Buying a lactate meter


I think about to buy a lactate meter to do lactatetests by myself (with help from another person).

LT1 around 2mmol/L and LT2 around 4mmol/L

A test protocol for example starting with 120w and every 3min increasing by 3min.
Every 3min some blood in the meter and put it in excel…it really is that easy or is it a bad idea? :smiley:

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Well… I am sure this might stir up debate.
But I follow / read-up alot on what Tim Podlagar (he was on the podcast) says.

I am paraphrasing massively here, but 4mmol/L threshold is wrong, due to the way the original study was conducted.
Lactate threshold in any case does not help set or lead to better training zones.

The 2mmol/L and 4mmol/L limits where from flawed studies and they have just kicked about for years.

So you will end up with data, but id save the money to use for something more useful.

But this is based on the studies / findings from Tim and what he believes, along with my own reading on the subject. i.e. its just a N+1 opinion.


Long running and informative thread here:

Also, within the ISM thread, several folks finding value in finding LT1, which as @jondixon correctly points out, IS NOT 2mmol/L (it’s historical and is no longer considered LT1).

To answer your question, I think it’s a good idea if you’re curious, willing to do some extra work/research, have a thick skin (literally and figuratively), can find a “mentor”, and can also use it for running and swimming. If you’re a cyclist (not triathlete), not sure if the juice is worth the squeeze.

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Could you expand on this?. Not disagreeing. Just curious what the argument is here. Thanks.

Funny to see this misinformation here. OBLA (4 mmol/L) certainly has it’s limits, but there was nothing “flawed” about any of the studies that used that simplified approach.

Ditto for use of 2 mmol/L as a marker of so-called LT1 - there’s dozens of different ways of attempting to identify this point, with none really being any more accepted than any other.

(Bonus points for the first person to find where the use of 2.2 mmol/L originated.)

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Happy to answer any questions anyone has about my experience with lactate over the last few years privately. I’m muting this thread.

No it is not a bad idea. I have one and utilize it to perform lactate testing on a 4m ramp test protocol which includes a lactate balance point test immediately after. Creates a very helpful lactate curve, helps you understand your lactate responses to training, and provides a great metric to compare ramp test to ramp test to see where you are improving.

I think it is hilarious, and I’m one of those people, that we will drop $2,000 on a set of wheels that might be fractionally lighter instead of spending about $350 bucks on a training tool used by like every professional coach to help their athletes.

The 2 and 4 mmol/L comments are correct that it doesn’t work out that way for everyone. I think they are highly useful especially if you either know how to use the data or have access to someone that can help you with the data and training strategies based off of it.

If I remember correctly I priced out a lactate test locally and it was like $125 -$150 USD. Basically in one testing session for my wife and I we paid for the meter and now with a Kickr and our meter we could perform them for our friends for a fee.


A friend who was trained by ISM said that field lacate test was only thing he used to estimate LT2 and not just that, he fixed it to 4mmol/L…

I think that lactate meter is a really good thing to have but you have to use it properly… I use it outside and indoor.

And just a few tips:

  1. 6min is minimal interval to get stabilised lactate level
  2. Do it “fasted” (last meal 3h prior)
  3. Don’t use 2.0 mmol/L for LT1, measure base lactate level before testing, start low and use max 20-30w for ramp steps, look at your chart and see where your lactate levels go above baseline and use this value for LT1.
  4. For LT2 see on the chart at arround which step curve is not anymore linear and then use this value for MLSS testing to get more “precise” LT2

This :100:. You have the data to use, don’t need some dichotomous threshold :slight_smile:

I would say that one can easily find threshold with a good FTP test. It may even be the preferable way to find MLSS wattage.

For LT1, you can use the traditional zone 2, the “Talk Test” per San Millan, or any other number of recipes for estimating it. I don’t think that having a bang on LT1 number is going to fundamentally alter cycling training or how fit one can get.

I’ve wanted a lactate meter myself but these days I think it may be less useful than I orginally thought it would be. It would be fun to geek out with but I don’t think it’s going to change training much at all.

My question was mostly about the distinction between Tri vs Cycling as a criteria for determine usefulness, proposed by @tshortt

I’ll chime in as I do lactate testing. Using 2 or 4mm/L is not advisable practice, it various too greatly person to person and those fixed numbers are not a benchmark. You need to pay attention to the lactate curve and you can determine the LT1/2. Use at least 5 min step tests. You should also look to find your balance point as its arguably just as important.

I’ve been thinking about getting one myself to tinker with, and I came across this one

Does anyone have any experience with this one or does anyone have enough experience with lactate meters to determine if this is good enough to do some tinkering with? I understand a Lactate Scout 4, which is probably used the most by both pros and amateurs, is probably better but it’s also 3-4 times the price…

Thank you for al the replies. I have make the descision to not buying a lactate meter.

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Are you in the US? is where I bought my Lactate Plus which is one of the meters recommended by Steve Neal. How much is the sensacore? I didn’t see the price on their site. You also want to check how much strips are as that is an ongoing cost for them.

I’m in Belgium :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: it’s 120 Euros and a pack of 50 strips is (with a discount now) 89 Euros so it’s a lot cheaper then the Lactate Plus or Lactate Scouts which indeed seem to be used the most.

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So I’ve been playing around with a Lactate meter. Is resting of 2mmol normal? Thought that was the first aerobic threshold! Am I that unfit :joy:


First of all, 2mmol is NOT AeT/LT1. It is really outdated to assign fixed La concentrations to thresholds

Resting La is not that strongly dependend on training status
Resting La is highly influenced by chronic and acute diet. You should do your first testings with not having eaten anything for 3 to 4 hours.
La will often drop with the first few steps in a graded test. Only if you’re really unfit it will rise immediately. A higher value at rest is not unusual, your 2 mmol seem reasonable.
Taking a sample from the finger reads ~0.3mmol (on average) higher than from the earlobe.
As a beginner with La testing it is very likely that you mess up your measurements. Always wipe away the first drop of blood. Dont’t touch the skin when sampling. There is a learning curve, an expensive learning curve given the cost of the strips.

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Example for this slight decrease initially. And this is lab grade ear testing … i think

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Can you expand on this statement? Since FTP is basically an estimate of power at MLSS (or something very close to this), why is this not helpful for setting training zones? Or are you simply saying that FTP is good enough, and measuring MLSS isn’t an improvement on that?

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