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Training for endurance in sport and fitness
Training for endurance in sport and fitness

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3 Endurance exercise: physiological determinants

An image of an athlete riding a time-trial bike.
Figure 2 Physiological determinants of endurance exercise.

Although various physiological variables may contribute to endurance performance, the four key physiological determinants of endurance exercise are (according to Joyner and Coyle, 2008; Blumkaitis et al., 2016):

  1. VO2 max: the maximum amount of oxygen that the body can use
  2. lactate threshold: the exercise intensity and/or speed at which the body produces more lactate than it can remove
  3. exercise economy: the energetic cost of exercise
  4. anaerobic power and/or capacity: the ability to sustain a high level of force.

To understand how to train for endurance effectively you need to understand the importance of these determinants for endurance exercise.