European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 107, Issue 2, pp 187–192 | Cite as

Time to exhaustion at maximal lactate steady state is similar for cycling and running in moderately trained subjects

  • Piero FontanaEmail author
  • Urs Boutellier
  • Claudia Knöpfli-Lenzin
Original Article


We compared time to exhaustion (t lim) at maximal lactate steady state (MLSS) between cycling and running, investigated if oxygen consumption, ventilation, blood lactate concentration, and perceived exertion differ between the exercise modes, and established whether MLSS can be determined for cycling and running using the same criteria. MLSS was determined in 15 moderately trained men (30 ± 6 years, 77 ± 6 kg) by several constant-load tests to exhaustion in cycling and running. Heart rate, oxygen consumption, and ventilation were recorded continuously. Blood lactate concentration and perceived exertion were measured every 5 min. t lim (37.7 ± 8.9 vs. 34.4 ± 5.4 min) and perceived exertion (7.2 ± 1.7 vs. 7.2 ± 1.5) were similar for cycling and running. Heart rate (165 ± 8 vs. 175 ± 10 min−1; P < 0.01), oxygen consumption (3.1 ± 0.3 vs. 3.4 ± 0.3 l min−1; P < 0.001) and ventilation (93 ± 12 vs. 103 ± 16 l min−1; P < 0.01) were lower for cycling compared to running, respectively, whereas blood lactate concentration (5.6 ± 1.7 vs. 4.3 ± 1.3 mmol l−1; P < 0.05) was higher for cycling. t lim at MLSS is similar for cycling and running, despite absolute differences in heart rate, ventilation, blood lactate concentration, and oxygen consumption. This may be explained by the relatively equal cardiorespiratory demand at MLSS. Additionally, the similar t lim for cycling and running allows the same criteria to be used for determining MLSS in both exercise modes.


Endurance capacity tlim Exercise modes Submaximal performance 



We thank Dr. Ruth Briggs for commenting on the manuscript and revising the grammar. The experiments comply with the current laws of Switzerland.

Conflict of interest statement



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Piero Fontana
    • 1
    Email author
  • Urs Boutellier
    • 1
    • 2
  • Claudia Knöpfli-Lenzin
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Exercise Physiology, Institute of Human Movement SciencesETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of Physiology, Zurich Center for Integrative Human Physiology (ZIHP)University of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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