Changes in blood lactate and respiratory gas exchange measures in sports with discontinuous load profiles

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2003 Jun;89(5):489-95. doi: 10.1007/s00421-003-0824-4. Epub 2003 Apr 24.


This study compares two different sport events (orienteering = OTC; tennis = TEC) with discontinuous load profiles and different activity/recovery patterns by means of blood lactate (LA), heart rate (HR), and respiratory gas exchange measures (RGME) determined via a portable respiratory system. During the TEC, 20 tennis-ranked male subjects [age: 26.0 (3.7) years; height: 181.0 (5.7) cm; weight: 73.2 (6.8) kg; maximal oxygen consumption (VO(2)max): 57.3 (5.1)] played ten matches of 50 min. During the OTC, 11 male members of the Austrian National Team [age: 23.5 (3.9) years; height: 183.6 (6.8) cm; weight: 72.4 (3.9) kg; VO(2)max: 67.9 (3.8)] performed a simulated OTC (six sections; average length: 10.090 m). In both studies data from the maximal treadmill tests (TT) were used as reference values for the comparison of energy expenditure of OTC and TEC. During TEC, the average VO(2) was considerably lower [29.1 (5.6) ml(.)kg(-1.)min(-1)] or 51.1 (10.9)% of VO(2)max and 64.8.0 (13.3)% of VO(2) determined at the individual anaerobic threshold (IAT) on the TT. The short high-intensity periods (activity/recovery = 1/6) did not result in higher LA levels [average LA of games: 2.07 (0.9) mmol.l(-1)]. The highest average VO(2 )value for a whole game was 47.8 and may provide a reference for energy demands required to sustain high-intensity periods of tennis predominantly via aerobic mechanism of energy delivery. During OTC, we found an average VO(2) of 56.4 (4.5) or 83.0 (3.8)% of VO(2)max and 94.6 (5.2)% of VO(2) at IAT. In contrast to TEC, LA were relatively high [5.16 (1.5) mmol.l(-1)) although the average VO(2) was significantly lower than VO(2) at IAT. Our data suggest that portable RGEM provides valuable information concerning the energy expenditure in sports that cannot be interpreted from LA or HR measures alone. Portable RGEM systems provide valuable assessment of under- or over-estimation of requirements of sports and assist in the optimization and interpretation of training in athletes.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Lactic Acid / blood*
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology*
  • Physical Exertion / physiology*
  • Pulmonary Gas Exchange / physiology*
  • Sports / classification*
  • Sports / physiology*
  • Tennis / physiology


  • Lactic Acid