The lactate level test is one of the most important measuring methods for determining endurance capacity and is used for optimal training planning. Due to the relatively high effort the lactate level test is almost exclusively used in performance-oriented sports. The test is used for individual training plans by determining the values of aerobic and anaerobic endurance capabilities.
These values provide information about training intensity. The lactate level test is carried out on a treadmill, bicycle ergometer, rower ergometer or field test. As a rule, the loads are increased between 4 and 6 levels.
Trained endurance athletes increase the speed by 0.25m/s, sprinters up to 0.5m/s per step. In a lactate level test, the lactate values and heart rate are determined at different forms of exercise. The training load is increased continuously and evenly at preset intervals.
The lactate value and heart rate are precisely recorded at each load level. A lactate performance curve shows the load intensities at the aerobic and anaerobic threshold. Since the individual anaerobic threshold is the best unit for training control, athletes know through the test the exact intensity to be applied during training.
Aerobic endurance is the amount of power that the human organism can muster without the lactate (salt of lactic acid). The aerobic threshold is about 2mmol/L. It defines the load state, in which the required energy is completely covered by the aerobic metabolism.
The anaerobic endurance is the amount of power the human organism can produce under accumulation of lactate. This lactate accumulates in the muscle cells. The anaerobic threshold is about 4mmol/L.
The required energy is controlled by aerobic and anaerobic processes. The accumulating lactate is eliminated, so that the value levels off around 4 mmol/l. The athlete completes a warm-up program either on the training device or off-road.
The lactate level test starts with a fixed light intensity, every 5 minutes the intensity is increased by a certain value. This is particularly easy to control on a bicycle ergometer or treadmill. On the treadmill, a certain distance must be covered in a certain time.
At the end of each exercise level, the lactate value and heart rate are recorded. The lactate is determined by taking blood from the earlobe. Since blood is used, special hygiene is required. At the end of the test, the lactate values are entered in a coordinate system (see below) and the lactate curve is obtained. In a field test, the steps are divided into intervals (e.g., 6x 400m) with increasing walking speed.