In short, the body produces lactic acid as a defense mechanism in the muscles when oxygen is limited (i.e in threshold) to defend it from permanent damage, it makes us back off or reduces our intensity.
The way to make your body adjust and be able to work more before the lactic acid builds up in your muscles is threshold training. To improve your lactate threshold is to improve your ability to endure higher intensity exercise for longer durations of time.
Here are three of the best workouts to increase your aerobic capacity, your engine, your ability to work in the threshold, and anaerobic zones for longer.
The workouts below will take you to another level of the so-called pain cave, they are tried and tested programs using the Concept 2 and assault fitness machines we have at our disposal at Iceni training.
1, Grab yourself a bench, you will need it in the Mikko triangle. It’s the one to hit every single week. Named after Finnish CrossFit games-winning athlete Mikko Salo, it’s a 40-minute EMOM.
10 X 4-minute rounds of maximal effort, pick a calorie number to hit each minute, and improve on that each week. RX is 20 calories per minute and that’s a big-hitting workout, so start at 8 calories and work up 1 calorie each set until you fail. Drop back to the previous number and keep hitting that until the end of the workout. Fail at 15 calories and drop back to 14 for the remainder of the rounds that day, simple.
Minute 1 row
Minute 2 bike
Minute 3 ski
Minute 4 rest
2, It’s a CrossFit games giant of a workout “Acid Bath” but we will hit it slightly differently at Iceni instead of 500m ski, 500m row, 1000m bike, and a sprint to the line we will hit it like this. 30 minutes in total.
3 X 10-minute rounds
You will push your limit on this as 2 minutes maximal effort is not a sprint or endurance but it’s a workout like no other.
Go hard in the first 2 rounds and in the last round send it all the way. See how easy it is to walk after this one.
3, The standard 30 seconds on 30 seconds off, 30 rounds on whatever piece of C2 kit or the assault bike if you wish.
This is maximal effort and minimal recovery for 30 minutes.
Threshold training like this will improve you in a sprint workout as you are sending your body into the red zone time and time again.
Training your body to enter this anaerobic state and hit 100% effort will make you better and fitter athletes.
Add these into your weekly program but also don’t forget the base of the pyramid, the foundation, and the not so sexy longer and less intense endurance workout.
My favorite is a 90-minute workout in total 3 rounds of 9 minute’s on 1-minute off-row/bike/ski at a 6 out of 10 effort. Long but not intense by any means. This is sometimes known as a liss session (low-intensity steady state) where you work at no more than 75% of your maximum heart rate.
You cannot train at full intensity every day, this will lead to injury, fatigue and is just not sustainable. However, these two different approaches will go hand in hand to fine-tune your engine and make you perform at your best.