Contribution of blood lactate to the energy expenditure of weight training

J Strength Cond Res. 2006 May;20(2):404-11. doi: 10.1519/R-17495.1.


Bioenergetic interpretations of energy transfer specify that rapid anaerobic, substrate-level adenosine triphosphate (ATP) turnover with lactate production is not appropriately represented by an oxygen uptake measurement. Two types of weight training, 60% of 1 repetition maximum (1RM) with repetitions to exhaustion and 80% of 1RM with limited repetitions, were compared to determine if blood lactate measurements, as an estimate of rapid substrate-level ATP turnover, provide a significant contribution to the interpretation of total energy expenditure as compared with oxygen uptake methods alone. The measurement of total energy expenditure consisted of blood lactate, exercise oxygen uptake, and a modified excess postexercise oxygen consumption (EPOC); oxygen uptake-only measurements consisted of exercise oxygen uptake and EPOC. When data from male and female subjects were pooled, total energy expenditure was significantly higher for reps to exhaustion (arm curl, +27 kJ; bench press, +27 kJ; leg press, +38 kJ; p < 0.03) and limited reps (arm curl, +12 kJ; bench press, +23 kJ; leg press, + 24 kJ; p < 0.05) when a separate measure of blood lactate was part of the interpretation. When the data from men and women were analyzed separately, blood lactate often made a significant contribution to total energy expenditure for reps to exhaustion (endurance-type training), but this trend was not always statistically evident for the limited reps (strength-type training) protocol. It is suggested that the estimation of total energy expenditure for weight training is improved with the inclusion, rather than the omission, of an estimate of rapid anaerobic substrate-level ATP turnover.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Adult
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lactic Acid / blood*
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Physical Endurance / physiology
  • Sex Factors
  • Weight Lifting / physiology*


  • Lactic Acid
  • Adenosine Triphosphate