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New On-Water Test for the Assessment of Blood Lactate Response to Exercise in Elite Kayakers


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: December 2019 - Volume 51 - Issue 12 - p 2595–2602
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000002077

Purpose Lactate thresholds are physiological parameters used to train athletes and monitor performance or training. Currently, the assessment of lactate thresholds in kayakers is performed in a laboratory setting utilizing specific ergometers; however, laboratory tests differ from on-water evaluation for several reasons. The aim of this study was to assess reliability and validity of a new on-water incremental test for the assessment of blood lactate response to exercise in flat-water kayakers. Maximal lactate steady state test (MLSS) was used as criterion measurement.

Methods Eleven junior (16.5 ± 1.9 yr) élite flat-water kayakers performed: i) an incremental cardiopulmonary test up to voluntary exhaustion on a stationary kayak ergometer to determine peak oxygen uptake; ii) an on-water 1000‐m distance trial (T1000) to record best performance time and average speed (S1000); iii) two repetitions of on-water incremental kayaking test (WIK test); iv) several repetitions of on-water constant speed tests to determine MLSS. Speed, HR, and blood lactate concentrations were determined during on-water tests.

Results The best performance time in T1000 was 262 ± 13 s, corresponding to an S1000 of 3.82 ± 0.19 m·s−1. Lactate threshold determined by modified Dmax method (LTDmod) during WIK test was 2.78 ± 1.02 mmol·L−1 and the corresponding speed (SLT) was 3.34 ± 0.16 m·s−1. Test–retest reliability, calculated on SLT, was strong (ICC = 0.95 and r = 0.93). MLSS test corresponded to 3.06 ± 0.68 mmol·L−1 and was reached at a speed (SMLSS) of 3.36 ± 0.14 m·s−1. Correlation coefficient between SLT and SMLSS was 0.90 (P = 0.0001). Interestingly, a significant correlation (r = 0.96, P < 0.0001) was observed between SLT and S1000.

Conclusions The WIK test showed good reliability and validity for the assessment of speed corresponding to LTDmod in flat-water kayakers and it could be a useful tool to monitor athletic performance. The speed value at LTDmod nicely predicted performance on 1000 m.

1Institute of Biomedical Technologies, National Research Council, Segrate, ITALY

2Department of Medicine, University of Udine, Udine, ITALY

3Institute of Molecular Bioimaging and Physiology, National Research Council, Segrate, ITALY

4Department of Biomedical Science for Health, University of Milano, Milan, ITALY

5IRCCS Istituto Ortopedico Galeazzi, Milan, ITALY

Address for correspondence: Simone Porcelli, M.D., Ph.D., Institute of Biomedical Technologies, National Research Council, Via Fratelli Cervi, 93-Segrate 20090, Milan, Italy; E-mail:

Submitted for publication March 2019.

Accepted for publication June 2019.

© 2019 American College of Sports Medicine