After all what is the anaerobic threshold?
All cyclists should know their anaerobic threshold, even amateurs, and only then can plan their cycling season with accuracy. But what is the anaerobic threshold? The anaerobic threshold is no more than an exercise intensity from which blood lactate concentrations will rise exponentially. When this stress intensity is exceeded there is an accumulation of lactate which causes fatigue more quickly. Below we differentiate the aerobic threshold (AL) and the anaerobic threshold (ANL).
Aerobic Threshold (AL)
It is a zone of low intensity, which comprises about 70% of the maximum heart rate. We produce energy with the presence of oxygen in the metabolic processes and without accumulation of lactic acid, organic chemical residue that is associated with fatigue and coming from the metabolism of muscle glycogen to produce energy during physical exertion.
At this level of intensity, however, the small amount of lactate generated is reused by the body and therefore does not interfere with performance during exercise. Work in this physiological zone is an important foundation of training, usually performed in the base period, at the beginning of the cycling season. At this level of intensity we can cycle for hours.
Anaerobic Threshold (ANL)
When the intensity of training increases, the body starts to generate a greater amount of lactate than it can absorb. The ANL is the limit of the balance between the production and removal of this byproduct of the exercise. More experienced cyclists can handle this intensity for about 1 hour. Above this threshold there is an imbalance and consequent accumulation of lactate in the body, which contributes to muscle fatigue.
And what is the importance of identifying the anaerobic threshold? Mainly for determining the level of effort that the athlete can maintain without breaking, a key parameter for performing high intensity workouts, such as intervals. In addition, training in the ANL allows an increase in cardiac output / volume, increased mitochondrial enzymes, increased blood supply and improved aerobic capacity (Vo2max).
An amateur cyclist must train the anaerobic power (or short duration resistance) at least once a week. Short series of 20 seconds to 2 minutes should be used with longer recovery intervals at twice the time of the series.