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A Time-Saving Method to Assess Power Output at Lactate Threshold in Well-Trained and Elite Cyclists

Støren, Øyvind1; Rønnestad, Bent R.2; Sunde, Arnstein1; Hansen, Joar2; Ellefsen, Stian2; Helgerud, Jan1,3,4

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: March 2014 - Volume 28 - Issue 3 - p 622–629
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3182a73e70
Original Research

Støren, Ø, Rønnestad, BR, Sunde, A, Hansen, J, Ellefsen, S, and Helgerud, J. A time-saving method to assess power output at lactate threshold in well-trained and elite cyclists. J Strength Cond Res 28(3): 622–629, 2014—The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between lactate threshold (LT) as a percentage of maximal oxygen consumption (V[Combining Dot Above]O2max) and power output at LT (LTW) and also to investigate to what extent V[Combining Dot Above]O2max, oxygen cost of cycling (CC), and maximal aerobic power (MAP) determine LTW in cycling to develop a new time-saving model for testing LTW. To do this, 108 male competitive cyclists with an average V[Combining Dot Above]O2max of 65.2 ± 7.4 ml·kg−1·min−1 and an average LTW of 274 ± 43 W were tested for V[Combining Dot Above]O2max, LT %V[Combining Dot Above]O2max, LTW, MAP, and CC on a test ergometer cycle. The product of MAP and individual LT in %V[Combining Dot Above]O2max was found to be a good determinant of LTW (R = 0.98, p < 0.0001). However, LT in %V[Combining Dot Above]O2max was found to be a poor determinant of LTW (R = 0.39, p < 0.0001). Based on these findings, we have suggested a new time-saving method for calculating LTW in well-trained cyclists. The benefits from this model come both from tracking LTW during training interventions and from regularly assessing training status in competitive cyclists. Briefly, this method is based on the present findings that LTW depends on LT in %V[Combining Dot Above]O2max, V[Combining Dot Above]O2max, and CC and may after an initial test session reduce the time for the subsequent testing of LTW by as much as 50% without the need for blood samples.

1Department of Sport and Outdoor Life Studies, Telemark University College, Norway;

2Department of Sports Science, Lillehammer University College, Lillehammer, Norway;

3Faculty of Medicine, Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway; and

4Hokksund Medical Rehabilitation Center, Norway

Address correspondence to Øyvind Støren,

Copyright © 2014 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.