Training to maximize lactic acid production can make weight lifting a very effective fat burning exercise. Learn about burning fat with lactate training.
Though it is not known as the best type of exercise for fat burning, weight training can incinerate an impressive number of fat calories under the correct conditions. Weight training to produce lactate, the dehydrogenated form of lactic acid, causes a somewhat uncomfortable burn in the muscles. While this burn is not caused directly by the lactate, the hydrolysis of ATP during its production simultaneously creates an acidic environment in muscles. This mid-set burn is a passable indication that the muscles are producing lactate, but the fat burn that results has little to do with burn of acidity.
Lactate Training and Human Growth Hormone
The fat burning effects of lactate training are due in great part to the release of human growth hormone (HGH), a naturally occurring peptide hormone that promotes fat metabolism. A study in the European Journal of Applied Physiology found a very close correlation between the amount of blood lactate and the amount of plasma HGH, indicating that the level of HGH released follows the concentration of lactate in the blood.
An elegantly designed study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed with reasonable certainty that the changes in HGH during intense exercise are directly stimulated by blood lactate concentration. The study examined plasma HGH levels as patients with McArdle’s disease exercised. Patients with this unique metabolic muscle disease do not produce lactate in response to exercise, so any exercise induced changes in growth hormone levels would be unrelated to lactate. The McArdle’s patients’ blood lactate levels were unchanged as exercise intensity increased, and their HGH levels remained unaffected as well, suggesting that lactate plays a major role in the release of HGH.
Lactate Training Guidelines
When the desired effect is fat loss, weight training should take advantage of the strong link between lactate and HGH levels. Lactate training with weights involves slow repetitions, long sets, and short rest intervals. While the exercises performed are not particularly important, compound movements involve more muscles and usually allow for bigger weights, making them well-suited to the fat-burning cause.
The exercises should be executed slowly, taking three to five seconds for the concentric, or upward, portion of the movement. Each set should be comprised of 12-15 of these slow repetitions. Because of the extended length of the sets, the weights used should be around 75% of those used in typical workouts. Perform a circuit of 3-5 moves, taking 10-15 seconds of rest to transition from one exercise to the next. Repeat the circuit three to five times for maximal lactate buildup.
This type of workout should only be performed once or twice a week, with ordinary training sessions comprising the rest of the week’s workouts. Lactate training can cause incredible discomfort, but working through the burn can produce extraordinary fat loss results.