So, I borrow friends…

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  • #9982

    …and get the following numbers at these HR’s…

    62 bpm = 0.7 mmol/l lactate
    90 bpm = 1.3
    100 bpm = 2.3
    110 bpm = 3.0
    125 bpm = 5.0
    Cool down 10 min later 90 bpm = 1.9

    Had taken 20 minutes slowly warming up initially and took my time to each higher HR and then stayed at/near each HR for five min steady before testing. Was doing deep knee bends and chin-ups to slowly tweak HR along to acquire and hold steady desired HR.

    I really thought this testing would have initially shown a string of low flat numbers till I’d gotten HR up higher, and then spiked, showing me then my aerobic threshold training HR to stay at or beneath. Instead, this curve both commences northward early and is hard to see where it ever really takes off any steeper, as it’s already steadily going up all the time.

    So, what do I make of these numbers, is it likely flawed testing protocol somehow on my part? I’d followed your guidelines at

    Or, that’s just how some untrained new peoples numbers and resultant HR/lactate curves shake out?

    Seems like if numbers are correct, my aerobic conditioning really sucks worse than imagined and I might now need to stay well under even 100 bpm for quite awhile base building, to assure I’m not tripping the anaerobic lactate response prematurely.

    Any thoughts?

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    Anonymous on #9984

    First, good on ya for being curious and taking the time to do this.

    Second, yes, all of the above. Part of the test method (chin ups) is unusual, and for untrained people, lactate will climb quickly.

    Your warm-up and stage length are good. No need to change anything there. However, lactate values are sport-specific. (The same athlete will get different results for running, biking, hiking uphill, etc.) The more the sport movement patterns have in common, the more similar the values will be, but combining knee bends and chin-ups could lead to confusing results.

    Can you do the test again, but in constant, uniform motion between samples? If you’re a runner, do it running. If an alpine climber, do it hiking uphill.

    If you have a friend with a treadmill, that will be the most convenient and repeatable way to test. (Use it on an incline if necessary.) However, a treadmill in a public gym is probably a no-go; they’ll object to taking blood samples on their machines.

    If you do another test, once you get to that ~1.3 mark, start testing in 5-beat increments rather than ten. That way you can zero in on the ~2 mM mark. No need to go finer than 5-beat increments; it’s probably impossible to do accurately anyway. For example, in your first test, it would be good to know what lactate is at ~95 bpm.

    Once you have the data from your second test, you can plot it on a graph for future comparisons.

    If you get similar results to the first test, then yes, you’d be best served by staying under 100 bpm for now, probably even 95 bpm.

    Lastly, do you know your max heart rate? If not, what’s the highest heart rate you’ve previously recorded? In what context was it recorded (how hard for how long)?

    shane on #9985


    Thank you for the prompt and detailed response.

    Makes sense to be sport specific whenever you can, that’s why I thought my using deep knee bends (cause I do a lot daily and leg press 450 lbs) and chin-ups (as I also do daily, including half dozen reps with 55 lb waist weights) would be appropriate.

    However, improving those kind of lifts is not my goal with enhancing aerobic conditioning, so I probably should run tests now, and for future comparison to confirm improvement, for more exactly what I do want added endurance for. And, that’s specifically mountain hiking at brisk pace for long duration with 40 lb load on. So, I’ll look to putting that all together for next lactate HR testing.

    BTW, highest heart rate I hit regularly is just over 180 bpm briefly, when I do those heavy leg presses and weighted chin-ups. It’s a max effort to failure. HR averages 135-140 bpm over those 2 hour twice/week weightlifting workouts and same for less than a half hour on off days working out at home.

    Anonymous on #9986

    Okay, that’s good info.

    Do your next test hiking uphill, but without any additional weight. Adding a heavy pack changes the metabolic demands, and you want your test to reflect your base metabolism.

    A treadmill will be the most consistent, but you can do it outside if you prefer. If outside, choose terrain that is at a consistent angle of 25% (14 degrees) or less, whatever is the most similar terrain angle to your goal activity. (Steeper than 25% will change the demands similar to a heavy pack.)

    Let us know how it goes.

    rando_luke on #9988

    Shane, just wondering what did you eat prior to doing the lactate test (or did you perform it fasting), like say up to 24 hrs before? If you had sugars of any kind before doing so your body is likely to primarily metabolize those first, especially doing chin-ups and knee bends. I would be interested as well to see what it looks like when you do a hiking test uphill and if the HR/lactate rate corresponds more closely to an exponential curve than a straight line.

    shane on #9993

    I’d fasted 16 hours and previous meal was very low carb, higher protein, modest fats.

    lionfish90 on #10102

    Yes, I would think chin-ups and knee bends would be more anaerobic for the muscles involved, relying on fast-twitch fiber recruitment and preferentially producing lactate. Those kinds of contractions (strong, lots of recruitment) will also limit blood flow to the working muscles (by squeezing the vessels shut during the work), which will also make it more anaerobic work. The contractions also last a relatively long time (compared to, say, running), which will also limit the blood flow (and so oxygen supply) during the contraction (several seconds).

    Given that you are strong, it could take a lot of reps (relatively) to cause HR increases and to keep HR steady, which will also start to fatigue the fibers and so tend toward more lactate production. The blood flow needs of the working muscles might not be that high relative to total cardiac output, especially for chin-ups (because of the relatively limited muscle mass being used), so you could be sending those muscles into full-on anaerobic energy production without making big demands on your heart (HR) to supply blood. Meaning that it could take a LOT of work from those muscles (meaning a lot of lactate production) to get the heart rate to respond because you are not making large oxygen demands on the rest of the body, while asking the working muscles to do work that they can only do with a big anaerobic contribution. (So the HR might not reflect the anaerobic state of the working muscles.)

    What I don’t get is why the rest of the body could not sufficiently deal with the generated lactate, taking it up, using it, storing it. But I suppose it could be that without more work to the other muscles and the rest of the system, there is not much stimulus for the lactate to be cleared by other systems (other muscles and the heart, neither of which are working that hard and so don’t need the lactate as an energy supply).

    What is your breathing like at 110 or 125 bpm when using these movements to get the HR there? Are you easily nose-breathing, or are you breathing pretty hard (which would suggest oxygen debt and anaerobic work)? I don’t really know if it works that way when the debt is pretty local, such as just to pulling muscles in chins at a relatively low HR.

    Thanks for posting the data and description; interesting to think about.

    rando_luke on #10124

    Thanks Shane, I figured you had a controlled for fat adaptation, as a guess I would blame it on the type of exercises you did and try walking/hiking and see what values come up. As easy as unweighted knee bends and pullups are for you they’re still kind of unnatural compared to walking from a physiology perspective and therefor a little more taxing. But it could come up pretty much the same. It has me interested in possibly trying it out sometime and seeing what data I generate.

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