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  1. #1
    big ring MIN's Avatar
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    Does VO2Max increase imply LT increase?

    What is the relationship between VO2 Max and the LT? If - by way of progressive conditioning - I am able to increase my VO2 Max, does my LT move up as well? Is so, why is it the case that LT is generally described as a function of Max HR? (e.g. Max HR - X BPM.)

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    Isaias NoRacer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MIN
    What is the relationship between VO2 Max and the LT?
    VO2Max is the size of your engine and LT would be the governor on that engine.

    Quote Originally Posted by MIN
    If - by way of progressive conditioning - I am able to increase my VO2 Max, does my LT move up as well?
    VO2Max can only be increased within genetic bounds. Usually, after only a few years of progressive training an athlete will be at their genetic peak. This peak is degraded by age or detraining.

    LT is highly trainable and will always be some fraction of your VO2Max. Whether it increases with an increase in VO2Max--it would be nice to think so, but it probably depends.


    Quote Originally Posted by MIN
    Is so, why is it the case that LT is generally described as a function of Max HR? (e.g. Max HR - X BPM.)
    VO2Max coincideds with Max HR. Specifying physiological events using Max HR was just a simple way that the masses could calculate training ranges based on those physiological events. An even more precise method is to use the Karvonen Method (a.k.a., Heart Rate Reserve Method) and even more precise is to use percent of VO2Max--but you'd have to be tested to determine VO2Max and VO2Max is fleeting in it, once again, degrades with age or detraining.
    2009 mileage = 14,738 miles; 2010 mileage = 15,234 miles; 2011 mileage = 17,344 miles; 2012 mileage = 11,414 miles; 2013 = 12,169

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    big ring MIN's Avatar
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    Thanks for a thoughtful response.

    Based on your comment regarding VO2 Max being genetical bound into a range - if I can decrease my VO2 max by aging or "detraining," how much can I increase the VO2 Max? I assume there must be window for improvement (albeit constrained.)

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    Senior Member Snicklefritz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MIN
    Thanks for a thoughtful response.

    Based on your comment regarding VO2 Max being genetical bound into a range - if I can decrease my VO2 max by aging or "detraining," how much can I increase the VO2 Max? I assume there must be window for improvement (albeit constrained.)
    I think the degree of improvement is also genetic. There are probably articles on medline or other places where you could get info on studies that talk about this sort of thing. I don't know off the top of my head what is considered an average improvement.

    I agree with another post that LT is much more trainable. However, there is a genetic component to it as well. Some people have naturally high LT (meaning LT is a high percentage of Vo2max)...

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    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    It also depends on where you're starting from. A lot of people can probably double their VO2 Max.

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    Senior Member HDWound's Avatar
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    I was looking through this site earlier today. Other's who are more knowledgeable can comment on how accurate the statements are.

    http://www.pureendurance.net/v02_max

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    big ring MIN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waterrockets
    It also depends on where you're starting from. A lot of people can probably double their VO2 Max.
    Bingo. I'm thinking this is me in a nutshell. I've been training intensely (12 hours/week) for about one month. I quit smoking 3 months ago after being a smoker for 5 years.

    Prior to that I was racing road, CX and DH bikes. I am in good shape now and my anaerobic output is strong but I wonder how much better I could be - especially aerobically. My problem isn't genetics - it's the 5 years of smoking.

    I have seen amazing improvements materialize over the last few weeks based on my training - if I continue to train, can I be as aerobically fit as someone who has never smoked? I can already beat my group ride buddies when I hammer but I am looking at the Cat 2-type of horizon.

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    Dirt-riding heretic DrPete's Avatar
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    Don't forget that VO2Max and LT aren't the whole equation, as others have mentioned. IIRC, most of the stuff that talks about HR-based training says that with training your LT and VO2Max will go up to whatever your genetic limits end up being, but then plateau. What can still change, however, is your power output at LT and VO2Max, and that's where the money is. For instance, my LT HR is only 1 bpm higher than last year, but I can tell you I'm a much stronger rider than a year ago, so something in that equation is missing.

    As far as smoking goes, it's hard to say. Certainly quitting smoking and training effectively are good. You may never reach the same VO2Max or LT as you might have had you never smoked, but neither will we city folk who gulp smog for breakfast every morning. 5 years is a while, but not a lot. I have a feeling you'll still be able to perform just fine.
    "Unless he was racing there was no way he could match my speed."

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    Isaias NoRacer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrPete
    What can still change, however, is your power output at LT and VO2Max, and that's where the money is. For instance, my LT HR is only 1 bpm higher than last year, but I can tell you I'm a much stronger rider than a year ago, so something in that equation is missing.

    The part of the equation that hasn't been mentioned is the time course of training that causes physiological adaptations such as:
    • * Increased plasma volume
      * Increased muscle mitochondrial enzymes
      * Increased muscle glycogen storage
      * Hypertrophy of slow twitch muscle fibers
      * Increased muscle capillarization
      * Interconversion of fast twitch muscle fibers (type IIb -> type IIa)
      * Increased stroke volume/maximal cardiac output
      * Increased muscle high engergy phosphate (ATP/PCr) Stores
      * Increased anaerobic capacity ("lactate tolerance")
      * Hypertrophy of fast twitch fibers
      * Increased neuromuscular power

    **Reference http://www.cyclingpeakssoftware.com/power411/levels.asp [Table 2]

    And, the last and maybe most important item--the efficiency in which these adaptations are put to use.

    http://home.hia.no/~stephens/timecors.htm
    2009 mileage = 14,738 miles; 2010 mileage = 15,234 miles; 2011 mileage = 17,344 miles; 2012 mileage = 11,414 miles; 2013 = 12,169

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    big ring MIN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoRacer
    The part of the equation that hasn't been mentioned is the time course of training that causes physiological adaptations such as:
    • * Increased plasma volume
      * Increased muscle mitochondrial enzymes
      * Increased muscle glycogen storage
      * Hypertrophy of slow twitch muscle fibers
      * Increased muscle capillarization
      * Interconversion of fast twitch muscle fibers (type IIb -> type IIa)
      * Increased stroke volume/maximal cardiac output
      * Increased muscle high engergy phosphate (ATP/PCr) Stores
      * Increased anaerobic capacity ("lactate tolerance")
      * Hypertrophy of fast twitch fibers
      * Increased neuromuscular power
    **Reference http://www.cyclingpeakssoftware.com/power411/levels.asp [Table 2]

    And, the last and maybe most important item--the efficiency in which these adaptations are put to use.

    http://home.hia.no/~stephens/timecors.htm
    Wow - surprisingly that all makes sense to me. Just don't give me a pop quiz in the morning.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrPete
    ... most of the stuff that talks about HR-based training says that with training your LT and VO2Max will go up to whatever your genetic limits end up being, but then plateau. What can still change, however, is your power output at LT and VO2Max,...
    Since LT is defined as a power (corresponding to a particular blood lactate level), I'm not sure what you mean when you say LT plateaus but power at LT increases. Similarly, while VO2max is measured as a volume of O2, that too corresponds to a unique power so if VO2max plateaus, power at VO2max must too.

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    Dirt-riding heretic DrPete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by asgelle
    Since LT is defined as a power (corresponding to a particular blood lactate level), I'm not sure what you mean when you say LT plateaus but power at LT increases. Similarly, while VO2max is measured as a volume of O2, that too corresponds to a unique power so if VO2max plateaus, power at VO2max must too.
    Correction-- LT HR. I've just recently moved to the dark side.
    "Unless he was racing there was no way he could match my speed."

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrPete
    Correction-- LT HR. I've just recently moved to the dark side.
    But just to clarify, there is a genetic limit to VO2max and LT. VO2max is measured as a volume of O2, LT is a power. The fact that there is a heart rate that roughly corresponds to LT is fortuitous, but often heart rate observed at LT is offset up or down by external factors. There is no one-to-one correspondence at all between VO2max and heart rate

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    big ring MIN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by asgelle
    But just to clarify, there is a genetic limit to VO2max and LT. VO2max is measured as a volume of O2, LT is a power. The fact that there is a heart rate that roughly corresponds to LT is fortuitous, but often heart rate observed at LT is offset up or down by external factors. There is no one-to-one correspondence at all between VO2max and heart rate
    Considering the substantial range of V02 max readings for the population at large, and the fact that elite athletes are in the 70 to 80's, I think most of us who aren't in the pro peloton have a ways to go in improving our personal VO2 max reading.

    To imply that that we are bound by genetics is to imply that we are all at our peak physical condition.

    For my idiosyncratic case, I believe I have more room for improvement having recently quit smoking. (relative to you guys that have never smoked.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by MIN
    To imply that that we are bound by genetics is to imply that we are all at our peak physical condition.
    I can't see anything in what I wrote in this thread, much less the section quoted, where I implied that anyone was at her genetic limit.

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    big ring MIN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by asgelle
    I can't see anything in what I wrote in this thread, much less the section quoted, where I implied that anyone was at her genetic limit.

    Sorry - there were a couple of other instances. Quoted the wrong guy. I thought you made an insightful post...

  17. #17
    Isaias NoRacer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by asgelle
    But just to clarify, there is a genetic limit to VO2max and LT. VO2max is measured as a volume of O2, LT is a power. The fact that there is a heart rate that roughly corresponds to LT is fortuitous, but often heart rate observed at LT is offset up or down by external factors. There is no one-to-one correspondence at all between VO2max and heart rate
    LT is not a power:

    What is Lactate Threshold (LT)
    2009 mileage = 14,738 miles; 2010 mileage = 15,234 miles; 2011 mileage = 17,344 miles; 2012 mileage = 11,414 miles; 2013 = 12,169

  18. #18
    Isaias NoRacer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MIN
    Considering the substantial range of V02 max readings for the population at large, and the fact that elite athletes are in the 70 to 80's, I think most of us who aren't in the pro peloton have a ways to go in improving our personal VO2 max reading.

    To imply that that we are bound by genetics is to imply that we are all at our peak physical condition.

    For my idiosyncratic case, I believe I have more room for improvement having recently quit smoking. (relative to you guys that have never smoked.)
    Well, it doesn't work that way. We mere mortals can only hope to train our VO2Max to 70 ml/kg/m or higher, but the fact is we're probably not going to get much further than approximately 50 +/- 10 ml/kg/m due to our genetics no matter how hard we train. That's why it is more important for us to work on LT and efficiency.

    Here's an example of how LT -can- be better than a high VO2Max:

    Cyclist A - relative VO2Max is 80 ml/kg/m, but LT is 50% of VO2Max
    Cyclist B - relative VO2Max is 55 ml/kg/m, but LT is 85% of VO2Max
    Both cyclists are the same weight and have the same efficiency.

    So, who can work the longest without fatigue from lactic acid/hyrdrogen ion build-up?

    Of course this is oversimplified, but if you do the math:

    Cyclist A - 50% of 80 ml/kg/m = an LT of 40 ml/kg/m
    Cyclist B - 85% of 55 ml/kg/m = an LT of ~47 ml/kg/m (better than 40 ml/kg/m and likely would win the race between the two cyclists -if- the race is of the proper duration, because the shorter the duration, the better the chances are for Cyclist A.)

    Taking this a little further, if Cyclist A & B have to ride at 80% of there VO2Max to sustain a speed of 30 MPH, which athlete will fatigue first if they're doing a TT over 1 hour long? Well, Cyclist A will be working 30% above his LT, but Cyclist B will be under his LT of 85% of VO2Max. My money is on Cyclist B.
    Last edited by NoRacer; 04-10-07 at 05:27 AM.
    2009 mileage = 14,738 miles; 2010 mileage = 15,234 miles; 2011 mileage = 17,344 miles; 2012 mileage = 11,414 miles; 2013 = 12,169

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    big ring MIN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoRacer
    Cyclist A - relative VO2Max is 70, but LT is 50% of VO2Max
    Cyclist B - relative VO2Max is 55, but LT is 85% of VO2Max

    Both cyclists are the same weight and have the same efficiency.

    50% of 70 = an LT of 35% of VO2Max
    85% of 55 = an LT of ~47% of VO2Max
    In other words, you are describing a case with 2 riders: Rider (1) has a bigger engine. Rider (2) has a smaller engine but has a more efficient utilization of power.

    True or false? More conceptual illustrations would help me understand.

  20. #20
    Isaias NoRacer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MIN
    In other words, you are describing a case with 2 riders: Rider (1) has a bigger engine. Rider (2) has a smaller engine but has a more efficient utilization of power.

    True or false? More conceptual illustrations would help me understand.
    See the added stuff--apparently you caught me between edits.
    2009 mileage = 14,738 miles; 2010 mileage = 15,234 miles; 2011 mileage = 17,344 miles; 2012 mileage = 11,414 miles; 2013 = 12,169

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    big ring MIN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoRacer
    See the added stuff--apparently you caught me between edits.
    That was my selective editing of *your* quotes to get it down to the numbers.

    You description makes sense. It's the beauty of road cycling - every thing is measurable, whether it be directly or via a proxy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NoRacer
    From that reference, "Through a 6 stage test, we would expect to achieve a distribution of intensities that are below, at , and above the intensity where blood lactate begins to rise, or the lactate threshold. This point is often defined as a 1mM increase from baseline values."
    Intensity, for cycling applications, is power.

  23. #23
    Isaias NoRacer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by asgelle
    Intensity, for cycling applications, is power.
    Only for those who have [access to] a powermeter.
    2009 mileage = 14,738 miles; 2010 mileage = 15,234 miles; 2011 mileage = 17,344 miles; 2012 mileage = 11,414 miles; 2013 = 12,169

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    Quote Originally Posted by NoRacer
    Only for those who have [access to] a powermeter.
    No, that's the mistake many make. LT is defined as an intensity (power) that elicits a physiological response. That doesn't depend on whether someone has a powermeter, ergometer, or no instrumentation at all. A rider rides at an intensity that creates the required lactate concentration and she is at LT whether anyone is tracking it or not. How to determine LT is another matter. Determining LT requires some means of analyzing lactate concentration in the blood, controlling intensity, and measuring the intensity the rider is working at. This usually involves a blood analyzer and calibrated ergometer. Once LT intensity for an individual has been determined, there are many ways of measuring effort against LT intensity. The common ones are heart rate, power, and RPE though there are many more, but people shouldn't confuse measuring intensity relative to LT with measuring LT.

  25. #25
    Isaias NoRacer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by asgelle
    , but people shouldn't confuse measuring intensity relative to LT with measuring LT.
    +1
    2009 mileage = 14,738 miles; 2010 mileage = 15,234 miles; 2011 mileage = 17,344 miles; 2012 mileage = 11,414 miles; 2013 = 12,169

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