A guide to the language of programming- part 2

As we promised here is part two of the guide to the language of programming series.

Over the past few weeks you may have heard us using a few different bits of terminology, some easier to understand than others. In this part of our guide I will be defining some more terms to help you gain a better understanding of the new words making their way around the box.

So without keeping you away from your mobility training for too long…


This is one of the most common terms associated with exercise. Many of you are aware of the term and may have an awareness of how it is formed and the role it has to play in energy production. Lactate is a naturally occurring organic compound produced in everyone’s body and is both a byproduct of and a fuel for exercise. It is found in the muscles, the blood and various organs. Your body needs it to function properly. A term that is often associated with lactate is lactic acid. They are very close chemically. We use the term “lactate” even though in many places “lactic acid” might be technically right. The primary source of lactate is the breakdown of a carbohydrate called glycogen.

Hydrogen Ions

Most athletes associate lactate with the pain or burn from highly intense exercise. This is mostly a wrong impression. When lactate is produced in the muscles, excess hydrogen ions are also produced with the lactate. If there is substantial accumulation, the muscles become very acidic from the hydrogen ions. These hydrogen ions cause problems with the contraction of muscles for exercise and interfere with the anaerobic process. Athletes describe a “burning” or a “tightening” of the muscles as performance disintegrates. Most of these hydrogen ions originate with the lactate. Thus, lactate itself isn’t the cause of muscle fatigue. But it is directly related to the acidity, which is thought to be a major cause of muscle fatigue.

When lactate leaves the muscle cell, hydrogen ions leave the cell with the lactate. One of the keys to success in athletic events is to accelerate the movement of lactate out of the muscles where it was produced and shuttle it to another location where can use it for energy, convert it back to glycogen, or just temporarily store it. When this is done the hydrogen ions are shuttled too, and the problems they cause are reduced. While athletes hate this burning sensation, it is really a defense mechanism against muscle damage. Too much acidity can break down muscle fibre. There is speculation that one of the causes of over-training is too much training at paces (intensity) that produce high acid levels.

Absolute Strength

The maximum force that an individual’s muscle can produce in a single voluntary effort, regardless of the rate of force production.

Lactate Threshold

The lactate threshold, sometimes known as the anaerobic threshold or the lactate inflection point, is the point at which during high intensity exercise lactate begins to accumulate in the blood stream. It is also the point at which lactate is being produced faster than the body’s ability to remove (metabolize) it.

Peripheral Nervous System

The peripheral nervous system (PNS) consists of the nerves and ganglia outside of the brain and spinal cord. The main function of the PNS is to connect the central nervous system (CNS) to the limbs and organs.

Written by coach Lee Carder

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