Let’s learn why you should do it, what it is, and how to do it!
Welcome to today’s “science lesson”, starring Cat Kom and Trainer Bethany. In this tutorial, we’re talking about the what, why, and how of lactate threshold training. Lucky for all of us, these two break down a complicated topic into easy-to-understand terms, and we’ll all be smarter at the end.
What is Lactate Threshold Training?
When you exercise, your body burns carbs as fuel. Meanwhile, lactic acid is cranking along to assist. If you’re working hard enough, eventually the lactate takes over and you’ve hit that lactate threshold.
If you’re an elite, competitive athlete, it may make sense to have an official test done to determine your lactate threshold, but for most of us, there’s a simple way to estimate it based on how your body feels and a few other metrics.
- A burn starts to form in your muscles, and your body may feel fatigued.
- Your body feels heavy.
- You feel a tingling sensation, may want to double over, and you may even feel like you’re about to throw up (Is it tongue in cheek when Cat says “if you’re not puking you’re not trying?” Try a bootcamp and you decide.).
- Your heart rate will be around 80-90% when you’re at your lactate threshold.
- Females can typically sustain this level for a max of 20-60 minutes
- Males can sustain this level for a max of 30-60 minutes
Why do Lactate Threshold Training?
Some (Cat) say this training style is fun, while others (Bethany) may question her definition of “fun.” In either case, fun isn’t one of the main drivers, but for you it may be an added benefit. You should do lactate threshold training to:
- Increase your fitness level and improve performance. Through this training, you will be able to sustain a higher fitness level for a longer period of time.
- Decrease your resting heart rate/Strengthen your heart and cardiovascular system. A typical resting heart rate ranges from about 50-100 BPM (you can look online for simple ways to calculate your resting HR). A lower resting heart rate means your heart is strong and can pump your blood around really efficiently. Lactate threshold training can make a significant impact. For instance, when Cat started Spinning, her resting heart rate was around 60 BPM, and now it’s 36!
How to do Lactate Threshold Training?
Lucky for us, this training is rather simple (you know it – not easy!), doesn’t require a special type of workout plan, and while you may hear it referenced most often in running, it can be done for all fitness modalities. All you need to do is:
- Push it. You’re not going to hit that threshold on a leisurely walk around the block. You’ve gotta work hard.
- Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Remember what we said up above? Tingly, heavy muscles, about to throw up? Get used to that, and be ok with that effort.
- Follow the 80/80 rule: When you’re exercising, work at an 80-90% effort for 80% of the time. You should only drop below an 8 out of 10 exertion level for warm-up, cool-down, and maybe some short recovery periods.
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