Clinical Sports Medicine International
 The Journal Of All Movement Related Medical Topics In Health & Disease
CSMI 2010

Determining the anaerobic threshold in finswimming

Busse M1, Vogel Y, Tegtbur U2, Thomas M3

Institute of Sports Medicine, University of Leipzig (Director: Prof. M. Busse, MD)
Center of Sports Medicine, Hannover Medical School2 (Director: Dr. med. U. Tegtbur)
Orthopedic Clinic & Polyclinic, University of Leipzig3 (Director: Prof. Dr. med. v. Salis-Soglio)


Busse MW, Vogel Y, Tegtbur U, Thomas M. Determining the anaerobic threshold in finswimming. Clinical Sports Medicine International (CSMI) 2010, 4: 19-28.

Objective: To develop a field test for determining the anaerobic threshold in finswimming.

Materials and methods: An incremental swim test was carried out among 10 trained finswimmers after exercise-induced lactate acidosis (8 x 200 m increments with speed increases of 5-10 seconds per 200 m). During a 45-second rest period after each increment, blood was drawn to determine lactate levels and heart rate was measured. The lowest point of this curve is considered to be the steady state between enhanced lactate production and uptake and is therefore postulated as the anaerobic threshold (AT). To test this theory, constant load tests were subsequently carried out at three speeds: AT, AT + 5%  and AT – 5%.

Results: The symmetrical shape of the curve in the incremental exercise test shows that the speed increments used enable the enhanced lactate production and uptake kinetics to be determined. The lactate concentration at the lowest point of the curve is high enough to prevent artefacts at the onset of a steady state. The constant load tests demonstrate that finswimming in the area of AT speed leads to the rapid onset of a lactate steady state at a high level. A speed 5% above this results in a significantly delayed lactate steady state and produces very high lactate concentrations.

Conclusion: The results prove the appropriateness of the method, which determines an individual’s enhanced lactate production and uptake kinetics to establish the AT. Given the relationship between AT intensity and maximum speed and the very narrow area of the threshold, the use of a method such as this is of particular importance.

Keywords: lactate, anaerobic threshold, incremental exercise test, finswimming