View Full Version : All About Lactic Acid

08-16-2007, 08:01 AM
Another interesting article from Stan

"All About Lactic Acid

Most athletes recognize lactic acid as an enemy of sustained exertion and performance. If understanding the enemy can help us manage it, the following explanation of lactic acid as it relates to exercise should be valuable. Carbohydrate along with fat, provides energy to the cells of the body. It can be stored in muscles as glycogen or it can be obtained directly from the bloodstream as glucose. When either glycogen or glucose is broken down completely to provide energy, oxygen is needed for the process to be complete. The process is called aerobic metabolism. When there is not enough oxygen available in active skeletal muscle cells, the process cannot be completed and lactic acid (LA) begins to appear in the muscles being exercised. The LA eventually moves out of the muscles, but several misconceptions exist about how and when it is removed.

1. Lactic acid remains in the muscles for hours or even days after strenuous exercise. The truth is that LA rapidly moves out of the muscle cells into the blood stream and LA levels in muscles return to normal (resting) values within 15-30 minutes. Low intensity aerobic exercise can actually speed up the process.

2. Lactic acid is related to delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) that may develop several hours or even days after particularly strenuous or unaccustomed exercise. It is not related because the LA has long ago disappeared. DOMS is likely to be caused by microscopic damage/trauma in muscle cells and by inflammation, not lactic acid residue.

3. Massage can rid the muscles of lactic acid. Wrong. Massage feels good and has been shown to have some therapeutic value by improving circulation, lymphatic flow, as well as resulting in neuromuscular and fascia changes. But LA is removed from the muscles by the circulatory system and from blood and fluid by the bodyís metabolic process. Again, the LA is usually gone by the time the athlete reaches the massage table. Bottom line: Massage has no role in removing lactic acid. If done immediately after exercise, it could be argued that it assists blood flow in and out of muscles (similar to the effects of light exercise).

4. LA is the sole cause of fatigue. It is not the cause but it is one of the causes. In high-intensity exercise lasting 10-30 seconds, depletion of high-energy phosphates and neuromuscular fatigue results in diminished performance. In aerobic exercise lasting 2-4 hours, muscle glycogen depletion is the primary cause of athletes hitting the wall.

1. The formation of lactic acid during intense exercise or sports competition is the probable cause of the uncomfortable burning sensation that occurs in muscles as fatigue sets in.

2. The appearance of LA during exercise can be taken as an indication of poor aerobic/anearobic (lactate threshold)(cardiovascular) fitness. When performing at the same exercise intensity, less lactic acid production means a better state of aerobic fitness and the ability to better withstand the onset of lactate thresholld. The goal is to increase the LA threshold so the athlete can perform at a higher level longer.

3. When quantities of LA have been produced in muscle cells, some of it can be utilized for energy needs when oxygen becomes available during recovery. But most of it will be a) removed from the muscles by the circulatory system, b) taken from the blood by other tissues for energy, or c) carried to the liver and stored as glycogen.

4. When performing high-intensity exercise or sport to exhaustion, athletes generate higher LA values than non-athletes. This is related to enhanced anaerobic metabolism and the ability to continue longer while experiencing great discomfort. Athletes do generate a higher level of LA, but they can handle it and continue to perform. Non-athletes canít produce this amount LA, and even at their lower levels, canít hold it. The goal is to train at the highest level and still recover to perform again. LA production is important, but recovery is even more important. This is true energy system development.

Indicator, Not Enemy
Lactic acid, as it turns out, should be seen as an indicator rather than as an enemy. Its production and the subsequent uncomfortable feeling in muscles are voices screaming to be heard. Your body is saying that it is not fit enough for the type of exercise in which you are engaging. Itís time to systematically train toward a level of fitness that will reduce or eliminate the burn"

- Stanley Skolfield, ATC, CSCS

08-16-2007, 09:54 AM
I think a lot of the people on here already know all that

08-16-2007, 01:42 PM
and stay hydrated.....