In 1992 Conconi et al. (20) presented an indirect and noninvasive method for the determination of anaerobic threshold (AnT) in an incremental field test for runners. This noninvasive method for the determination of anaerobic threshold is dependent on the occurrence of a deflection of the heart rate performance curve (HRPC). The aim of our study was to evaluate the degree and direction of the deflection of the HRPC and the relationship of the heart rate threshold (HRT) to the lactate turn point in a group of 227 healthy young subjects (age: 23 +/- 4 yr). The subjects were divided into three groups by means of second degree polynomial fitting (GI: regular deflection, kHR > 0.1; G II: no deflection, 0 < kHR < 0.1; G II: inverse deflection, k < -0.1). No significant differences between the groups were found in the anthropometric data or in the power output and the blood lactate concentration at both the first (LTP1) and second (LTP2) lactate turn points and at maximum performance (Pmax). Using the method of Conconi et al. (20), 85.9% of the subjects showed a "regular" deflection, 6.2% showed no deflection at all, and 7.9% showed even an inverted deflection of the HRPC. An HRT could be obtained in both G I and G III, and power output at HRT was not significantly different in comparison to that at the LTP2. No HRT could be assessed in G II. The heart rate at HRT and the LTP2 were significantly lower in G III compared with G I. The phenomenon of heart rate break point may be attractive in training regulation, but its application is limited because a heart rate deflection cannot be found even in young subjects in some cases.