Lab and field testing to improve performance


Published on

Baseline testing allows athletes to monitor and improve their fitness levels. Field testing can be conducted by the athlete in the pool, on the road or on the track. Laboratory testing on the other hand, provides the most accurate measurements by utilizing a controlled environment. For this presentation, USAT Certified Triathlon Coach Chris Sweet and Laura Wheatley (MS Exercise Physiology) will offer participants a basic introduction to field and laboratory testing and how to utilize test results to improve triathlon performance. Participants will receive a handout that covers basic field test procedures for determining lactate threshold as well as practical baseline workouts.

Lab and field testing to improve performance

  1. 1. USING FIELD AND LABORATORY TESTING TOIMPROVE TRIATHLON PERFORMANCE Chris Sweet, USAT Certified Triathlon Coach Laura Wheatley, MS Exercise Physiology
  2. 2. Introductions
  3. 3. WHAT IS PHYSIOLOGICAL TESTING ANDWHY IS IT IMPORTANT?• Physiological testing measures specific functions or variables thought to be determinants of athletic performance.• Testing can: o Determine Strengths and Weaknesses o Benchmark Performance o Create accurate, current personal Training and Racing Zones o Monitor Progress o Evaluate effectiveness of training program o Predict performance potential
  4. 4. WHAT DO I NEED TO CONSIDER WHENSELECTING TESTS?• Relevance o Aerobic vs. Anaerobic tests• Specificity o When comparing treadmill and cycle exercise tests, scientists have found that heart rate and blood lactate levels at maximal exertion and aerobic threshold do not correlate; they would recommend sport-specific testing (Roecker, et. al, 2003)• Practicality- Lab vs. Field• Validity - repeatable measurement• Accuracy - duh!
  5. 5. WHATS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEENLABORATORY AND FIELD TESTING?• Field testing + Can be conducted by athletes or coaches in convenient locations/environment. + Cost and time effective. + Performed under "real world" conditions - Limited parameters can be monitored - May not be as reliable or accurate as a lab test.
  6. 6. WHATS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEENLABORATORY AND FIELD TESTING? • Laboratory testing +The most accurate measurements by measuring gas exchange and/or blood serum levels utilizing a controlled environment. -May not be practical or specific (i.e. cycle ergometers) -Metabolic cost of wind? surfaces? technique? -Higher monetary and time costs
  8. 8. WHAT PHYSIOLOGICAL VARIABLES CAN IMEASURE IN THE LABORATORY?• VO2 (Oxygen) and VCO2 (Carbon Dioxide)• Lactate (Blood)• Ventilatory Threshold• Exercise Metabolism (Economy)• Fuel requirements
  9. 9. VO2• Expressed as ml/kg/min, or L/min, it measures the RATE and VOLUME of oxygen that your body is consuming and utilizing for aerobic energy• VO2= (heart rate x stroke volume) x (arterio-venous oxygen difference) o The fitness/efficiency of the respiratory, cardiovascular, and muscular systems are all being assessed. o Stroke volume= the amount of blood the heart can pump per beat o High A-V difference is GOOD- muscles are extracting all the oxygen!
  10. 10. VO2• The less oxygen needed to perform aerobic exercise, the more efficient the athlete is• VO2max?
  11. 11. VO2MAX o The more VO2 your body can process at maximal exertion, the better- could be used to indicate your "potential" for athletic performance.
  14. 14. CAN I IMPROVE MY VO2MAX? o 40% of variation in VO2max is attributable to GENETICS. o 5-30% of VO2max can be improved through training (Bouchard et. al., 1986) o Greater gains have been observed in cardiac patients, those with very low starting fitness levels, and those who have achieved substantial weight loss. o However, "maximal aerobic capacity" is just one piece of the puzzle- how efficient are you at actually UTILIZING that oxygen to sustain higher workloads? Aerobic threshold and exercise metabolic testing in the lab may be more applicable to training and racing.
  15. 15. LACTATE• As oxygen demand for activity increases, the body becomes less efficient at processing and utilizing it• More carbon dioxide i.e. "waste" is produced.• When carbon dioxide production > oxygen consumption, the body produces excess lactic acid to process the oxygen that can no longer be used for aerobic energy.• This is called "Lactate Threshold" or LT, when the body switches to anaerobic metabolism ("without oxygen")• Lactic Acid is a bi-product of anaerobic metabolism.
  16. 16. LACTATE THRESHOLD Lactate Differences 10 9 8 7 Lactate mmol 6 5 Untrained 4 Trained 3 2 1 0 5.0 5.5 6.0 6.5 7.0 7.5 8.0 8.5 9.0 Treadmill Speed
  17. 17. VENTILATORY THRESHOLD• When access to blood sampling equipment in the lab is not available, VT is an accurate alternative.• Once excess lactate starts being produced, CO2 production ALSO increases to buffer it!
  19. 19. EXERCISE METABOLIC (FUEL) TESTING• My FAVORITE LAB TEST!• aka "Exercise Economy"• Measures exercise efficiency and nutritional requirements at various training and racing workloads• At each intensity, we measure o VO2 o Total Caloric Expenditure o Carbohydrate vs. Fat o Heart Rate o Pace/Power o Perceived Exertion• Kenyans vs. Caucasians
  20. 20. FUEL TEST
  22. 22. FUEL TEST: TRAINING INTENSITIESRQ: "Respiratory Quotient"• RQ = 0.7 100% fat 0% carb (not likely)• RQ= 0.85 50% fat 50%carb ( fat loss/aerobic training)• RQ= 1.0 0%fat 100%carb (AT/LT)Zone 1 Recovery: 0.7-0.82Zone 2 Aerobic: 0.83-0.89Zone 3 Tempo: 0.9- 0.96Zone 4 Threshold: 0.97-1.0Zone 5 Anaerobic: 1.0 +++
  23. 23. FUEL TEST: NUTRITIONAL NEEDS• Fully "loaded"... o Males store 2,000 kcals of glycogen (carbs) o Females store 1,500 kcals• It is critical to replace carbohydrates used as energy during and/or after exercise• Once carbs are depleted, the body turns to protein in the muscles as fuel!• FUEL testing can pinpoint nutritional needs during training and racing
  25. 25. SWIM FIELD TESTINGNo practical lab testing options.T20 or T30 (timed twenty or 30 minutes)Proven valid by comparing to lab testsT-30 Test ProtocolStep 1 Do the swim maintaining a constant speed at maximum effort.Step 2 Record distance swum (d) yardsStep 3 Time in (t) = 30X 60 secondsStep 4 Swimming speed = d divided by t in yards per second VAObtaining Individual Training Repeat Times from VAAdjustments have to be made for training at different distances. Tables exist but verygood guideline is as follows:400y use 99% of VA ; 200y use 102% VA ; 100y use 107% VA ; 50y usr 108% VA
  26. 26. T-20 PACE CHART
  27. 27. SWIM FIELD TESTINGBaseline sets:10X1003X5001000 all outIf done regularly, baseline tests can tell you if your training isprogressing, plateauing or regressing.Questions?
  28. 28. BIKE- LAB TESTING• Using a cycle ergometer or bicycle trainer• Wearing breathing apparatus to measure gas exchange• Potentially receiving finger or earlobe capillary pricks for lactate measurement• Cost: $80-$200+
  29. 29. BIKE- LAB TESTING• VO2max test = Test to exhaustion o After extensive warmup, the test lasts 8-12 minutes o Ramp or Step Protocol (Ramp preferred) o Male: Begin at 100-150W, increase 30-50 W/min o Female: Begin at 75-100W, increase 2-30 W/min• Lactate measurement not practical unless intravenous• Test will yield LT and VO2max measurements• LT may be skewed (not steady-state)• Training zones based off of percentages
  30. 30. BIKE - VO2MAXRun VO2max graph (cycling = switch pace for watts)
  31. 31. BIKE- FUEL TESTING• Bike FUEL test= incremental test until AT o After warmup, test begins at recovery intensity: RQ ~ 0.80 o Each stage lasts 3-5 minutes, until athlete reaches steady-state o Subsequent stages: RQ= 0.85. 0.90. 0.95, 1.0 o OR whatever workloads athlete desires, particularly desired race workload• A longer test- athletes can experience dry mouth (water can be sipped a few times, but too often will skew data)
  32. 32. BIKE- LAB ERGOMETER?• "Comparison of Physiological Responses between a Monark Cycle Ergometer and a Velotron in Trained Cyclists"• Lauras Masters thesis• HR/VO2 the same at AT and VO2max• Power was significantly higher on Velotron• Take home: Lab ergometers OK if training with heart rate, but specific ergometer needed for power training zones.• I didnt compare RQ values?
  33. 33. BIKE FIELD TESTINGDifferent LT test protocolsMy preference: 20 minutes minus 3%Field Test Protocol:15 minutes easy5 X 1 minute just over goal LT, 1 minute easy5 minutes easy20 minutes all-outAnother common test: Average of 2x20, with 5 minutes easybetween 20 minute intervals.Joe Friel: 30 minutes, take average of last 20 minutes. (Bikeand Run)
  34. 34. BIKE FIELD TESTINGPower vs. HR testing limitations of HRTrainer vs. Outside -keep em seperateTime Trials as LT tests 100% of 40K 97% of 20KControlling for conditions?Repeatability?
  35. 35. BIKE FIELD TESTINGBike Baseline sets.Many options. Consistency and repeatability are key.Power-based:10X1 minute on, 1 minute off3X10 minutesHill repeatsTime-basedRide a standard course. Keep track of speed, time andconditionsTimed Hill repeatsQuestions?
  36. 36. LAB TESTING - RUN• Similar protocols as Bike VO2max/FUEL, using running speed instead of power output• Some research indicates keeping treadmill at 1% incline to simulate metabolic cost of environmental factors
  37. 37. RUN FIELD TESTINGField test protocol for determining run lactate threshold:10 minute easy warm-up5 X 1 minute at LT pace, 1 minute easy5 minutes easy20 minutes all-outLT is ave. HR for the 20 minutes minus 5%
  38. 38. RUN FIELD TESTINGBaseline sets:3X1 mile6X800m10x400mSet course for timeHill repeatsPros and Cons of using races as baselines-controlling for conditionsQuestions?
  39. 39. HOW OFTEN SHOULD I TEST?How frequently should testing occur? Every week? (Chuckie V) Less Often? (Long hard bike tests) Psychology of testing Off-season- should you test at all?
  40. 40. RECOMMENDATIONS? Lab Testing only  1x/yr:  2x/yr: baseline, before A Race  3x/yr: baseline, midway/before A Race Field Testing only  4-8 weeks  After major training blocks  3-4 weeks before “A” races Combination?Seeing progress is motivating!
  41. 41. CONCLUSIONSTesting is GOOD!Determine baseline fitnessMonitor progressEvaluate and modify your training programCreate accurate, current personal training and racing zonesLab testing is beneficial, but not always practical Lab technology is becoming more mainstream and commercially availableField testing is easily accessible, repeatable andaffordable, but not always accurate due to uncontrolledvariables.
  42. 42. CONCLUSIONS"Testing is of no value unless the information gainedis used to improve your training or confirm that youare training in an appropriate manner.“-Joe Friel, Triathletes Training Bible