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What are Lactate Production Swim Sets?

When we engage in activity of any sort, the movement of our bodies is entirely dependent upon the working mechanics of our musculoskeletal systems.

Any movement, from our heart beating, to getting out of bed in the morning, to swimming, depends upon the proper contraction of the more than 600 muscles that are spread out over the body. While we are swimming, there are two main systems that the body uses to fuel the contractions that allow for the use of these muscles to occur: the Aerobic system, and the Anaerobic system. Every cell in the body is fueled by a molecule called ATP (Adenosine triphosphate), both the Aerobic and Anaerobic systems produce ATP. However, for different intensities of exertion, sometimes the body must use different processes to create it.

Simply put, the Aerobic system is used when the muscles have access to oxygen. When during exercise there is enough time for the oxygen in our breath to reliably reach our muscles, our cells can use the oxygen to produce ATP. This system allows for consistent energy for the muscles for longer term use spanning from minutes to hours. Until we reach puberty this is actually the only way our muscles can produce energy.

The Anaerobic system is then for when the activity is strenuous enough that there is not enough time for enough oxygen to continuously reach the muscles, so instead the body relies upon the energy stores that are already present. In this case, it is the breakdown of primarily glucose to fuel the muscles, and as a result of this less efficient energy production, Anaerobic exercise begins to produce Lactic acid after about 10 seconds of high intensity energy production. This is the energy system your body uses when you are sprinting, and can typically provide energy for up to around 90 seconds.

The feeling of Lactic acid building up is what causes you to sometimes feel bad after racing or doing any sort of high intensity exercise for a short while. If the body’s capacity for Lactic acid is reached, and too much accumulates in your bloodstream, the body will even begin dumping the acid into the stomach. This can sometimes even result in throwing up if we do not take proper care of ourselves when exercising. Which is why it is so important to cool down after engaging in strenuous activity such as sprinting. The movement helps the body dissipate the build up of lactic acid without having to take such drastic measures, and allows us to reset our Lactic acid threshold much sooner than we would be able to otherwise.

This brings us to the concept of Lactate sets in practice, or as any sort of training tool. The build up of acid in the body can feel noticeably uncomfortable, and it can be beneficial to replicate the conditions where an athlete feels it while training, so that they can get used to dealing with the sensation. This means that a lactate set will have high intensity sprints with large amounts of rest without any easy swimming or cool down in between, so that Lactic acid will build up within the body. However, it should be noted that prior to puberty, the body does not even have a lactic system. Meaning that using this training tool only has any use for athletes old enough to be able to utilize it.

Here are two lactate production sets you can try:

10 x 50 All Out Off the Blocks on 4:00


6 x 100 All Out Off the Blocks on 8:00

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