CONSIDERATIONS FOR SWIMMING TESTS
Olbrecht, J., Madsen, O., Mader, A., Liesen, H., & Hollmann, W. (1985). Relationship between swimming velocity and lactic concentration during continuous and intermittent training exercises. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 6, 74-77.
The aim of this investigation was to determine if a swimming test, with or without measurement of lactic acid, could be developed for use in adjusting intensity in endurance training.
Top German swimmers (N = 59) performed a two-speed test (V4; constant pace 400 m at 85% best time; 400 m as fast as possible; 20 min inter-trial rest). Lactate was analyzed 1, 3, 5, and 7 min after each trial. Although quite a number of studies have shown that anaerobic threshold (ANT) may be found well above and below 4.0 mM/l lactate, training intensities were expressed as a percentage of swimming velocity at 4 mM. Over a period of 30 days, three different series of tests (total distance 2400 m) were performed.
- Maximum distance swims in 30 (V30max) and 60 (V60max) minutes and average paces for each were determined. In the following days, 30-min tests at 90% and 95% of V30max were performed.
- During a period of 7 days, four interval sets (6 x 400 m, 12 x 200 m, 24 x 100 m, 48 x 50 m) with rest periods of 10 s between each repeat were performed.
- Except for the 48 x 50 m set, the same interval sets were performed but with a 30 s rest.
The two-speed test was included before and after each of the three test series to monitor control of endurance capacity. Lactate samples were taken 1, 3, and 5 min after each set as well as during the 30-s rest periods in the third series.
The following were results from the study:
- The 30-min test was performed at a significantly faster pace and yielded higher lactate levels than the 60-min test.
- During the 30-min test, velocity corresponded (r = .82) to that of 4 mM extrapolated from the two-speed test but lactate levels were negatively correlated (r = -.58).
- During the interval sets, velocity increased as the distances shortened, and there was a further speed increase when 30-sec rests occurred over that of 10-sec rest sets.
- After all interval sets, lactate levels remained below 4 mM.
- The length of rest period (10 s and 30 s) significantly affected the performance levels of each set when compared to V4: 6 x 400 m 2.02% and 3.01% increase over V4; 12 x 200 m 2.95% and 4.22%; 24 x 100 m 4.21% and 7.34%, and for the 48 x 50 m with 10-sec rest, 11.23%.
- In the 4 x 600 m set, the first lactate value (taken after the first 400 m repeat), corresponded to the lactate concentration calculated from the two-speed test (V4). However, with each successive repetition, post-trial lactates decreased and were significantly different to the V4-predicted lactate on trials 2 through 6. Similar deviations from predicted values occurred for the 12 x 200 m and 24 x 100 m sets with 30-sec rests.
- The higher the endurance capacity of a swimmer, the lower the lactate levels supported.
It was proposed that during a short rest period of 10 sec, considerable regeneration of the creatine phosphate pool occurs. When rest periods are longer (e.g., 30 sec), the energy supply from creatine phosphate is further increased. Thus, with longer rest periods, a higher swimming velocity for a given lactate level is possible.
Implications. This investigation showed the following:
- The critical velocities of swimming and lactate levels performed were dependent upon the repetition distance and inter-trial interval.
- There was no relationship between lactate levels and velocities obtained from continuous tests (V30 and V60) and interval sets.
- A two-speed test to predict V4, the pace that yielded 4 mM lactate, was only related to occasional sets of factors.
- If swimming training is aimed at repetitious practice of particular paces, then lactate levels after sets will vary, mostly determined by the length of rest periods and the distance repeated.
- If swimming training is aimed at maintaining lactate levels, the swimming velocities of sets will vary, influenced mostly by the length of rest periods and the distance repeated.
- Since there are no swimming events which demand maintaining lactate levels, the training option in point #5 is nonsensical.
- The two-speed test appears to have little use for predicting swimming training speeds at particular sustained levels of lactic acid because of the influence of repetition distance and inter-trial rest duration.
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