The Importance of Lactic Threshold Training
Have you ever experienced that feeling mid-WOD, when it feels like you can’t even do one more rep? This typically means you are hitting your lactic threshold, aka your body is producing lactic acid faster than it can process it. For those that don’t know, lactic acid is built up when there isn’t enough oxygen to produce more energy for the body (this is the simple way to explain it). Once you reach that limit you normally have about 1-3 mins before you start to hit heavy fatigue and need to rest.
Lactic Threshold Training (LTT) is a way to combat this. While most CrossFit related workouts feature more than one movement, LTT is normally limited to a single modality. This single modality allows our body to focus on processing lactic acid instead of focusing on a constant changing of movements. The best way to attack LTT is with Interval training that includes “rest”. We go from a high effort attack (90%+) and it is followed up with “rest”. Here is an example:
3 Rounds of:
20 Seconds Hard Pace/ 40 Seconds Easy Pace
-Rest 2 mins-
2 Rounds of:
20 Seconds Hard Pace/ 30 Seconds Easy Pace
-Rest 2 mins-
1 Round of:
60 Seconds Hard Pace/60 Seconds Easy Pace
That is just the tip of the iceberg, Threshold/Interval training is similar to CrossFit in that there are limitless combinations for WODs. These workouts help our body experience the lactic acid build up and then learn how to process it better. While they may not be the most glamorous workouts, the benefit from these can help increase your performance in CrossFit workouts substantially. With enough dedication you will see the results: you will be able to do more pullups consecutively, recovery between movements will be reduced and it will take longer for lighter loads to start feeling heavy.
I did this last year (Jan. 2018) before the CrossFit Open and I could actually feel the results. It felt like I didn’t have a limit on anything and I always had just a bit more to give. I never hit a point of actual exhaustion until the last moment when I gave everything I had. I never hit the proverbial “Wall”.
Good news - this is something that is easy to incorporate after a wod or in Open Gym! It can be done on any cardio machine (row, bike, runner), is doable for all athletic levels, and often only takes 15-20 minutes. If you have specific questions, feel free to reach out and email me! firstname.lastname@example.org