Ask the Expert: Lactate Threshold Resources Needed

ICA member Cheryl asked about supporting documentation to understand why maximum heart rate zones are not advised and more information on lactate threshold zones and training. Apparently she has a doctor and some “scientific types” in her class. Here is everything you ever wanted to know about LT and why it should replace MHR zones! Be prepared…your summer educational reading material is all right here. ICA member Cheryl has an interesting situation with some riders in her classes questioning her use of LT-based zones and moving away from maximum heart rate zones. She sent me this inquiry:

Hi Jennifer
I wanted to ask if there is specific scientific evidence that concludes that lactate threshold is a better indicator of fitness and therefore better used in spin classes rather than max heart rate. I have doctors in my classes as well as other research types that are not sold on this new way of thinking and therefore not sold on the concept. Scientific studies or whatever you base your discussions on lactate threshold

She also clarified that among her students is a gastro doctor and a few scientific type folks who ask for references for everything she presents to them.

This is an interesting conundrum because doctors are supposed to know it all, right? Or are they? I’ve had this discussion with many of my fellow trainers, and even some doctors and medical students I know. The general consensus is that doctors treat illness, and most of them specialize in one aspect of illness. Most (not all of course) have very little education in wellness, fitness, and training, unless they happen to be into that sort of thing for themselves or are athletic doctors. Even within the field of exercise physiology, you will find that some physiologists are very specialized, and that if it isn’t in their area of expertise, then they won’t know as much about other aspects of exercise physiology.

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