European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 118, Issue 7, pp 1493–1505 | Cite as

Lactate kinetics in handcycling under various exercise modalities and their relationship to performance measures in able-bodied participants

  • Oliver J. Quittmann
  • Thomas Abel
  • Sebastian Zeller
  • Tina Foitschik
  • Heiko K. Strüder
Original Article



The aim of this study was to expand exercise testing in handcycling by (1) examining different approaches to determine lactate kinetics in handcycling under various exercise modalities and (2) identifying relationships between parameters of lactate kinetics and selected performance measures.


Twelve able-bodied nationally competitive triathletes performed a familiarisation, a sprint test, an incremental step test, and a continuous load trial at a power output corresponding to a lactate concentration (La) of 4 mmol l−1 (PO4) in a racing handcycle that was mounted on an ergometer. During the tests, La and heart rate (HR) were determined. As performance measures, maximal power output during the 15-s All-Out sprint test (POmax,AO15) and maximal power output during the incremental test (POmax,ST) were determined. As physiological parameters, coefficients of lactate kinetics, maximal lactate accumulation rate (\(\dot {V}\)Lamax), maximal La following the sprint test and incremental test (Lamax,AO15, Lamax,ST) and the increase in La within the last 20 min of the continuous trial (LaCrit,CT) were determined.


Mean values of POmax,AO15 (545.6 ± 69.9 W), POmax,ST (131.3 ± 14.9 W), PO4 (86.73 ± 12.32 W), \(\dot {V}\)Lamax (0.45 ± 0.11 mmol l−1 s−1), Lamax,AO15 (6.64 ± 1.32 mmol l−1), Lamax,ST (9.64 ± 2.24 mmol l−1) and LaCrit,CT (0.74 ± 0.74 mmol l−1) were in accordance to literature. \(\dot {V}\)Lamax was positively correlated with Lamax,AO15 and POmax,AO15 and negatively correlated with POmax,ST. POmax,ST was negatively correlated with Lamax,AO15. PO4 was negatively correlated with Lamax,ST.


\(\dot {V}\)Lamax was identified as a promising parameter for exercise testing in handcycling that can be supplemented by other parameters describing lactate kinetics following a sprint test.


Exercise testing Diagnostics \(\dot {V}\)Lamax Lactic power Lactate threshold Paralympic sport 



Amplitude parameter describing post-exercise lactate kinetics of the 15-s All-Out test


Adenosine triphosphate


Body mass index (kg m− 2)


Increase in power output with each step of the incremental step test (W 5 min− 1)


Linear coefficient of the quadratic polynomial for the incremental step test


Quadratic coefficient of the quadratic polynomial for the incremental step test


Cross-sectional area


European Society of Cardiology


Proton (H+-Ion)




High-intensity interval training


Heart rate (min−1)


Velocity constant describing the exchange of lactate from the previously active muscles


Velocity constant describing the removal of lactate during passive recovery


Lactate concentration (mmol·l−1)


Lactate concentration at rest


Lactate concentration for a given power output


Lactate concentration at a given time


Maximal increase in lactate concentration within the last 20 min of the continuous load test


Maximal lactate concentration after the 15-s All-Out sprint trial


Maximal lactate concentration within the continuous load test


Maximal lactate concentration within the incremental step test


Lactate threshold


Monocarboxylate transporter


Moderate intensity continuous training


Maximal lactate steady state


Mean value


Probability of committing a type I error


Creatine phosphate




Power output (W)


Power output equivalent to a lactate concentration of 4 mmol·l−1


Power output within the last (unfinished) step of the incremental step test


Maximal power output within the 15-s All-Out test


Maximal power output within the incremental step test


Correlation coefficient


Determination coefficient (%)


Rate of perceived exertion


Spinal cord injury


Standard deviation


Period at the beginning of exercise for which no lactate formation is assumed (s)


Exercise duration within the last (unfinished) step of the incremental step test (s)


Prescribed duration of each step during the incremental step test (5 min ≙ 300 s) (s)


Technical error (%)

\(\dot {V}\)Lamax

Maximal lactate accumulation rate (lactic power) (mmol·l−1·s−1)

\(\dot {V}\)O2max

Maximal oxygen consumption (aerobic power) (ml min−1 kg−1)



The authors would like to thank all participants who took part in this study for their patience and commitment. There were no funding sources for the present article.

Author contributions

OJQ and TA conceived and designed research. OJQ conducted experiments. TA conducted medical background during experiments. OJQ contributed new analytical tools. OJQ analyzed data. OJQ wrote the manuscript. TA, TF and SZ reviewed the manuscript. All authors read and approved the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest regarding the publication of this article.

Supplementary material

421_2018_3879_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (12 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 12 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Oliver J. Quittmann
    • 1
  • Thomas Abel
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sebastian Zeller
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tina Foitschik
    • 1
  • Heiko K. Strüder
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Movement and NeurosciencesGerman Sport University CologneCologneGermany
  2. 2.European Research Group in Disability Sport (ERGiDS)CologneGermany

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