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Lactate Threshold Testing – Why It Matters

Quantifying your training has always been the cornerstone on which we build your training programmes. There are many ways to quantify your training: through monitoring power, personal bests (PBs), and Physiological Response.

While most of these sets of data are often used simultaneously. Where endurance training is concerned, VO2 max tests and Lactate Threshold tests are the two best tests to do. This is simply because they tell you how physically fit you are – which is an indicator of how conditioned your aerobic energy system is. The more conditioned it is, the bigger the capacity in sustaining huge workloads.

Most athletes in endurance events would want to stay within a certain level of intensity whereby the Aerobic System is the primary contributor of energy to the body. However, above a certain intensity, the Aerobic System would be unable to cope and the Anaerobic Systems would be called in to contribute in order to sustain these increased intensities. This, however, cannot be sustained for long periods of time like that of those required in endurance events.

FAQs of Blood Lactate Analysis.

What is Lactate?

Lactate, or Lactic Acid as it is commonly known, is formed when excess pyruvate binds with hydrogen ions. Pyruvate is produced when your body breaks down glucose for energy through glycolysis. Pyruvate can be further broken down for energy when oxygen is present. As exercise intensity increases, the rate of glycolysis increases, producing more pyruvate. When the production exceeds the rate of breakdown, pyruvate starts to accumulate, binding with the hydrogen ions and thereby producing lactate.

What is Lactate Threshold (LT)?

When exercising at high intensity, a large amount of lactate starts to accumulate in the blood. This causes an increase in acidity of the blood, affecting the body’s ability to function properly. The intensity at which lactate begins to accumulate in large amounts is termed as Lactate Threshold.

How do I determine my LT?

To determine your LT, one has to go through a LT test. A LT test is conducted with incremental stages of exercise intensities, in which blood samples will be taken towards the end of each stage from the test subject’s fingers to measure his/her blood lactate concentration.

How is knowing your LT useful?

Knowing your LT enables you to define the optimal exercise intensity that you can sustain for prolonged periods of time. Coupled with the right nutrition, hydration plan, one can sustain the intensity for hours. Training at intensities above and around your LT Threshold can improve your body’s ability to metabolise and buffer Lactate. Training at intensity near the LT Threshold helps improve the Aerobic System, increasing the breakdown of fats for energy and improving exercise economy. These adaptations improve individual endurance performance and lactate tolerance, thus performing better, faster, and lasting longer.

How do I get my LT Test done at Athlete Lab?

At Athlete Lab, we are pleased to now offer the service to all our athletes. Be aware that the test requires:

  • A pre-test protocol that requires the subject to be in good health, well-rested, and having abstained from certain substances and drugs
  • A progressive effort on the stationary bike that will get harder and harder, getting close to maximal effort towards the very end
  • The subject to use his/her own heart-rate monitor for the test
  • A post-test review of the results, and how that data should be incorporated into the subject’s training regime

Please call us on +65 6224 4410 or email wilson@athlete-lab.com to discuss how the LT Test can help optimize your progression towards your key training and racing goals, as well as for further details.