Does critical swimming velocity represent exercise intensity at maximal lactate steady state?

  • Kohji Wakayoshi
  • Takayoshi Yoshida
  • Masao Udo
  • Takashi Harada
  • Toshio Moritani
  • Yoshiteru Mutoh
  • Mitsumasa Miyashita


The purpose of this investigation was to determine whether the critical swimming velocity (νcrit), which is employed in competitive swimming, corresponds to the exercise intensity at maximal lactate steady state.νcrit is defined as the swimming velocity which could theoretically be maintained forever without exhaustion and expression as the slope of a regression line between swimming distances covered and the corresponding times. A total of eight swimmers were instructed to swim two different distances (200 m and 400 m) at maximal effort and the time taken to swim each distance was measured. In the present study,νcrit is calculated as the slope of the line connecting the two times required to swim 200 m and 400 m. vcrit determined by this new simple method was correlated significantly with swimming velocity at 4 mmol · 1−1 of blood lactate concentration (r = 0.914,P < 0.01) and mean velocity in the 400m freestyle (r = 0.977,P < 0.01). In the maximal lactate steady-state test, the subjects were instructed to swim 1600 m (4 x 400 m) freestyle at three constant velocities (98010, 100% and 102070 ofνcrit). At 100%νcrit blood lactate concentration showed a steady-state level of approximately 3.2 mmol · 1 from the first to the third stage and at 98% ofνcrit lactate concentration had a tendency to decrease significantly at the fourth stage. On the other hand, at 102% ofνcrit, blood lactate concentration increased progressively and those of the third and fourth stages were significantly higher than those at 100% ofνcrit (P<0.05). These data suggest thatνcrit, which can be calculated by performing two timed, maximal effort swimming tests, may correspond to the exercise intensity at maximal lactate steady state.

Key words

Competitive swimming Critical swimming velocity Maximal lactate steady state Onset of blood lactate accumulation Maximal oxygen uptake 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kohji Wakayoshi
    • 1
  • Takayoshi Yoshida
    • 2
  • Masao Udo
    • 2
  • Takashi Harada
    • 3
  • Toshio Moritani
    • 4
  • Yoshiteru Mutoh
    • 5
  • Mitsumasa Miyashita
    • 5
  1. 1.Laboratory of Motor Behavioral Education, Faculty of Health and Sport SciencesOsaka UniversityOsakaJapan
  2. 2.Laboratory of Exercise Physiology, Faculty of Health and Sport SciencesOsaka UniversityOsakaJapan
  3. 3.Laboratory for Exercise Physiology and Biomechanics, School of Physical EducationChukyo UniversityAichiJapan
  4. 4.Laboratory of Applied Physiology, College of Liberal Arts and SciencesKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  5. 5.Laboratory for Exercise Physiology, Biomechanics and Sports SciencesUniversity of TokyoTokyoJapan

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