Sport, Exercise and Nutritional Sciences

Lactate Threshold Test

What is it:

Lactate Threshold (LT) is often described as the ‘break point’ during incremental exercise, where lactate production exceeds the rate in which it can be broken down, resulting in lactic acid accumulation in the muscles leading to fatigue, muscle cramp and failure to maintain exercise.

Why it’s important:

The value is a good predictor of submaximal fitness (e.g. what pace can be maintained over a prolonged period of exercise without fatigue). Depending on overall fitness level, this is achieved somewhere between 40 and 90% of an individual’s VO2 max. Knowledge of your LT allows you to gauge the exercise intensity you can maintain before lactate levels become too high.

Benefits:

In comparison to VO2max, LT testing gives a much more precise measurement of the point at which your lactic acid will start to accumulate during exercise.  Recreational and serious athletes may use their lactate threshold to determine how to train and what sort of a pace they can maintain during endurance sports. Similarly, working above and below your lactate threshold can elicit different training benefits; completing this test will eliminate any guesswork and therefore allow you to train more effectively.

Test protocol:

Prior to the test, you will complete a warm up, and then we will fit you with a heart rate monitor and a mask, which are both linked directly to our breath-by-breath gas analysis system (Metalyzer 3B). The test protocol is similar to a VO2MAX in that it involves incremental stages of increasing difficulty to a near-maximal effort, using a treadmill or a cycle ergometer. The workload is increased either by:

  • Treadmill – increasing the speed or the incline
  • SRM ergometer – increasing the resistance

LT tests differ from the VO2MAX in that blood lactate assessments occur during the test (through a finger prick). At frequent intervals, blood lactate, heart rate, VO2 and VCO2 will be recorded.  The length of each stage is longer than a VO2MAX (3-4 mins) and the increase in work is more gradual. With the variables recorded, this allows us to pinpoint accurately the percentage of VO2MAX and heart rate at which your lactate threshold occurs.

You will be provided with a feedback form with your test results along with information on how to implement this data into your current training.

Duration:

1 hour

Price:

£70 (inclusive of VAT)

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