(This article was originally published on BikeRadar)
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Traditional LT tests involve pricking a rider’s finger every few minutes to measure lactic concentration as power is incrementally increased
In the lab, lactate threshold tests typically involve ramping up power (usually by 20 watts every four minutes), and measuring lactic acid by taking small blood samples from the fingertip, looking for the point when lactic acid starts to spike.
The team behind BSXinsight are hoping that having a portable consumer unit that calculates lactate threshold without the pin pricks — or the lab costs — could find a market among cyclists, runners and triathletes.
The US$299 running version will pair with heart-rate monitors. The US$369 cycling version will pair with heart-rate monitors and power meters, via ANT+, but not cadence sensors, at least for now. And there is also a US$419 multisport version. All come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. BSXinsight is still awaiting product certification approval outside the US, but Freckleton expects to have that soon.
The BSXinsight device comprises an LED emitter plus a pair of photodetectors that measure the scattered light
So does it work?
At FasCat Coaching in Boulder, Colorado on Friday, several high-level coaches gathered for a demonstration. Present among them was Neal Henderson, a veteran coach who was worked with several Olympians and world champions. Henderson said that there is “certainly reason to believe a correlation between muscle oxygenation and lactate threshold, but it is all about the algorithms. I want to see the data under the hood.”
Freckleton said coaches will have access to complete data sets from BSXinsight files, downloadable in .csv files, while consumers can just look at the more layman-friendly dashboard on BSXinsight.com.
At the demonstration, BSXinsight enlisted a local cyclist to perform a LT test using both the pin-prick method and a BSXinsight unit simultaneously. The pin-prick data returned interesting results, with a dip in lactic acid at the 340w mark relative to measurements at 320w and 360w, which several coaches in attendance chalked up to sodium contamination from the rider’s sweat.
Still, Freckleton called the LT power from the pin-prick test at 360w, while using BSXinsight determined the rider’s LT power at 374w. An LT test done the prior week on the same rider at FasCat Coaching resulted in a 355w LT.
Rob Pickels, a sports physiologist at the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine, said that while he “absolutely sees a correlation” between muscle oxygenation and LT, the current technology and science around it “is exploratory.”
But the same goes for lactic acid, he said. “If anyone can tell you specifically what causes fatigue, then they are the smartest person in the world,” Pickels said. The BSXinsight unit, he said, “is very interesting. I’m not ready to say it’s absolutely ready, but I am interested.”
(Images: Ben Huang / Immediate Media)
Would you use a lactate threshold monitor like BSXinsight? Let us know in the comments!