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Cardiopulmonary, blood metabolite and rating of perceived exertion responses to constant exercises performed at different intensities until exhaustion
  1. Flávio O Pires1,
  2. Timothy D Noakes2,
  3. Adriano E Lima-Silva3,
  4. R Bertuzzi1,
  5. Carlos Ugrinowitsch1,
  6. Fabio S Lira4,
  7. Maria Augusta P D M Kiss1
  1. 1Department of Sports, School of Physical Education and Sport, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
  2. 2MRC/UCT Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, Department of Human Biology, University of Cape Town, Sports Science Institute of South Africa, Newlands, South Africa
  3. 3Sports Science Research Group, Federal University of Alagoas, Maceió, Brazil
  4. 4Division of Nutrition Physiology, Department of Physiology, Federal University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
  1. Correspondence to Pires F, School of Physical Education and Sport, University of São Paulo, Prof Mello Moraes avenue, 65 – Butantã, São Paulo, SP 05508-030, Brazil; piresfo{at}


Objective This study analysed cardiopulmonary, metabolic and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) responses during exercise bouts performed below, at and above the second lactate threshold (LT2) intensity.

Methods 10 healthy men performed constant workloads to exhaustion at the first lactate threshold (LT1), LT2 and 25% of the difference between LT2 and maximal aerobic power output (TW25%) identified during an incremental test. The time to exhaustion (TE) was 93.8 (18.0), 44.5 (16.0) and 22.8 (10.6) min at LT1, LT2 and TW25%, respectively (p < 0.001). Metabolic and cardiopulmonary parameters and RPE data were time normalised to the exercise bout duration. The correlation between the slope of these variables and TE was calculated.

Results Differences were found for respiratory exchange ratio (RER), RPE and potassium at LT1; RER, RPE, norepinephrine and potassium at LT2; and ventilation, respiratory rate (RR), RPE, lactate and potassium at TW25%. Except for RR, no cardiopulmonary or metabolic parameter increased significantly after 50% of the exercise duration, indicating a physiological steady state. VO2, heart rate and lactate at exhaustion in all exercise bouts were significantly lower than values reached in the maximal incremental test. The slope of most metabolic variables was not correlated to TE in LT1, LT2 and TW25%, whereas the slope of RPE was significantly correlated to TE (r = −0.72 to −0.84; p < 0.05) for the three exercise intensities.

Conclusion Contrary to traditional suggestions, exercise at LT1, LT2 and TW25% intensities is performed and terminated in the presence of an overall physiological steady state.

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  • Funding This study received financial support from the FAPESP (Foundation of Aids to Scientific Research of the State of São Paulo, Brazil), process 2006/60641-6. TDN is supported by the Discovery Health, the Medical Research Council and the University of Cape Town.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the University of São Paulo.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.