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Does blood lactate predict the chronic adaptive response to training: A comparison of traditional and talk test prescription methods

Preobrazenski, Nicholas, Bonafiglia, Jacob T., Nelms, Matthew W., Lu, Simo, Robins, Lauren, LeBlanc, Camille, Gurd, Brendon J.
Applied physiology, nutrition and metabolism 2019 v.44 no.2 pp. 179-186
blood, exercise, heart rate, lactic acid, oxygen consumption, speech, variance
The purpose of this study was to test the hypotheses (i) that interindividual variability in acute blood lactate responses during exercise at 65% of peak work rate (WRₚₑₐₖ; relative WRₚₑₐₖ protocol (REL)) will predict variability in the chronic responses to exercise training and (ii) that exercising at an intensity that causes uncomfortable speech production (negative talk test (TT) stage (NEG)) elicits high acute blood lactate responses and large adaptations to training. Twenty-eight participants completed 4 weeks of exercise training consisting of REL (n = 14) or NEG (TT, n = 14). Fifteen additional participants were assigned to a no-exercise control group (n = 15). In REL, acute blood lactate responses during the first training session significantly predicted changes in peak oxygen consumption (r = 0.69) after training. TT resulted in consistently high acute blood lactate responses. REL and TT improved (p < 0.05) peak oxygen consumption, WRₚₑₐₖ, and work rate at the onset of blood lactate accumulation (WROBLA). Despite nonsignificance, small to medium between-group effect sizes for changes in peak oxygen consumption, WRₚₑₐₖ, and WROBLA and a higher work rate, heart rate, rating of perceived exertion, and blood lactate during training at NEG support the potential superiority of TT over REL. When exercise is prescribed using a traditional method (a fixed percentage of WRₚₑₐₖ; REL), acute metabolic stress may partly explain the variance in the adaptations to training. In addition, TT elicited significant increases in peak oxygen consumption, WRₚₑₐₖ, and WROBLA, and although our small sample size limits our ability to confidently compare training adaptations between groups, our preliminary results suggest that future investigations with larger sample sizes should assess the potential superiority of TT over REL.