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| | Lactate and Training – Part 3: Lactic Tolerance

Author / Christopher McQuilkin

The first two installments of the Lactic Acid and Training series have shown there is more to lactic acid than meets the eye.  The many theories behind the physiological purpose of lactic acid have been discussed, and we learned the implications its release has on maximal intensity and speed.  We've established a base level of lactic knowledge and demonstrated how to effectively program and apply Intensity training for your athletes.  This article will continue to build your strength and conditioning tool kit by using your lactic knowledge to not only effectively condition your athletes, but mentally prepare them as well.

Power-Athlete-Lacrosse-Strength-ConditioningLactic Tolerance Training

Objective and Effects: Power Athletes training and playing at high intensities will move throughout the metabolic spectrum throughout competition, never solely relying on one energy pathway over the other.  As noted in Part 2, lactic acid is released after roughly 7 seconds at maximal effort and a full recovery is needed to retain 95% of top speed.  But many plays last longer than 7 seconds and when is full recovery feasible on Game Day?  Never, so athletes need to be prepared for this. Preparation can be accomplished through Lactic Tolerance training.  The objective of this training is increasing an athlete's ability to perform at hyper velocities with dialed in technique in an acidic state similar to the demand of Game Day.

In Part 1 we learned it was not lactic acid that caused the burning sensation during training, but acidosis.  Acidosis is the build up of H+ electrical charges from the lactate conversion that increases the the acidity of the blood in the muscle cells.  This by-product of the body’s response to the need for immediate energy will lead to muscle failure before oxygen is able prevent it.  Because of this, many coaches take the approach of Lactic Threshold training pushing back the point at which the acidic build up cannot be buffered and failure ensues.  While lactate threshold training accomplishes a lot physiologically, there is a great opportunity for the coach to elicit a psychological adaptation that is often missed.

The physiological benefits for Lactic Tolerance training are endless; strengthen connective tissue, improve sprint posture endurance, improved recovery times (both in-between and during training sessions), reduced injury, raise rate of protein synthesis due to increased muscle and blood oxygen levels, increased Lactic Threshold, and reduced muscle and nerve damage due to faster removal and recycling of waste product to name a few.  But, there is even more to gain implementing this training with a psychology of discomfort approach.

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Christopher McQuilkin

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Former collegiate lacrosse defensive midfielder, 4-year letter winner and 3-year team captain. Coached strength and conditioning collegiately with Georgetown University football, Men's and Women's lacrosse and Women's Crew, as well with the University of Texas at Austin's football program. Apprenticed under Raphael Ruiz of 1-FortyFour-1 studying proper implementation of science based, performance driven training systems. Head coached CrossFit Dupont's program for two years in Washington D.C. Received a Master's in Health Promotion Management from Marymount University in 2010, and has been a coach for Power Athlete since October, 2012.


  1. Tuesday 040114 on March 31, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    […] part in the series on “Lactic Acid and Training: Part 3″, by Power […]

  2. James Reynolds on April 7, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    I want to view this article in it’s entirety. I’m guessing that my “Official Member” access does not grant me access to the article.

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