Today, we will not only post a workout of the week for you, but we’ll also talk a bit about lactate threshold. So first off, why do you care about fitness? Because it is a measure of health. It reduces your risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and more. It gives you function, climbing stairs is nothing, carrying kids up mountains is nothing, you simply do more. Period.
So lets get after it! Not to mention the value of greater bone density, greater growth hormone, more sensitive leptin receptors, etc, etc. Ok, Ok, I am moving on. So this thing about lactic acid, what is it? First off, if you have ever had someone tell you when you are sore, that it is all the lactic acid buildup in your cells, you can forgive them, they are wrong. Yep, sorry, wrong. But it’s ok, and you wil have a better appreciation for the truth when you read this.
Lactic acid builds up when you are working anaerobically, or beyond the ability of your body to deliver enough oxygen to tissues to fuel them, while removing lactate and carbon dioxide. Oxygen at high levels, provides oxidation of lactate, back to pyruvate. When the effort is anaerobic, then movement of the lactate back to the liver to be converted is necessary. So, what I am saying, is that the pain from exercise that comes from lactate, is actually the pain that happens DURING exercise, not after. Afterwards, you have DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness), which is linked moreso to the increase in histamines, prostaglandins, etc. These are the mechanisms of inflammation (if you haven’t had a chance to see my inflammation talk, and subsequent recommendation of Juice Plus, you should take that step).
So what is lactate threshold? The level at which you can no longer remove lactic acid at a rate fast enough, thus you are now moving towards complete muscular failure from exercise. When I say complete, I mean complete enough that exercise has to stop. The value of reaching this point is incredible, and again, this is why I promote high intensity. For example, sprint as hard as you possibly can, and plan on doing it for 100M. But then continue to 200M, and then right as you expect to stop you have a strong desire to go on, so you hit 400M. Now if this was done as prescribed, with no idea that the final distance was going to be 400M. One important thing will happen, which is that you will have run this distance as hard as you possibly could.
And you would have the taste of lactate threshold. As your legs became heavier and heavier, and you became worse and worse off. Dragging your legs along, hoping to keep picking your feet up, you are getting closer and closer to having nothing left. As you operate within this area, you push your VO2 Max, significantly. VO2 – the volume of oxygen that you can use, typically measured as a ml/kg/min of the oxygen compared to the weight of the person, per minute. The highest scores ever recorded are road cyclists and cross country skiers. What we know now though, is that you can take an average person, and put them into high intensity, and jump their scores up dramatically with short duration work.
So here is the short duration work for you!
5 minutes – As many times through this as possible
5 Burpees, 5 Push-ups, 5 sit-ups, 15 squats
So how do you do this stuff? Well, the resource at The Garage will help you find the descriptions of the movements. But the quick definitions are this:
Burpee – from standing to completely lying on the floor, back to standing with a jump and a clap of your hands over your head.
Push-up – from toes, or from knees. Full range is to go from chest on the ground, to completely extended arms (no bend).
Sit-ups – from shoulders on the ground, to completely perpendicular to the ground.
Squats – push your bottom back, as you sink your hips low, keeping weight on the heels, stand back up completely before moving on to the next rep.
Real simple – do this for five minute in sequence as fast as you can. You should be able to get at least 3 times through, and maybe even 5-6 for some of you. It will be intense, you will experience lactic acid threshold, and your lungs will be on fire. If not, you didn’t push hard enough.
Be well! - Dr. E