Individual anaerobic threshold and maximum lactate steady state

A. Urhausen*, B. Coen, B. Weiler, W. Kindermann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

170 Citations (Scopus)


The individual anaerobic threshold (IAT) is determined by using the blood lactate-performance relationship during incremental graded exercise and the immediately following recovery phase. The aim of the study was to investigate the validity of the IAT as a measure for the maximum lactate steady state (max Lass) and the monitoring of endurance training. Sixteen endurance trained athletes (V̇O2max 60.2 ± 5.0 ml·min-1·kg-1) performed a stepwise increasing test until exhaustion on a cycle ergometer (CE) (increasing by 50 W every 3 min), 14 endurance trained athletes (V̇O2max 64.9 ± 3.8 ml·min-1·kg-1) performed the multistage steptest on a treadmill (TM) (increasing by 0.5 m·s-1 every 3 min) to determine the IAT and the 4 mmol·I-1 La-threshold (AT). Afterwards endurance tests (E) limited to 30 min (CE) or 45 min (TM) were performed with intensities of 85, 95, 100 and 105% of the IAT (E85-E105) and with 100% of the AT (AT100) (only on CE) in a randomized order each on different days. Lass was present without premature break-off during E85 (in 30 out of 30 cases), E95 (30/30 cases) and E100 (26/30 cases). At E105 and AT100 (104 ± 7% of IAT) mean La increased continuously and/or led to a premature break-off(in 15/30 cases). All subjects with an AT below their IAT were in Lass during AT100. We conclude that the IAT can be regarded as a reliable estimation of the range of max Lass, although 100% of IAT does not necessarily represent exactly the max Lass in all individuals. Workloads below and at IAT usually are in Lass. An intensity of 95% of IAT seems to be advisable for high intensity endurance training, an intensity of 80-90% of IAT can be recommended for low intensity endurance training.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-139
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Endurance exercise
  • Individual anaerobic threshold
  • Lactate steady state


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