Physiology of Endurance Exercise Performance
The physiology of endurance performance section provides detailed information on the key components of endurance exercise performance including the VO2max, the lactate threshold, the sustainable % VO2max, the velocity at VO2max, and exercise economy/economy of motion
An endurance sport is any sport where there is a requirement to sustain an activity level whilst enduring a level of physical stress. A number of physiological factors affect success in endurance sports including the efficiency of energy systems, aerobic capacity, lactate threshold, muscle strength, power and muscular endurance.
The Lactate Threshold (anaerobic threshold or maximum lactate steady state) describes an exercise intensity where blood lactate levels begins to rise above above baseline levels. It has been shown to be a very good predictor of endurance exercise performance and is considered to be a key training intensity for endurance events.
The VO2max or maximal oxygen uptake is a key measure of aerobic fitness. A high VO2max indicate greater aerobic fitness and can explain differences in performance between individuals. A high VO2max is important for success in endurance sports like cycling, running, cross country skiing, triathlon, and duathlons.
The Velocity at VO2max (vVO2max) is the minimum velocity where the maximal oxygen uptake occurs. It’s strongly linked to success in a range of endurance running events and is often used as key training intensity. Importantly, we can improve the velocity at VO2max through specific training.
Muscular endurance refers to the ability of a muscle, or groups of muscles, to repeatedly exert a force for an extended period of time. An athlete with greater muscular endurance will be able to complete more work, or exercise at a higher intensity, for a longer period of time.