The explanation of having lactic acid is very complex. A few years ago, it was a witness to fatigue, but recently it has been used as an indicator to assess the impact of training. Studies are in progress to try to have a scientific basis because it is complicated to stay on this opinion saying that lactic acid is harmful or a good sign… Moreover, is lactic acid really what we think about (see next paragraph)?
Lactic acid: how does it get there?
A 2001 study by Cazorla and Coll (“Lactate and exercise: myths and realities”) shows that during short and intensive work, anaerobic glycolysis (aerobic route) will degrade glucose into 2 pyruvic acid molecules, the majority of which will be transformed into lactic acid. As soon as lactic acid is formed in the muscle cell, it will be divided into lactate molecules and protons. It is this proton that is causing the acidity in the muscle and not, as is generally said, lactic acid! Be aware that anaerobic glycolysis produces 3 ATPs (muscle fuel). Finally, during recovery, lactate is metabolized, which is different from the fact that it is eliminated.
In other words, what is commonly called “lactic acid” is a proton.
How to reduce lactic acid?
Training is very important on this point because the more the body is used to training, the more muscle acidosis will be delayed (it will always happen at some point). The training of long fractionated (8 x 1′) and/or with a recovery less than the working time (45/30 sec) allows to work on the appearance of lactic acid.
It is necessary to manage the recovery phases well, which allow the muscles to regenerate themselves and thus to start the next training in an optimal way. Indeed, let us imagine a constant effort over several sessions, if from session 2, you have not recovered enough, you will end this one more tired than in session 1, session 3 will start very tired and so on! This is where the overtraining comes in, of which many athletes are victims.
Is lactic acid responsible for cramps or sore muscles?
There is no study that can explain how a cramp happens! Having more lactates is a coincidence. As for stiffness, it usually happens once the muscle is cold, so there is no connection, especially since you can be stiffened without having done any physical work producing lactate (for example, the first run in early August).
The Prepa Physique Team