Maximal lactate steady state (MLSS) presumably corresponds to the highest constant workload that can be performed by oxidative metabolism. The anaerobic and, to a minor extent, the oxidative metabolism have been reported to be affected by age. The second decade of life is the key period in the change in energy metabolism between children and adults. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of age on MLSS in 34 male subjects (age: 15.4 ± 2.8 yr, range: 11-20 yr; height: 171.8 ± 14.9 cm, range: 134-191 cm; body mass: 59.6 ± 15.5 kg, range: 27-90 kg) performing an incremental load test to determine maximal workload and several constant load tests for MLSS measurement on a cycle ergometer. MLSS (4.2 ± 0.7 mmol·l-1, range: 2.8 to 5.5 mmol·l-1) and MLSS intensity related to maximal workload (66.5 ± 7.7%, range: 50-84%) were independent of age. MLSS heart rate (180.1 ± 10.1 min-1, range: 156-208 min-1) decreased (P < 0.01) with increasing age, whereas absolute (157.2 ± 54.8 W, range: 65-240 W) and relative MLSS workload (2.6 ± 0.5 W·kg-1, range: 1.5 to 4.1 W·kg-1) and absolute (236.9 ± 79.0 W, range: 100-350 W) and relative maximal workload (3.9 ± 0.6 W·kg-1, range: 2.7 to 5.5 W·kg-1) increased (P < 0.001) with age. The age independence of MLSS supports the theory that neuromuscular factors may contribute to the frequently observed changes in response to given exercises with physical maturity more than changes in oxidative metabolism and/or glycolysis.
Department of Sports Medicine, Free University Berlin, 14195 Berlin, GERMANY; Department of Sports Medicine, Ruhr-University Bochum, 44780 Bochum, GERMANY; and Department of Sports Science, Humboldt-University Berlin, 13055 Berlin, GERMANY
Submitted for publication April 1996.
Accepted for publication August 1996.
Address for correspondence: Ralph Beneke, M. D., Ph.D., M.P.E., FACSM, Department of Sports Medicine, Free University Berlin, Clayallee 229, 14195 Berlin, Germany.