What does threshold mean?

What are aerobic and anaerobic thresholds?

What is the aerobic threshold?

The aerobic threshold is where the blood lactate level begins to rise. The aerobic fitness level of a person is determined by the individual heart rate at the aerobic threshold. The aerobic threshold can e.g. B. in a person with a low aerobic fitness at 60% of their maximum heart rate, while in a trained athlete it can be at 85% of the maximum heart rate.

A higher aerobic threshold allows you to train more intensely without increasing the lactate concentration. If you want to improve your aerobic threshold, train more at a lower intensity. Due to the increased number of capillaries and the improved fatty acid metabolism, you are able to intensify your training without increasing the lactate level so much that the lactate can no longer be broken down. In practice, this means that you can hold out longer even at higher intensity.

What is the Anaerobic Threshold?

Your anaerobic threshold is where you can maintain the highest training intensity over a longer period of time without the lactate concentration in your blood increasing significantly. If you exceed your anaerobic threshold, your anaerobic metabolism is stimulated and lactate begins to accumulate in the blood. This leads to muscle hardening.

By developing it upwards, you can improve your anaerobic threshold as well as your aerobic threshold. This means that you mainly train slightly below the threshold and cross it every now and then. As your anaerobic threshold increases, you can train more intensely without lactate hardening your muscles.

How to determine your individual thresholds

There are several ways to determine your anaerobic and aerobic thresholds. One of the most common methods is a training test, in which the intensity is increased step by step while blood samples are taken from the finger to measure the change in the lactate concentration in your blood. Therefore, the aerobic and anaerobic thresholds are often referred to as the lactate thresholds (lower and upper LT or LT1 and LT2).

If the lactate level in the blood increases, this leads to increased breathing and CO2 production, so that your anaerobic threshold can also be determined on the basis of your breathing and the breathing gases. In practice, this means that you wear a mask during the test that measures the oxygen uptake and the CO2 content when you exhale. These thresholds can also be referred to as ventilatory thresholds (VT1 and VT2).