Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

Post-Exercise Blood Lactate Decline after Training in Competitive Cyclists and Triathletes

Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

Post-Exercise Blood Lactate Decline after Training in Competitive Cyclists and Triathletes

Article excerpt

Key words: relative decline, time trial, [VO.sub.2]max, [VO.sub.2]lactate threshold

The measurement of maximal aerobic capacity ([VO.sub.2]max) is considered one of the best methods to estimate endurance performance. However, other investigators have suggested that the blood lactate response to submaximal exercise may also provide an index of endurance performance (Coyle et al., 1991; Yoshida et al., 1990). Specifically, the power output, oxygen uptake ([VO.sub.2]) and percentage of [VO.sub.2]max associated with the lactate threshold ([VO.sub.2]LT) have shown to be valid predictors of endurance performance. Endurance training lowers blood lactate concentrations during submaximal exercise at both relative and absolute work rates (Hurley et al., 1984; Westgarth-Taylor et al., 1997). It has been suggested that the lower blood lactate concentrations seen with training may be due, in part, to a greater rate of removal (Donovan & Brooks, 1983; Donovan & Pagliassotti, 1989, 1990). Based on this evidence, it has been postulated that measuring postexercise blood lactate decline may also provide an index of training status and/or capacity for endurance exercise performance. This concept has recently gained popularity, as evidenced by coaches and athletes who use measures of postexercise blood lactate to evaluate fitness and progress in endurance training programs. Despite this increase in popularity, conclusive evidence has yet to be presented regarding the use of postexercise blood lactate measures as an index of training status.

The rate of postexercise blood lactate decline has become more pronounced after training in runners when compared to that of untrained individuals during passive recovery (Bonen & Belcastro, 1976). In contrast, other studies have concluded that endurance training had no effect on postexercise blood lactate decline (Bassett, Merrill, Nagle, Agre, & Sampedro, 1991; Evans & Cureton, 1983; Mayes, Hardman, & Williams, 1987). While the measures of the blood lactate response to submaximal exercise have been established as valid indexes of the capacity for aerobic endurance performance, these tests may not always be practical and facilities for testing may not be available. However, measuring postexercise blood lactate decline has become relatively less complicated due to the advent of hand-held blood lactate analyzers. Therefore, the purposes of this investigation were to: (a) determine the effect of a self-implemented cycle training program on measures of postexercise blood lactate decline after training and (b) examine relationships between measures of postexercise blood lactate decline and time trial performance in a group of competitive cyclists and triathletes.

Method

Participants

Eight male athletes (2 age-group triathletes and 6 category II-III cyclists) were tested prior to and again during the peaking phase of their individually self-implemented training regimens. Pre- and posttraining participant characteristics are presented in Table 1. All human research participants provided written informed consent and a medical history prior to participating in this investigation. The University of Southern Mississippi's Institutional Review Board for Human Subject Experimentation approved all experimental procedures. All experimental trials were conducted in the Laboratory of Applied Physiology at The University of Southern Mississippi.

Training Regimen

The period of concern to this investigation was from the onset of training in January through the peak of the participants' competitive season in June. There was a period of 18 weeks between pre- and posttraining testing. The participants trained without intervention from the investigators. Participants were encouraged to keep training journals so that their training regimens could be generally described. Qualitative analysis of the journals indicated several trends. Training during the initial phase of the training period was primarily low intensity and relatively low in duration compared to the other two phases. …

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