That Triathlon Show | EP#169 - FTP, VO2max and VLaMax


On the professional spectrum those would be sort of low/medium/high yes. Or from what I’ve understood, 0.6 is already a bit towards the high side actually. A great example is, what does it takes to win an event like a single-day spring classic. That would be a medium sort of profile. And again, from my understanding, the “benchmark” for that spring classics specialist might be 0.5 or so. And similarly, for draft-legal triathletes.

0.3 seems very achievable for normal age-groupers. I started using these concepts in my coaching and in my own training roughly a year ago, and now that I have data from some of my athletes for whom I’ve tried to lower VLaMax, I can see that several of them, and also myself, are right at that 0.30 mark. Both front- and midpack triathletes.

I currently don’t coach anybody specialising in draft-legal triathlon, so I’ve never really tried to increase VLaMax for anybody, but my understanding is that it would be much more difficult to increase VLaMax, it is tied in so much to muscle fiber distribution which is to a large extent genetic, so I’m pretty sure no matter how much I tried to change it I might personally get to 0.6 at best. Dan Lorang also has talked about this in the context of jumping back and forth between draft-legal short course triathlon and long course non-draft. It’s very possible to have great success when moving up the distance to long-course if you train right. Lowering VLaMax takes work, but it is quite achievable. But if we have somebody who focuses on Ironman for 3 years and then wants to go back to Olympic distance racing, that is much more difficult, and they might not be able to race the same way they used to.

Thanks, haha. Very slowly getting better. Trust me, had I been training I would not have been hanging out on the forums here as much this last week. It’s been interesting to experience what it’s like to have some spare time :sweat_smile:


I don’t think that that is correct, it just looks that way because of the axes scales. For many amateurs even reaching a VO2max of 65 might not be possible.


I opted for finger. Like i said, going from memory but remember last reading not being the highest, but I’ll be getting the data soon. I do want to note, that I’m not trying to use this current information as much as prescriptive for my next few months but more descriptive of where I am. Since qualitatively it does match with my current power curve and other traits. These result are mostly confirming what i already knew about what I’m trying to focus on to get faster, improve VO2 max, maybe a little bit of pure anaerobic power (I focus on xterra) but since there’s still a run after the bike, I don’t want to overpace myself and have nothing in the tank. I’ll usually have a little 30s surges above 120%, but a lot of 15s surges above 120%


This screen grab is great. Really helps summarize things on what kind of training best targets the adaptation you’re after.

I’d love to see something with an added column for “effect on fatmax”.

Knowing the training to best move the needle on a combo of VO2 max, VLaMax (which together drive FTP) and Fatmax (which helps preserve glycogen for long races), I’d have many of the pieces (I think) to inform my training for Leadville.

I think its something like the following:

VO2max: endurance rides, and VO2 intervals
VLaMax: long sweetspot intervals (to “convert” type IIx - or type IIb in the older nomenclature - to type IIa, so they produce less lactate).
FatMax: endurance rides, plus VO2 training.

Question then is the training distribution… which probably is best informed by my current fitness/physiology. For TSS reasons, I think roughly a pyramid distribution is a good place to start - which is about what I’ve been doing, and planning to do. Will see how it goes I guess.

I’ll be using the TR low volume plans, and augmenting with outside endurance rides.


Thanks for participating. Your contributions have been super insightful. :+1:t3:


Most improvements in Fatmax will come directly from either 1) increased VO2max or 2) decreased VLaMax. It’s absolutely impossible to have a high fatmax if VO2max is low and VLaMax is high. Interestingly, for the same FTP, in terms of FatMax it’s better to have that FTP consist of a lower VO2max and lower VLaMax than to be higher in both of those. So if Fatmax is an important variable in an athlete’s target events and they are “well-rounded” and can choose between working on VO2max or VLaMax from an FTP-perspective, then the added benefit of improved Fatmax by getting that improved FTP by lowering VLaMax can be seen as a tiebreaker I guess.

I see it as quite interesting that in the current LCHF-craze you get so many people focusing 90% of their energy on how and what they eat in the name of becoming “fat-adapted”, and only 10% of that energy on training. Given that training is the major determinant of fat oxidation this is IMO completely backwards. But as a consumer of information, it helps filter out what to consume and what to ignore at least.

Cheers, these forums are great! So many fantastic discussions going on and a lot of super smart people.


Apparently the author for this study is well-versed in Sebastian’s work. There was a goal to track VLaMax in this study as I was tested over until reaching Peak Lactate during passive rest. So my memory was only a little off… The baseline was significantly lower on the true measurement days. The first session won’t be very accurate since I accidentally unplugged the kickr during the first test, so had to repeat it.


Fascinating. I’ve seen this test done once in real life and it took us 6 or 7 minutes until peak lactate oncentration (only 7 or 8 mmol/l for that athlete) was reached. We measured from the earlobe, which I think tends to show slightly lower values (not sure though), and perhaps there might also be a difference between finger and earlobe when it comes to how quickly the lactate goes from the muscles to the sample site? Logically I wouldn’t think it makes that much of a difference once it’s out in the bloodstream, but I don’t know.


I see what you mean. I also didn’t take into account the relative ease of improving either aspect or standard baselines/genetic maxes


Thank you for this thread. If I understand it right, it might help explain why I find certain types of TR workouts harder than I think they are supposed to be. (On the other hand, there is still a strong possibility that I am just a big wimp.)

@DaveWh had a great suggestion about how this might be used in TR to tailor workout types and intensities for a specific athlete ( Do others agree?


This post describes the tests INSCYD uses.


Do we know how frequently the testing should be repeated? Having become accustomed to performing a ramp test every month or so, it seems like INSCYD could get pretty expensive.


I asked the same question and my understanding is that you really don’t test as frequently as you would test FTP. VLamax moves more slowly. In the process you’re still using the usual measures of progress: how workouts feel, PD curve, performance.

A related question I had was once your zones are established, do they move in unison from that point forward. So your percentages will differ from mine. But once an athlete knows their zones can I except (for example) my FatMax zone to go up 10% if my whatever other zone (in same system) has gone up 10%


Latecomer to the thread (will attempt to digest later) but I did find the podcast excellent. I’ve also briefly looked at your site Mikael and it’s excellent, some super content on there.

Just need to decide whether to get lab tested or use your INSCYD capabilities now!


This seems like it could be a fairly big deal for a community obsessed with FTP. Maybe Mikael could make a guest appearance on the AACC podcast.


I’m not sure how many subscribers TR has, or indeed how many would consider paying for INSCYD testing but building this in / partnering up would surely be a good idea?

Once you’ve been given your results you could choose a TR plan to suit. This would likely be a better starting point than just using the ramp test to set generic FTP zones. I’ll add to this that TR is effective but this would be the best of both worlds.

Using myself as an example, I’m looking to do 1-2 hour road racing during spring - summer but then also Hill climbs later in the year (sept-Oct). It’d be fantastic to understand what’s happening inside my body to train correctly with TR at the right time.


Thanks for all the insights, great podcast.
This was all starting to make sense, until I read this article:,78,33950,1,1.html

In summary:

  • 30 second all out sprint training (what I would assume is v. anaerobic in nature) results in a decrease__emphasized text in VLAmax. Is this not the opposite of what is implied in the podcast?
  • Traditional endurance training (albeit low volume) increases V02max (expected), but has no impact on VLAmax (not expected?).

I’d be interested to know people’s thoughts on this


I’d also be interested to know what people think about different modes of resistance training:

  • Low rep, high weight - I would assume this is short enough to not even stress the anaerobic system, therefore perhaps no impact on V02max or VLAmax? Considering this mode of training has been shown to improve endurance performance, can we assume that it at least doesn’t have a negative impact on the VLAmax: V02max relationship?

  • High rep, moderate weight or exposive (plyometrics) - Anaerobic in nature, therefore increase VLAmax?


I thought that study was a good read.

Interesting that the ET group saw a good increase in VO2max (61 -> 66.7) despite only doing 3 hours of training per week for 6 weeks. They were already at a good level to start with.

What power level (as %age of PMLSS) would 1.5-2.5 mmol/L lactate equate to? Can we calculate this from the data in the paper?


I think 2mmo/L is often used as an approximation for lower lactate threshold, so somewhere around 75% of PMLSS, or endurance riding in trainer road terms.