Lactate Threshold Testing

Moto is quite the dynamic sport.  When training we have to worry about strength, balance, technique and countless other variables.  However, without a solid base of cardiovascular endurance, you won’t have enough steam to push through the whole race.  In my previous article a little bit ago, I wrote about aerobic progression and how to change you training during the year.  In order to find the correct heart rate (HR) zone to train in, you really need to perform a lactate threshold test.

Lactate threshold is simply the point at which your body switches from fat to carbohydrate for fuel.  In the lower HR ranges, the body uses fat because of the easy breakdown for energy.  This is also the point where things switch from aerobic to anaerobic.  The aerobic zones can supply enough oxygen to the skeletal muscles, while anaerobic zones require more oxygen than the body can provide.  This results in a lactate acid build up.

To begin, you must be warmed up properly as this test requires everything you have.  The lactic acid build up will give you that deep burn and it will not be an easy test.  Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes then do some dynamic stretching.  For modes of testing, the best three choices are spin bikes, running, and rowing.  Here are the procedures for all three:

Spin Bike:

Duration: 45 minutes

Start light with some sprints to get the HR up for 15 minutes.  At the end of the 15 minutes, start an all out race effort.  Then 10 minutes in, hit your heart rate monitor to begin recording your HR for the next 20 minutes.  When the test is over, record the average heart rate for the last 20 minutes.


Duration: 45 minutes

Same as spin bike.


Duration: 60 minutes

Because rowing uses more muscle mass than spinning and running, the procedure will be a little different.  You want to do 3 sets of 8 minutes as hard as you can with 10 minutes between sets.  Average all the HR’s and you have your lactate threshold hold.

Once you have the HR, you can now determine your zones for training.  This is extremely useful when doing recovery rides and intervals.  Tomorrow I will list the zones and HR’s for each zone.

Posted on Jul 26 2011, under Training | 4 Comments »

4 Responses to “Lactate Threshold Testing”

  1. Just want to note that HR Zones are sport specific.

  2. Mike, you are correct. However, certain zones are going to pretty much use the same fuel source for each zone, regardless of sport. Obviously, trained clients can shift the need from carbs to fats. So, the zones will be a little different for each sport.

  3. Been meaning to do this test, but it just seems like it is going to suck so bad! Time to suck it up. Looking forward to the zones post.

  4. No pain, no gain John…just kidding! It’s uncomfortable, but not unbearable.

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