dæhlie Norwegian cross country skier though another source has him recording a best of 90 ml/kg/min.
93.0 Kurt Asle Arvesen  Road Cycling a Norwegian professional road bicycle racer for Team Sky. Figure taken from article on syklingens verden website, said to be from 1997.
92.5 Greg LeMond cycling US professional cyclist
92.0 Matt Carpenter runner Pikes Peak marathon course record holder
92.0 Tore Ruud Hofstad Norwegian cross country skier achieved in 2005
91.0 Gunde Svan Swedish XC-skier won a total of 4x gold, 1x silver and 1x bronze medals at the Winter Olympics.
91.0 Harri Kirvesniem Finnish cross country skier
89.5 Kilian Jornet Ultr-endurance runner from a test in 2012 by Daniel Brotons Cuixart, a sports specialist at the University of Barcelona.
88.0 Miguel Indurain cycling professional cyclist
88.0 Anders Aukland cross country skier achived 2005, listed in an article on www.fasterskier.com.
87.4 Marius Bakken runner Norwegian 5k record holder
87.0 Jon Anders Gaustad cross country skier achived 2005, listed in an article on www.fasterskier.com.
86.4 Edvad Boasson Hagen road cyclist from Norway and Team Columbia-HTC. Figure taken from article on syklingens verden website, possibly from 2008.
86.0 Thor Hushovd cycling listed in an article on www.fasterskier.com.
86.0 Ole Einar Bjœrndalen biathlon listed in an article on www.fasterskier.com.
85.0 Dave Bedford runner 10k world record holder
85.0 John Ngugi distance runner World XC Champion
84.4 Steve Prefontaine runner from the US
84.0 Lance Armstrong cycling professional cyclist
83.5 Mark Walters cycling a pro-cyclist, former Navigators team member, won Philadelphia. This score was from the peak of his career. (personal communication, heard first hand from Mark himself)
83.0 Jens Arne Svartedal cross country skier achived 2005, listed in an article on www.fasterskier.com.
82.7 Gary Tuttle US runner
82.0 Kip Keino runner Olympic 1500 champion
81.1 Craig Virgin distance runner twice World cross country champ
81.0 Jim Ryun runner US miler WR holder
80.9

Øyvind Leonhardsen

Norwegian professional soccer player listed in an article on www.fasterskier.com.
80.1 Steve Scott runner US miler 3:47

Females

These are just a few VO2max scores (in ml.kg.min-1) that have been found for females. Most likely many there are more scores that can be added to this list. As with the above male top score list, not all these values have been verified, and the accuracy of these values may vary.

score name sport notes
78.6 Joan Benoit distance running 1984 Olympic Marathon Champion
76.6 Bente Skari XC-skier
76.0 Flavia Oliveira Cycling Oliveira is a Brazilian National Team road cyclist and climbing specialist. This result was recorded during testing with Felicia Gomez at Pinnacle Training Systems in Fresno, California on Jan 21, 2012. (with thanks to Nathan Parks, Jan 2012)
74 Charlotte Kalla XC-skier achieved at only 2O years of age
72 Marit Bjoergen XC-skier
72 Toini Rönnlund XC-skier achieved in the sixties sometime.
71.2 Ingrid Kristiansen distance running ex-Marathon World Record Holder
67.2 Rosa Mota distance running Marathon runner

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