Whether you call it anaerobic training or high intensity training or any other phrase, I’m talking about high lactic interval work. Stuff that makes you feel the burn in the legs and makes you tie up like no other. Recently, there have been some studies, on not endurance trained participants, that have shown that these short intense workouts help both aerobically and anaerobically! Personal trainers basically think it’s the best workout because you get the best of both worlds (my apologies to Hannah Montana…). Many track coaches latch onto hardcore interval training as being the key to success, especially with HS athletes.

However, over 40 years ago, Lydiard knew there was something wrong with this idea. He speculated that the increase in acidity (a decrease in pH) could cause harm to aerobic components in the athlete’s muscle. He wasn’t some scientists so the physiology guru’s would spit back research that said otherwise to counter his ideas. Well, as always it seems, Lydiard, and the guys going off experience, may just well have been right.

A recent study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, found that acidosis may interfere with mitochondrial biogenesis.

You can find the abstract HERE

I’ll give you a layman’s terms summary. Basically, they compared a cycling workout’s effect on PGC-1 under induced acidosis conditions and normal conditions. So essentially, they compared the same workouts training effect under normal and high acidity conditions. PGC-1 basically regulates mitochondria creation. So, it’s basically the signal that tells the body to start producing more mitochondria.

What happened is significant. They found that the SAME workout had much less of an effect if it was done under induced acidosis. PGC-1 was 2-3 times higher after the non-acidosis workout than with the acidosis workout.

What does this all mean? Basically, high acidosis may interfear with mitochondria production…..Just like Lydiard thought all those years ago.

Get My New Guide on: The Science of Creating Workouts


    1. Anonymous on April 18, 2009 at 3:31 am

      Too long sitting in a car before a race the next day- but I wish you luck on the next one and keep up the good posts. Really enjoy them.

    2. Omede on September 24, 2010 at 11:58 pm

      Okay, so I'm a cyclist.
      From what I've gathered on your website I've decided to include some high intensity earlier in the training year.
      Would you recommend that any power work, for example a few 30 second jumps with long recovery, be done on the same day as a longer endurance ride? My question is whether the acidosis from the sprints would interfere with the aerobic building nature of the base miles.

      Or is it not really a problem because the large recovery means acidosis won't be very high for long?

      Great website by the way, you've exposed the holes in simple cookie-cutter training plans (cough cyclist's training bible) and given me a lot of headaches by making this self-coaching thing more difficult, but better to be burdened by the truth I suppose.

    3. Omede on October 2, 2010 at 4:13 am

      Although you haven't responded to my question I thought I would show you this as it might trigger some good nostalgia for you.


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