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Lactic acid training drills – 5 performance-enhancing benefits

Introduction

For a long time, lactic acid has been considered one of the biggest villains in creating a stronger version of ourselves.  

The lactic buildup has also been held responsible for DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) pain. Not just that, there are many products available in the supplement market that are built to eliminate lactic buildup at a faster pace. 

Wait a second! Why the hell someone would create a training protocol to produce more lactic buildup? 

The lactic build-up is not really bad for you, for years lactic acid has been wrongly held responsible for the DOMS and muscle fatigue. The truth is, production of lactic acid is proven good for your muscle gains. 

Ahead in this article, we are going to talk everything about the lactic acid training and its extraordinary benefits. 


What is lactic acid training?

As the name suggests, it’s a training protocol that forces your body to produce more lactate. This method of training has been known to simultaneously gain strength while trimming down body fat.

Lactic acid training forces you to accumulate lactic in your muscles. The more often you do it, the more your body learns to ‘tolerate’ it. Not only that, but it also increases your lactate threshold too.

The burning sensation that is often associated with the lactic buildup but that’s certainly not true. When you workout on high intensity, your body used stored glycogen to produce energy. The process of breaking glycogen also produces a compound naming “pyruvate” as a byproduct. This pyruvate is into hydrogen ions — the real trigger of the burning sensation in muscle tissues.

In short, Lactic acid is not responsible for the post-workout DOMS.

So lactic acid is not responsible for the pain and soreness, but what is the need for lactic acid training?

Lactic acid training is known to boost the growth hormone levels, enhance muscle endurance and fat burning. But how does that all happen? let’s try to understand the benefits of lactic acid training in detail.


Benefits of lactic acid training

Doesn’t matter if you’re a pro-athlete, bodybuilder or amateur fitness enthusiast, lactic acid training can help you improve your overall gains and performance in a multidimensional way. Let’s discuss the benefits backed by scientific researches.

1# Improved muscle endurance

This training has been commonly used by pro athletes to develop their muscle endurance to another level. Lactic acid training is all about pushing your body towards a lactic threshold.

Lactate threshold is a widely used terminology in the endurance sports training, but it has got to do allot with high-intensity drills as well.

The term “Lactate threshold” is commonly used by coaches and sports scientists to check the endurance of an athlete. Lactate threshold is a blood lactate concentration at the one we can only sustain a high-intensity effort for a specific period of time.

Every person has a different ability to tolerate the lactic threshold at certain levels and you can improve your ability by frequently involving in lactic training protocol.

You’re actually improving muscle endurance by teaching your body to get better at buffering blood acidity and improving your lactate threshold.

More muscle endurance means – being able to train at a higher intensity for a longer duration of time. Better workout leads to improved strength and muscle gains.


2# Boost GH (growth hormones)

Boosting the levels of Growth Hormone is the top benefit of lactic acid training.

When I was new to the fitness industry, I was told that only big compound movements (deadlifts, squats, bench-presses) trigger the production of growth hormone and testosterone.

But the high intensity and high volume lactic training are proven to improve the GH levels for up to 450%. Yes, it has been proven by 2002 study (1) conducted at the Department of Physical Education, Loughborough University, UK.

Another 2009 study (2) found an assertive role of lactate in the exercise-induced human growth hormone response.

Basically, the more lactate you accumulate, the more growth hormone you release. Boosting the production of growth hormones helps the body in a number of different ways.

  • High GH has always been linked to the body’s improved ability to burn fat.
  • Accelerated recovery process.
  • Positive correlation with male vitality and testosterone production which not just help in the development of muscle mass but also enhances sex drives.
  • Boost metabolism for better energy levels.
  • Improves bone density.

3# Accelerated fat burning

Lactic acid training is helpful in fat burning in many different ways. let’s have a look-

  • Production of growth hormones: As we studied earlier, lactic buildup results in a boost in the production of growth hormones. Higher GH is linked to accelerated fat burning.
  • Muscle building: Improvement in Lactate threshold or tolerance towards lactate helps in delivering improved performance for a longer period of time. Training for a longer period also boosts the calorie expenditure.
  • Lactic clearance: your body requires extra calories to process that lactic buildup.

4# Minimize the chances of injuries

Lactic acid training drill involved high volume training with a little rest, this type of training also prove beneficial to minimize the chances of injuries.

Most of the time you will be lifting the 60-70% of your one-rep max which allows the lifter to workout without compensating with the workout form.


5# Break the plateau.

Whenever a client shows up to me with a stalled progress, I immediately put him on a lactic acid training protocol to break the plateau.

Most people are soo much obsessed about progressive overload that they overlook the significance of introducing changes in the workout regime.

Changing the workout volume and intensity is one of the most effective ways to break the plateau and stimulate muscle growth like never before.


Lactic acid training drills 

Right lactic acid training drills you can prepare your body to improve performance. As fitness levels progress, so does your body’s ability to absorb lactate.

Check the graph below- the blue line represents lactic buildup before using any kind of lactic acid training drills. The red line is after. You can see there’s a ‘right shift’ in the graph, showing that at the same relative intensity, there’s a considerable reduction in lactic acid accumulation.

lactate threshold graph

Some of the most common lactic training drills are-


Giant sets

Giant sets are not for faint-hearted, it’s one of the training protocol that has been widely used by professional bodybuilders to stimulate growth and break the plateau.

Concept of giant sets is simple – Target a single muscle group and overload it with four or more exercises done continuously to maximize muscle activation and blood flow to the targeted muscle area.

A perfect example of giant sets for chest can be as follow:

ExerciseRepsRest
1A.Plyometric pushups1030 sec
1B.Incline dumbbell press10 30 sec
1C.Flat bench dumbbell flyes10 30 sec
1D.Cable flyes10 30 sec

There should be 30-seconds rest between each exercise and once you complete a whole circuit then rest for 3 minutes before going for another round.


30-second workout (15-minutes)

It’s a 30-seconds of workout and 30-seconds of rest. 

Whether you are a big fan of squats, pushups, planks or lunges, this workout will check the true capacity of your muscles. Here is how to do it-

  • Choose a workout, it can be pushup, plank or squats
  • Start the timer
  • Continue the workout for 30-seconds.
  • Now take rest for another 30-seconds
  • Repeat the process for 15 rounds.

**If you choose pushups and cant do pushups for 30 seconds then at least hold in the pushup position for 30-seconds.

Beginners: You might want to start with just 10 minutes.


5-10-15 (15-rounds)

It’s a real full-body strength builder that test your muscular endurance. It’s a combination fo 3 most common compound movements. 

  • 5 pullups
  • 10 pushups
  • 15 Squats

Get the minimum rest between sets. 


Tabata workout

It’s a workout that feels easy in the beginning but proves to be really brutal after completing a few sets. 

Tabata workout was primarily developed to shred down stubborn fat but its highly effective for lactic acid training as well.

Tabata workout is just a 4 mins long workout which contains 8 sets. 

Every set lasts for 30 seconds- 20 seconds of workout and followed by 10 seconds of rest. 

Choose your favorite exercise for Tabata training– squatting, jump squats, skipping, planks, etc.


Thanks for reading. Questions welcomed in the comments as always. 

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