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).

rangeHF by rule of thumbHF according to carvon formula
Recom< 93< 125
GA193 – 111125 – 135
GA2111 – 130135 – 149
EB130 – 148149 – 161
SB148 – 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 zonesRecomGA1GA2EBSB
lactate [mmol/l]< 1,91.9 – 2.42.4 – 3.03.0 – 5.4> 5.4
Heart rate [rpm] < 146 146 – 156156 – 168 168 – 181> 181
Power [Watt]< 113113 – 129129 – 145145 – 177> 177
Performance/Weight [watt/kg]< 1,31.3 – 1.51.5 – 1.71.7 – 2.1> 2.1
Energy consumption [kcal/h]< 472472 – 539539 – 606606 – 741> 741

Woman’s thresholds calculated from her lactate level test

ASPWC 130PWC 150IASV4Max
lactate [mmol/l]2.01.62.11.74.07.1
Heart rate [rpm] 147130150138176188
Power [Watt]11590120100161200
Performance/Weight [watt/kg]1.41,11,11.21.92.4
Energy consumption [kcal/h]481376502419674836
VO2rel (forecast) [ml/min/kg]19.014.718.716.124.229.3
max. power [%]57.545.060.050.180.6100.0

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.

rangeHF by rule of thumb 220 minus ageHF according to carvon formulaHF after lactate step test
Recom< 93< 125< 146
GA193 – 111125 – 135146 – 156
GA2111 – 130135 – 149156 – 168
EB130 – 148149 – 161168 – 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).

rangeHF by rule of thumbHF according to carvon formula
Recomto 88< 126
GA188 to 105126 – 140
GA2105 to 122140 – 153
EB122 to 148153 – 167
SB148 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 zonesRecomGA1GA2EBSB
lactate [mmol/l]< 1,41.4 – 1.71.7 – 2.12.1 – 4.1>4,1
Heart rate [rpm] < 9595 – 108108 – 116116 – 129> 129
Power [Watt]< 133133 – 153152 – 171171 – 209> 209
Performance/Weight [watt/kg]< 1,61.6 – 1.81.8 – 2.02.0 – 2.5> 2.5
Energy consumption [kcal/h]< 557557 – 637637 – 716716 – 875> 875

Thresholds of the man, calculated from his lactate level review

ASANSPWC 130PWC 150IASIANSMax
lactate [mmol/l]2.04.04.38.21.42.910.0
Heart rate [rpm]11512913015093120156
Power [Watt]167208211242130190250
Performance/Weight [watt/kg]2.02.52.52.91.52.22.9
Energy consumption [kcal/h]69787188410115457961045
VO2rel (forecast) [ml/min/kg]24.730.230.634.719.927.935.7
max. power [%]66.783.384.696.752.176.1100.0

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.

rangeHF by rule of thumb 220 minus ageHF according to carvon formulaHF after lactate step test
Recom< 103< 126< 95
GA1103 – 120126 – 14095 – 108
GA2120 – 122140 – 153108 – 116
EB122 – 138153 – 167116 – 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.

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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.