The maximum metabolic steady-state: Definition, measurement, and application

By Dr Ed Maunder and Dr Dan Plews

Recently, we blogged about the importance of the lactate threshold in long-distance triathlon training and performance. As we discussed, the lactate threshold is also referred to as the ‘aerobic threshold’, or VT1 and LT1. In this blog we are going to discuss the importance of the second physiological threshold, commonly referred to as the ‘anaerobic threshold’, ‘lactate turn-point’, or VT2 and LT2 (29). We refer to this second threshold as the ‘maximum metabolic steady-state’ (MMSS), and in this blog, we will explain why.

 The maximum metabolic steady-state

 The MMSS refers to the intensity at which we transition from ‘steady-state’ to ‘non-steady-state’ metabolic responses to prolonged exercise. When we are in a metabolic steady-state, exercising at a constant-power or pace will produce stable responses; that is, muscle and blood lactate concentrations, acid-base...

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The first 'aerobic' threshold: Understanding and practically determining yours for endurance training

By Ed Maunder and Dr Dan Plews

As endurance athletes, we spend a lot of time talking about our ‘thresholds’; “what’s your FTP?” is as ubiquitous in endurance circles as “what’s your bench?” is in strength sport. FTP – or functional threshold power – is a metric gaining increasing footing in training programming and load monitoring in cycling and triathlon. Typically calculated as 95% of an athlete’s best-effort power over 20 min, FTP is used to estimate the second physiological ‘threshold’, which defines the transition from steady-state to non-steady-state physiological responses to exercise. That is, above this second threshold – commonly referred to as the “anaerobic threshold” – physiological variables such as oxygen consumption, circulating lactate concentrations, and muscle and blood acidity cannot stabilise, which means that fatigue inevitably and progressively develops.


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