For Instructors

Anaerobic Threshold Testing - Are You Doing it?

As instructors, we know the importance of training in both the aerobic and anaerobic heart rate zone. But what are they? Some of us have done the max ? have had our VO2Max tested so that we know the numbers. But there is a test available to others to discover some of these numbers and it is surprisingly efficient and accurate if it is done well. The first time I heard of doing Anaerobic Threshold Testing was the first Spinning® session scheduled at Boston Balance two years ago. As a newly certified instructor, I had not yet experienced one of these tests and, after reading the blurb about it and duly noting the recommended preparation, I was pretty nervous, to say the least. Frankly, I can?t remember much except the resulting numbers. Hey, it wasn?t so bad. And, hey, I survived. Over a year later I did the real thing ? a clinical VO2Max test and, guess what, the numbers were similar! In fact, taking into consideration my increased fitness level, the numbers may well have been the same. Now, almost another year later, I participated in an Anaerobic Threshold Test at our facility coached by our Master Instructor. Once again, I survived and it wasn?t so bad. Once again my numbers were totally related and demonstrate my slow but steady fitness progress. This stuff is great! What a huge benefit to know that number ? that clearly defined heart rate number (give or take a few beats) that indicates either the absolute ceiling of our aerobic training or the gateway to a fully charged visit to the anaerobic training zone. We all know the value of base building, of spending time in the aerobic heart rate training zone to build endurance, utilize stored body fat, build mental and physical strength and discipline, yadayadayada. We also know that, once that foundation is built and our base is solid, we need to push ourselves up that ladder and spend some dedicated time in the near-maximum training zones that are unique to each of us. Let me share with you what we did today. Simply described, our MI led us through a 15 minute warm up that brought us to a consistent 75% mhr. She then coached us (accompanied by some awesome music) through 20 minutes of unrelenting intensity. We used our heart rate monitors to chart the 20 minutes, determine the absolute maximum we experienced and then the average of our ride ? which was the number we were looking for. Though this method differed from the one I had done previously, the numbers coincided. Clearly it worked. (Another method is basically the same but involves increasing the heart rate by 5 beats multiple times until the participant can no longer sustain the desired cadence ? usually 80 rpms.) At the end of our Anaerobic Testing, I took over and led the class in a long, gradual cool down and recovery while our MI walked around the class, checked in with each individual, and recorded numbers for the final time. Carefully watching each student I could see that each was fully committed to the testing experience and, by the end of the class, each was recovered and feeling great. After class one rider who had appeared completely immersed with his training explained that last summer he had raced a Sprint Triathlon and the 20 minutes we had just done reminded him of the 20 minutes it had taken him to complete the cycling portion of his Sprint so he was able to visualize racing away from his swim and towards his run. Very cool. Have you done Anaerobic Threshold Testing? Are you comfortable with it? Does it work for you? Let?s hear about it! Blog Posted by Linda Freeman for www.spinning.com 1-15-2011
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