Lactate threshold testing - you should be getting tested and here's why

Updated: Sep 3, 2018



Lactate threshold testing is commonly used by elite athletes and teams. You should also be getting tested and this brief article explains why.


Crossfit, Cycling, Running, Swimming, Combat Sports or Team Sports, if it demands high intensity aerobic performance then you should know where your lactate threshold is.


If you do not consciously target your lactate threshold in training, your sessions are unlikely to be optimal or effective, impacting both your short-term and long-term development.


In these types of sport, success is typically determined by performing as hard as possible for as long as possible (or for a specific time or distance), and it’s your lactate threshold that dictates your upper limit of sustainable high-intensity efforts. Increasing your lactate threshold is therefore vital for improving your performance.


During moderate intensity exercise, low levels of lactate accumulate in the blood but are naturally removed by your body, with little or no impact on your performance. However, during high intensity exercise, an increasing level of lactate in the blood begins to hinder muscle contraction and can ultimately force you to slow down or stop. Your lactate threshold is the point at which your body produces more lactate than it can clear. Once you cross this threshold, you’re exercising on borrowed time.


One of the ways to increase your lactate threshold is to focus your training around it, performing high intensity sessions that are close to your lactate threshold level, along with moderate intensity sessions that are well below it. However, only by identifying your lactate threshold can you focus your training around it, which is where testing comes in.


Undertaking a lactate threshold test at one of the Fit-Report centres will ensure you can optimise your training plans in terms of:


1. Heart rate – Our tests will tell you at what heart rate you typically reach your lactate threshold and maximum sustainable effort. Therefore, for your high-intensity sessions, you will know precisely which heart rate zones will contribute to increasing your lactate threshold.

2. Pace - For distance or time-based sports such as running, swimming and cycling, our tests will tell you at what pace you typically reach your lactate threshold and maximum sustainable effort. Therefore, for your high-intensity sessions, you will know precisely which pace/s will contribute to increasing your lactate threshold.


Identifying precise training intensities is vital in ensuring your ongoing development. Only with knowledge of your precise heart rate and pace associated with your lactate threshold can you appropriately target the right intensities in training.


Any athletes and teams not currently undergoing this type of testing are most likely not training and performing optimally. However, the ones that begin to undergo testing will be the ones that excel in the coming years. Fit-Report centres are making these types of tests more accessible to local athletes, teams and clubs, where historically they have only used by elite sporting individuals.


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