How to Determine Your Anaerobic Threshold

Anyone trying to build up muscle mass, lose excess fat or generally get in better fitness shape should be familiar with the concept of an anaerobic threshold. The anaerobic threshold is the point at which your body builds up lactic acid faster than it can be metabolized. Lactic acid is the substance that your muscles produce as you exercise that results in a feeling of burning or pain.

It is crucial that you reach your anaerobic threshold for optimal fitness training. This will train your body not for endurance activities, but for short bursts of speed, strength and agility. Those who routinely reach their anaerobic threshold gradually extend the distance and effort that they can put in before reaching the anaerobic threshold in the future, bringing about better overall fitness and higher maximum energy expenditure that is available without feeling tired or losing focus. Read on for a few tips on how to determine your anaerobic threshold so that you can exercise to the best of your ability.

Laboratory Tests

The single best way to determine your anaerobic threshold is via a set of laboratory tests. If you have access to these tests and equipment, you can learna  massive amount of information about your body and your exercising. You’ll be attached to a treadmill or other cardiovascular type of system and connected to a series of sensors. As you exercise, physicians or experimenters will monitor your heartbeat, lactic acid levels and more for signs of your anaerobic limit. By measuring the production and elimination of lactic acid from your body, they can determine exactly where your anaerobic threshold is. Unfortunately, however, these tests are generally difficult to come by and quite expensive, so there are a few ways to learn about your anaerobic threshold on your own.

Anaerobic Lactate Analyzer

Lactate analyzers are small, portable devices that you can carry with you while you exercise. They will consistently monitor your lactic acid rates and the rate at which your body reabsorbs or neutralizes the acids. With these analyzers, you’ll need to know the basics of determining the lactic acid or anaerobic threshold in order to make full use of them. They are much more readily available and less expensive than laboratory tests, however.

Heart Rate Test

Although it’s considered to be the least accurate form of measurement in order to determine your lactic acid threshold, the heart rate test is nonetheless a free and easy method for non-competitive athletes to ensure that they are operating at their best. Generally speaking, you’ll reach your lactic acid and anaerobic threshold at around 90% of your maximum safe heart rate. By calculating your heart rate given your age, gender and level of fitness, you can then determine where your maximum heart rate for exercise is. By then exercising over sustained periods of time at 90% of that heart rate, you’ll reach or come very close to your anaerobic threshold.


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