PURPOSE: Lactate thresholds are physiological parameters used to train athletes and monitor performance or training. Currently, the assessment of lactate thresholds in kayakers is performed in a laboratory setting utilizing specific ergometers; however, laboratory tests differ from on-water evaluation for several reasons. The aim of this study was to assess reliability and validity of a new on-water incremental test for the assessment of blood lactate response to exercise in flat-water kayakers. Maximal lactate steady state test (MLSS) was used as criterion measurement.
METHODS: Eleven junior (16.5 ± 1.9 yr) élite flat-water kayakers performed: i) an incremental cardiopulmonary test up to voluntary exhaustion on a stationary kayak ergometer to determine peak oxygen uptake; ii) an on-water 1000-m distance trial (T1000) to record best performance time and average speed (S1000); iii) two repetitions of on-water incremental kayaking test (WIK test); iv) several repetitions of on-water constant speed tests to determine MLSS. Speed, HR, and blood lactate concentrations were determined during on-water tests.
RESULTS: The best performance time in T1000 was 262 ± 13 s, corresponding to an S1000 of 3.82 ± 0.19 m·s. Lactate threshold determined by modified Dmax method (LTDmod) during WIK test was 2.78 ± 1.02 mmol·L and the corresponding speed (SLT) was 3.34 ± 0.16 m·s. Test-retest reliability, calculated on SLT, was strong (ICC = 0.95 and r = 0.93). MLSS test corresponded to 3.06 ± 0.68 mmol·L and was reached at a speed (SMLSS) of 3.36 ± 0.14 m·s. Correlation coefficient between SLT and SMLSS was 0.90 (P = 0.0001). Interestingly, a significant correlation (r = 0.96, P < 0.0001) was observed between SLT and S1000.
CONCLUSIONS: The WIK test showed good reliability and validity for the assessment of speed corresponding to LTDmod in flat-water kayakers and it could be a useful tool to monitor athletic performance. The speed value at LTDmod nicely predicted performance on 1000 m.