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Performance Testing
VO2 Max and Lactate Testing

Are you training with all the facts?
A finely tuned and planned training program is a key element in maximizing your training time and improving performance. One of the most important parts of a structured training plan is to train at the correct intensity. Using a heart rate monitor or a cycling power meter are both excellent methods to monitor intensity during workouts and races.

When using intensity monitoring devices it is crucial to establish training zones based around your lactate threshold (LT). Sports Science research has shown that using lactate threshold to establish training zones is the most precise way to set up training zones.

There are different methods of determining training zones including various standardized formulas and field testing methods. Standardized formulas vary widely from person to person and are virtually useless for our purposes. TriSmart has always used field testing to determine Lactate Threshold which is much more accurate than using standardized formulas. However, these tests require very strenuous efforts. In our experience most athletes don’t like doing the tests and therefore are reluctant to do the field tests as often as required. As a result they are probably training at the wrong intensity some of the time. This is counterproductive to efficient training.

Lab testing of ventilatory threshold (VT), or LT is the most accurate, fastest and least strenuous method for establishing zones and until recently was only available for elite athletes or through University performance labs.

This type of testing is often referred to as metabolic testing, VO2 max testing, or lactate threshold testing. Now it is available for the amateur athlete!

Peak VO2 Max Testing
This exercise test which helps maximize performance is routinely done on Olympic and professional athletes. VO2 max testing used to be costly and time consuming. Cutting edge technology has now made this testing less costly and available to the average person.

The cardiovascular system's ability to utilize oxygen can be measured by the volume of oxygen you consume while exercising at your maximum capacity. VO2 max is the maximum amount of oxygen in milliliters, one can use in one minute per kilogram of body weight.

In short, your Peak VO2 Max tells us how big of an “engine” you currently possess.

Lactate Threshold Testing
While VO2 Max is important to know as it gives you a comparison to other people, the real value in metabolic testing is in determining the point in which your body relies less on fat as the primary energy source and begins to use carbohydrates as the key energy source. We use Ventilatory Threshold (VT) to approximate Lactate Threshold (LT).

How are VO2 max and Lactate threshold tests performed? You can either run on a treadmill or use a bicycle ergometer (like a computrainer) on a set protocol, which increases in speed and/or gradient. This testing process usually lasts around 7 - 12 minutes depending on the individual. The athlete wears a mask with sensors and a heart rate monitor attached to a metabolic analyzer so that respiration and heart rate can be measured as exercise intensity increases.

For multisport athletes it is highly recommended to test both cycling and running as heart rate training zones are different for each sport. Usually running heart rates are slightly higher than biking, but this is not always the case.

The testing helps determine the best training program for improvement. It can also help determine what type of “engine” you have and how to improve your weaknesses. This is particularly useful. The field tests only help to establish training zones, but give no information about potential and areas of weakness. The VO2 tests describe the type of athlete and can really help focus training appropriately. Finally, it is the best way to monitor your fitness levels and your progress in a scientific and objective manor.

What do you get from TriSmart Performance Testing? A detailed and highly accurate report of the status of your cardiovascular fitness, as well as your training zones will be compiled after the test. This data is most useful for 2-3 months as LT will change in relation to heart rate as fitness increases or decreases.

VO2 Max testing for running and cycling:

  • Peak Vo2 max. This is in essence the size of your “engine.” We can measure how big it is and with repeated testing whether the engine is responding to training.
  • Lactate Threshold (LT). Instead of doing the more painful field test, we can find your LT more accurately in 10 minutes. We can then set your heart rate zones properly. Because testing is so easy, we can update HR zones more regularly to ensure that you are training in the proper zones. Also, the data created by the test is useful for assessing strengths and weaknesses, something we can’t learn from the field testing.
  • VO2max/LT. By analyzing this ratio, we can customize your workouts to maximize your performance. It will tell us if you need more Base building, Threshold work, VO2 work or more focus on technique. We can not learn this through the field testing.
  • Pace or Power/LT. This is perhaps the most important metric to measure and track. Basically it shows whether or not your race pace or power is responding to training.
Please contact us for more details at jennifer@TriSmartUSA.com. We look forward to training with you!

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