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Lactate Threshold and Performance Adaptations to 4 Weeks of Training in Untrained Swimmers: Volume Vs. Intensity

Soultanakis, Helen N; Mandaloufas, Markos F; Platanou, Theodoros I

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: January 2012 - Volume 26 - Issue 1 - p 131-137
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31821eb7bd
Original Research

Soultanakis, HN, Mandaloufas, MF, and Platanou, TI. Lactate threshold and performance adaptations to 4 weeks of training in untrained swimmers: volume vs. intensity. J Strength Cond Res 26(1): 131–137, 2012—The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of 4 weeks of high-intensity vs. high-volume swim training on lactate threshold (LT) characteristics and performance. Thirteen untrained swimmers with a mean age of 19.0 ± 0.5 undertook an incremental swimming test before and after 4 weeks of training for the determination of LT. Performance was evaluated by a 50-m maximum freestyle test. The swimmers were assigned to 1 of each of 2 training groups. The high-intensity group (n = 6) focused on sprint training (SP) and swam a total of 1,808 ± 210 m. The high-volume group (n = 7) followed the same program as the SP group but swam an additional 1,100 m (38% more) of endurance swimming (SP + End). A training effect was evident in both groups as seen by the similar improvements in sprint performance of the 50-m maximum time (p < 0.01), peak velocity increases and the lower value of lactate at the individual LTs (p < 0.01). Lactate threshold velocity improved only in the SP + End group from 1.20 ± 0.12 m·s−1 pretraining to 1.32 ± 0.12 m·s−1 posttraining (p = 0.77, effect size = 1, p < 0.01), expressed by the rightward shifts of the individual lactate-velocity curves, indicating an improvement in the aerobic capacity. Peak lactate and lactate concentrations at LT did not significantly change. In conclusion, this study was able to demonstrate that 4 weeks of either high-intensity or high-volume training was able to demonstrate similar improvements in swimming performance. In the case of lack of significant changes in lactate profiling in response to high-intensity training, we could suggest a dissociation between the 2.

Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, Aquatics Division, University of Athens, Athens, Greece

Address correspondence to Dr Helen N. Soultanakis,

Copyright © 2012 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.