The Mader Test is an incremental exercise test used to determine the Anaerobic Threshold using blood lactate measures. Blood lactate concentration increases exponentially in relation to exercise intensity, and the point of rapid accumulation is often referred to as the anaerobic threshold. Calculating Anaerobic threshold requires analysis of the lactate/intensity plot. A simpler method was proposed by Mader (1978), using a blood lactate level of 4 mmol/l as the general estimation point of the anaerobic threshold.
purpose: to determine the anaerobic threshold using blood lactate levels.
target population: endurance athletes (middle/long distance runners, cyclists, swimmers, triathletes, rowers)
pre-test: Explain the test procedures to the subject. Perform screening of health risks and obtain informed consent. Prepare forms and record basic information such as age, height, body weight, gender, test conditions. Calibrate the ergometer and blood testing equipment. See more details of pre-test procedures.
procedure: This test can be conducted on any equipment or during any exercise mode. Begin at an easy pace, then at pre-determined intervals increase the workload/intensity. Continue each workload for three minutes. At the end of each speed/workload level, capillary blood is collected from the fingertip or from the ear lobe, and the lactate levels are measured. Heart rate should also be taken at the end of each workload.
results: calculate the workload and heart rate which corresponds to 4.0mmol/l blood lactate, and set training intensities accordingly.
accuracy: This test assumes that the anaerobic threshold is at that level of 4.0 mmol/l blood lactate. However, this is just a general estimation and the actual deflection point can vary.
notes: The Conconi Test uses a similar graded exercise test, though only measuring heart rate and determining a deflection point on the heart rate to workload graph.
- Mader A, Liesen H, Heck H, et al. Zur Beurteilung der sportartspezifischen Ausdauerleistungsfähigkeit im Labor. Sportarzt und Sportmedizin. 1976;27:80–88.
- Mader, A., Heck, H., Hollmann, W. (1978) Evaluation of lactic acid contribution by determination of post-exercise lactic acid concentration of ear capillary blood in middle-distance runners and swimmers. In Landry, F., Orban, W.A.R. (eds.), The International Congress of Physical Activity Sciences 1976, vol. IV, Exercise Physiology, pp 187-200. Florida, Symposia Specialists.
- Heck H, Mader A, Hess G, et al. Justification of the 4-mmol/l lactate threshold. Int J Sports Med. 1985;6:117–130.
- Swimming Step Test — 7 x 200m swim step test used to monitor training and improvements in aerobic conditioning.
- Conconi Test — a somewhat criticized test using a similar graded exercise test measuring only heart rate, and determining a deflection point on the heart rate / workload graph.
- Critical Swim Speed — determining the theoretical swimming speed that can be maintained continuously without exhaustion.