How can lactate testing be helpful when designing an exercise program?

Lactate threshold is basically synonymous with anaerobic threshold, so if you have an athlete you’re trying to maximize aerobic power, knowing lactate threshold is important so you know how hard to make an athlete’s workout before they are no longer training aerobically, but now training in the anaerobic range. By training just below lactate threshold you will maximize aerobic power without moving into the lactate system. Training near threshold will also increase the intensity it takes to reach threshold allowing endurance athletes to push themselves harder before producing large amount of lactate which forces the athlete to reduce intensity.  

The main benefit of knowing your lactate threshold is in helping design personalized training plans. When getting tested, we take small samples of blood while you exercise and measure the amount of lactic acid. Then we can see when the lactic acid starts to increase. We keep track of how fast you're running, your heart rate, and how hard you feel like you're working. With the lactate numbers and this other information, we can design a training plan that incorporates different speeds, different heart rates, and different exertion levels to help you train more effectively. Varying your training (rather than going the same distance or same speed every time) helps increase your ability to use oxygen, go longer, go faster and use less energy.
Lactate testing can be very effective for runners, cyclists, and triathletes. Some people feel it is only something "pros" would want or need to know, but beginners can benefit as much if not more from getting lactate tested. Learning how to train correctly and effectively right from the start can pay huge dividends.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.