T Nation

Lactate Inducing Workout at Home?


To do a lactate incuding workout, can it be done by doing bodyweight exercises only? continuos squat thrusts, pushups etc?

Any ideas?


Try some pyramid style workouts, for example:

or a little easier:


would this fulfill the criteria of being a lactate inducing workout then?

is circuit training basically a form of lactate inducing workouts?



From my understanding, yes.


  1. Lactate-inducing training

Coach Poliquin was the first one to bring to light the physiological fact that there's a direct correlation between the amount of lactate produced and the output of growth hormone. This is the basis of his German Body Composition I and II programs as growth hormone is a highly lypolitic (stimulates the release of fatty acids) and anti-catabolic (muscle defender) hormone.

It's also one of the reasons why 200 and 400m runners are so lean: these distances lead to a giant lactate production spanning over the whole body (a maximum 400m race has often been described as hell on earth). Other athletes who do a lot of anaerobic lactic work include basketball and hockey players, who are also quite lean.

In some regards, applying this concept to weight training does have something in common with the preceding "idiotic" approach: it generally relies on slightly higher rep ranges. Why? Because lactate production is at its highest in sets lasting around 50-70 seconds. So if each repetition lasts 4 seconds (let's say a 3 seconds eccentric and 1 second concentric), hitting the ideal time under tension for lactate production requires 12-18 reps per set.

However, the differences between this approach and the first one are that you drastically reduce the rest intervals (shoot for 30 seconds), normally alternate exercises for muscle groups that are "far away" from each other (to increase overall whole-body lactate production), and don't use too much volume per muscle group (in a typical bodybuilding "cutting program" you might do 20+ sets per body part).

The short rest intervals and use of multiple muscles per session jack up lactate levels, which increase GH production. So compared to the traditional "cutting" approach, this second method is more effective at stimulating fat loss and protecting muscle mass.


Lactate-inducing lifting

The objective of a lactate-inducing session is to stimulate growth hormone release (as well as burn a lot of calories for fuel) via a whole-body lactate production. The more the number of muscles are involved in the process, the more effective the session will be. So in that regard we should respect these guidelines:

  1. Work the whole body

  2. Minimize rest-intervals (or maximize the work-to-rest ratio)

  3. Use sets lasting 50-70 seconds (12-20 reps)

  4. Alternate exercises for muscle groups that are far away from each other and "unrelated"

The approach I recommend is a derivative of Bob Gajda's Peripheral Heart Action training (PHA), which is an early form of circuit training that Gajda used to win the 1966 Mr. America bodybuilding title. You'll perform two or three different circuits of 5 exercises per day, each circuit being performed three times. There's no rest between the exercises within the same circuit and you can rest for 1-2 minutes once all three sets of a circuit have been completed.

CIRCUIT A (12-15 reps per set)

A1. Horizontal pushing exercise
A2. Quads-dominant exercise
A3. Horizontal pulling exercise
A4. Hamstrings-dominant exercise
A5. Abdominal exercise

No rest between exercises within the circuit (or as little as possible). Perform the circuit three times.

CIRCUIT B (15-20 reps per set)

B1. Vertical pushing exercise
B2. Quads-dominant exercise
B3. Vertical pulling exercise
B4. Hamstrings-dominant exercise
B5. Abdominal exercise

No rest between exercises within the circuit (or as little as possible). Perform the circuit three times.

CIRCUIT C �?? OPTIONAL (15-20 reps per set)

C1. Biceps exercise
C2. Calves exercise
C3. Triceps exercise
C4. Abdominal exercise
C5. Shoulder isolation exercise

No rest between exercises within the circuit (or as little as possible). Perform the circuit three times.

The lactate-inducing sessions are performed twice a week; they should not be performed before a heavy lifting session to avoid a decrease in performance. Limit strength is something that cannot be trained efficiently in a fatigued state. So far a weekly schedule would look like this:

Day 1: Heavy lifting chest/back

Day 2: Lactate-inducing workout 1

Day 3: OFF

Day 4: Heavy lifting quads/hams

Day 5: OFF

Day 6: Lactate-inducing workout 2

Day 7: OFF


In my experience, you know an exercise is lactate producing if you feel the burn in your muscle. The best way to get that is to do relatively high sets with relatively low rest intervals. For example, 10 sets of 10 with 1 minute rest in between usually works for me. If you choose the weight right, the first few sets will be easy, the middle sets hard, and the last few sets painful.

it would be harder to do a lactate producing exercise without weights, but not impossible. You just may need to do more sets or reps to get to the burn. For example, if a woman were able to do 10 sets of 10 squats with 50lbs on her back, she may need to do 20x50 squats with no weight at all to get the same burn (i.e. level of lactate in her muscles). You can also just do as many squats as you can, wait a minute then do as many squats as you can, and continue until you can't do any more or the burn is sufficiently painful.