Lactate level review against rule of thumb. Two case studies.

Almost everyone who does endurance sports has heard of them, the rule of thumb for determining the maximum heart rate (HFmax). The simplest formula is: 220 minus age = HFmax. The following 2 examples show how inaccurate these (and all other) formulas are.

Because not only age has an influence on our heart rate zones. Many studies prove that body constitution, gender, body weight, heart size (including genetic factors), general and current training condition, living conditions etc. have a significant influence on our heart rate. The following examples of two lactate level tests show how different and unique we humans are and that we all need endurance training tailored to our possibilities and needs. Exactly this is what a lactate level review or a spiroergometry.

 

Lactate level review of a woman, 35 years old:

Below is a list of the heart rates for the individual stress zones of the woman according to the rule of thumb “220 minus age” and carvone formula (test date 2009).

range HF by rule of thumb HF according to carvon formula
Recom < 93 < 125
GA1 93 – 111 125 – 135
GA2 111 – 130 135 – 149
EB 130 – 148 149 – 161
SB 148 – 167 > 161

 

Below you can see the performance chart of the woman determined on the basis of a lactate level test. Then the determined heart rates for the individual training areas/stress zones and finally the individual threshold values including the individual anaerobic threshold (IANS).

 

Woman’s heart rates calculated from her lactate level test

Designation/HF zones Recom GA1 GA2 EB SB
lactate [mmol/l] < 1,9 1.9 – 2.4 2.4 – 3.0 3.0 – 5.4 > 5.4
Heart rate [rpm] < 146 146 – 156 156 – 168 168 – 181 > 181
Power [Watt] < 113 113 – 129 129 – 145 145 – 177 > 177
Performance/Weight [watt/kg] < 1,3 1.3 – 1.5 1.5 – 1.7 1.7 – 2.1 > 2.1
Energy consumption [kcal/h] < 472 472 – 539 539 – 606 606 – 741 > 741

Woman’s thresholds calculated from her lactate level test

AS PWC 130 PWC 150 IAS V4 Max
lactate [mmol/l] 2.0 1.6 2.1 1.7 4.0 7.1
Heart rate [rpm] 147 130 150 138 176 188
Power [Watt] 115 90 120 100 161 200
Performance/Weight [watt/kg] 1.4 1,1 1,1 1.2 1.9 2.4
Energy consumption [kcal/h] 481 376 502 419 674 836
VO2rel (forecast) [ml/min/kg] 19.0 14.7 18.7 16.1 24.2 29.3
max. power [%] 57.5 45.0 60.0 50.1 80.6 100.0

Comparing heart rates Rule of thumb – lactate step test

Below is a table of stress zones with the heart rate zones according to the rule of thumb 220 minus age, carvon formula and lactate level test.

range HF by rule of thumb 220 minus age HF according to carvon formula HF after lactate step test
Recom < 93 < 125 < 146
GA1 93 – 111 125 – 135 146 – 156
GA2 111 – 130 135 – 149 156 – 168
EB 130 – 148 149 – 161 168 – 181
SB > 148 – 167 > 161 > 181

For an optimal fat burning the woman should train – according to the rule of thumb – with 93-111 HF. A lactate level test shows that the woman is not only important for an optimal fat burning must jog with 148-157 HF.

The lactate step test showed that women are among the so-called “high pulse endings” people. Here the rule of thumb fails completely. The woman has never trained with the rule of thumb in her personal target zone. The intensity was much too low. Thus the desired success failed and the motivation remained on the distance. Although the carvon formula was much closer to the results of the lactate level test, the intensity was also too low.

Man jogging in nature

Lactate level review of a man, 48 years old:

Below is a tabular list of heart rates for the individual stress zones of the man according to the rule of thumb “220 minus age” and carvon formula (test date 2009).

range HF by rule of thumb HF according to carvon formula
Recom to 88 < 126
GA1 88 to 105 126 – 140
GA2 105 to 122 140 – 153
EB 122 to 148 153 – 167
SB 148 to 158 > 167

 

In the following you see the performance chart of the man determined on the basis of a lactate level test. Then the determined heart rates for the individual training areas/load zones and finally the individual threshold values including the individual anaerobic threshold (IANS).

 

Heart rates of the man, calculated from his lactate level test

Designation/HF zones Recom GA1 GA2 EB SB
lactate [mmol/l] < 1,4 1.4 – 1.7 1.7 – 2.1 2.1 – 4.1 >4,1
Heart rate [rpm] < 95 95 – 108 108 – 116 116 – 129 > 129
Power [Watt] < 133 133 – 153 152 – 171 171 – 209 > 209
Performance/Weight [watt/kg] < 1,6 1.6 – 1.8 1.8 – 2.0 2.0 – 2.5 > 2.5
Energy consumption [kcal/h] < 557 557 – 637 637 – 716 716 – 875 > 875

Thresholds of the man, calculated from his lactate level review

AS ANS PWC 130 PWC 150 IAS IANS Max
lactate [mmol/l] 2.0 4.0 4.3 8.2 1.4 2.9 10.0
Heart rate [rpm] 115 129 130 150 93 120 156
Power [Watt] 167 208 211 242 130 190 250
Performance/Weight [watt/kg] 2.0 2.5 2.5 2.9 1.5 2.2 2.9
Energy consumption [kcal/h] 697 871 884 1011 545 796 1045
VO2rel (forecast) [ml/min/kg] 24.7 30.2 30.6 34.7 19.9 27.9 35.7
max. power [%] 66.7 83.3 84.6 96.7 52.1 76.1 100.0

Comparing heart rates Rule of thumb – lactate step review

Below is a table of stress zones with heart rate zones according to 220 minus age, carvone formula and lactate level test.

range HF by rule of thumb 220 minus age HF according to carvon formula HF after lactate step test
Recom < 103 < 126 < 95
GA1 103 – 120 126 – 140 95 – 108
GA2 120 – 122 140 – 153 108 – 116
EB 122 – 138 153 – 167 116 – 129
SB > 155 > 167 > 129

Here the lactate level review determined a significantly lower heart rate in all training areas/stress zones than calculated by both formulas. In the long run, the man will overload his cardiovascular system, the risk of damage to health increases, the training effect is nullified by too much stress.

The lactate level review showed that men were among the so-called “low pulse ” people. The lactate level test has helped this man to understand that his personal RF ranges are lower than calculated by the rule of thumb.

This post is also available in: German

William C. Hilberg
As an author, Mr. Hilberg has published several papers on health issues that have gained international recognition. He is close to nature and loves the seclusion and activity as a freelance journalist. In his function as editor William C. Hilberg manages the entire content of PENP. Our team greatly appreciates his expertise and is proud to have him on board.