Effect of training on lactate/ventilatory thresholds: a meta-analysis

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1997 Jun;29(6):837-43. doi: 10.1097/00005768-199706000-00016.


The purpose of the investigation was to determine the effect of exercise training intensity on the lactate and ventilatory thresholds in sedentary and in active subjects using meta-analysis procedures. The original analyses included 85 study groups from 34 studies. The dependent variable was oxygen consumption at the specified threshold, and the independent variables were training intensity (control and four intensities ranging from below threshold to near maximum) and fitness level (sedentary and conditioned). Data were analyzed statistically using methods described by Hedges and Olkin (13). The results showed that sedentary subjects (effect size (ES) = 2.32) improved significantly over controls (ES = 0.15), while conditioned subjects (ES = 0.63) showed nonsignificant gains. There were no significant differences among training intensities within the fitness categories (Sed ES = 1.6 - 3.1; Cond ES = 0.3 - 1.1) although the conditioned subjects tended to respond better to high intensity training (ES of 1.1 vs 0.4). It was concluded that training at an intensity near the lactate or ventilatory threshold is an adequate training stimulus for improving the thresholds for sedentary subjects, but a higher intensity may be necessary for conditioned subjects. Detraining will reduce lactate and ventilatory thresholds.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Anaerobic Threshold
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Lactates / blood*
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Respiration*


  • Lactates