How do I define VMAs?
VMA (Maximum Aerobic Speed), an essential concept of sports training? Yes, I certainly do. Easily evaluable and applicable … Perhaps more difficult to define.
The VMA is expressed in kmh and is evaluable from field testing. The Luc Léger test is one of the best known. Its principle is simple: run as long as possible while respecting progressively increasing speeds, imposed by means of a soundtrack and visual cues.
During this test, there will come a time when the athlete will no longer be able to keep pace because his ability to maintain this increasing pace will be limited by the possibilities of oxygen supply at the level of muscle fibers. The higher the flow, the more likely the athlete will be to maintain a high intensity effort. And when the effort reaches limits for which all the oxygen available at the muscular level will be consumed, it will be said that the athlete has reached his VMA. The VMA is therefore the speed at which the runner reaches his maximum oxygen consumption.
But beware, an athlete who has reached his VMA can still increase the intensity of his exercise. Certainly, not for very long. With no more oxygen reserves, it will use its anaerobic resources. This is the case during the end of this test. Physiologically, an athlete who stops because he can no longer keep up with the imposed pace, finishes his effort, not in aerobic regime but in a lactic anaerobic regime.