What is the anaerobic threshold?

You can image the Anaerobic Threshold as the safe limit of the exercise without an excessive component of the anaerobic metabolism. Bellow this level you can stress your body safely. You only need digital watches with heart rate monitor (Casio, Speedo, Polar etc.) to check you Anaerobic Threshold during your exercise of any kind.

The Anaerobic Threshold can be defined as the breakpoint between two systems of exercise metabolism. From this point muscles need more oxygen than the body can transport. Due to this shortage, the muscles start to produce more lactate (acid) in the blood, than the body can consume. This acidity of blood leads to the exhaustion.
The Anaerobic Threshold can be expressed in various physiological parameters like Heart Rate, Oxygen Uptake, lactate concentration etc.

The Anaerobic Threshold gains in course of years great importance for diagnostics of relevance for a lot of internal diseases and for the prescription of suitable physical activity as an upper limit of load, after its overrun follows the sudden development of metabolic acidosis. Workload intensity beneath the Anaerobic Threshold level is sufficient in physical activity for purposes of prevention and rehabilitation, while intensities above the Anaerobic Threshold of sufficient duration must be used to increase sportsmen efficiency.

The anaerobic threshold conception arisen in relation to the classical theory of the oxygen deficit and the oxygen debt in sixties [1]. The theory is based on the fact that oxygen lacks in working muscles during long-last load and this is the reason for the increase of the lactate production and for the change of pulmonary ventilation and gas exchange. The Anaerobic Threshold is confidential indicator of patient fitness contrary to maximal exercise values, because in contrast to maximal oxygen uptake correlates with the total workload period [2].


[1] Wasserman, K.W., J.E. Hansen, D.Y. Sue, B.J. Whipp: Principles of Exercise Testing and Interpretation. Philadelphia: Lea&Febigner, 1987 [2] Vago P, Mercier J, Ramontaxo M et al. Is ventilatory anaerobic threshold a good index of endurance capacity? Int. J. Sports med. Vol. 8, pp. 190-5, 1987.
anerobicthreshold.org 2007