Lactate Threshold Tests

FTP Test

Why do it?

  • Optimise training to achieve your goals and remove junk miles
  • Accurately predict your racing speeds 
  • Remove guesswork from program design
  • Increase tolerance to lactic acid
  • Learn personalised training heart rate and power values
 
A functional threshold power test will give you a good indication of the power output a cyclist can sustain for one hour, which is essentially the lactate threshold.

Lactate Test

A Lactate test is more accurate and a small pin prick of blood is taken to establish the power level that an individual starts producing lactic acid (or the first ramp) the test progressively gets harder until the second ramp is established. This would appear as a sharp spike in lactate and is the point that so much lactate has been accumulated it stops the individual from being able to continue any futher. This then identenifys the best training zones to train in to increase an individuals tolerance to lactic acid.

The Common Error

Most people when completing interval training perform anaerobic intervals without realising they are doing so. Therefore their training may not be as effective as it could be to achieve the best results.
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Example

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The Results speak for themselves

Following our program and training in the correct zones, experienced triathletes have smashed one whole hour off the bike for an ironman at the same venue in the following season, so clearly goal posts can move!
 
How the test is performed

After a thorough warm up, power is progressively increased and a measure of blood lactate is taken at the end of each interval until exhaustion.

Interpreting The Results

Typically there are two ramps. The first ramp is where there is an increase in lactic acid. This determines the power output where an individual starts to work in zone 4. The second ramp is the point where the individual changes from zone 5 to zone 6, or becomes anaerobic. Whilst training in zone 6 has benefits, if you want your body to tolerate more lactic acid, you need to be able to accurately pinpoint the power output where you are working in your sweet spot between zone 4 and zone 5.

Why heart rate alone is not good enough

In a test involving two cyclists, John producesd considerably more lactic acid than Matt for the same percentage heart rate, even though they are the same age. This is because heart rate training uses a theoretical formulae.
If they were both to work to the same heart rate intensity, let's say 70% of maximum heart rate John would have fatigued prematurely, whilst Matt would not have achieved his true potential.