Blood Lactate Testing

This testing service is suspended due to the COVID-19 virus

but testing will resume when appropriate to do so.

Steve can provide blood lactate testing at his home lab/gym or on local roads along with a follow-up consultation on training methods and nutrition for his athletes, but also for self-coached athletes who do not require full coached services. 

Blood lactate testing gives an understanding of your body's physiology, which in turn allows for the training prescription to be scientifically focused to achieve your goals and objectives faster and more effectively.

 

What is Blood Lactate testing?

For cyclists, this involves various testing protocols that are carried out on a turbo or out on the roads in conjunction with testing a series of pinpricks of blood from the rider’s finger or earlobe. These drops of blood are then tested using a portable blood lactate tester to give instant results.

 

What does a Blood Lactate test involve?

Submaximal and maximal bike tests carried out on the rider's own bike, ideally with their power meter.

(or Steves test rig bike can be used if you don't have a power meter)

For runners and triathletes, testing can be carried out on a local 400m running track.

 

Why is Lactate Testing so useful?

Lactate testing is beneficial because:

  • It provides a profile of aerobic and anaerobic conditioning levels that indicates the type of training to prescribe.

  • Test results over time track changes in this profile. 

  • It indicates the precise training intensities and volume that an athlete can withstand to increase aerobic capacity.

  • It provides an ongoing check on the training of the athlete to ensure that the workouts are within the desired intensity range. 

 

Lactate Testing Measures both the Aerobic and Anaerobic Systems

  • Lactate is produced by the anaerobic energy system (also called the glycolytic system).

  • Lactate is consumed by the aerobic system.

  • This testing will, therefore, measure the development of each energy system.

  • It provides information on the rider’s physiological profile and how efficient they are at burning fats and carbohydrates.

  • It also provides insights to the strength of the anaerobic system and how it compares to the aerobic system by measuring the riders VLamax (see paragraph below for an explanation of this)

Fig-1    The above chart is a representation of how blood lactate dynamics are hugely varied in different types of cyclists from novice to a world tour rider.

 

  • Approximately 4 mmol.L¯¹ of blood lactate in most cyclists (but not all), is the amount of lactate in the blood that can be sustained at our Functional Threshold Power (or maximum lactate steady state MLSS).

  • For some athletes the key to unlocking performance improvements is to increase the aerobic engine, and a great way of doing that is by training at sub-maximal intensities around the 2 mmol.L¯¹ of blood lactate level.

  • Go above this blood lactate level and more recovery from the session is required, and so less endurance training can be carried out in a sustainable way.

  • Going above a blood lactate level of 4 mmol.L¯¹ of blood lactate burns carbohydrates as the primary fuel. At this level even more recovery time is required, and burn out of the athlete can occur.

In masters athletes, I see a compromised ability to burn fat and increased amounts of fat around the waist.    This can be due, at least in part to an excess of training above the 4 mmol.L¯¹ of blood lactate and not enough below this level.  

The good news is that all of the above conditions can be reversed with appropriate training and correct nutritional interventions, read about nutrition coaching HERE and my blog post on HERE for more information. 

 

What is VLAmax?

  • VLamax is the maximum production rate of lactate in or by your muscles.

  • This is one of the blood lactate tests carried out and is a good way to measure athletes anaerobic power.

  • Identifying an athletes VLamax is vital to enable the correct choice of training to achieve specific goals and objectives faster and more effectively.

Here is a link to a page on INSCYD, a website developed by Sebastian Weber who has been the head coach in professional cycling teams of the highest ranks for more than 10 years.  The methods he applied to his coaching helped and which helped his athletes to win numerous victories at the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, the Vuelta, multiple World Championships and Olympic medals.  The importance of VLamax video

Read Steves blog post for more details (INSERT LINK).