What is it? Why do I experience it? How do I get rid of it?
The build up of lactic acid occurs when muscles are under constant strenuous activity. This activity requires the muscles to perform under anaerobic conditions. Anaerobic means without oxygen. Therefore when the muscles are performing at a higher rate than the aerobic or cardiovascular system can transfer oxygen to the muscles we being to work anaerobically. This is when you will begin to feel "the burn". Feeling "the burn" is the build up of lactic acid within the muscle. The molecule lactate becomes dehydrogenated transforming it into lactic acid via chemical processes. When the production and build up of lactic acid is exceeding the bodies rate of removal of the compound we begin to hurt, burn and feel tight. Now that we know how it occurs and why it occurs how do we remove it? Now there are many myths on this method but the answer lies here... Once lactic acid has began to build the affected muscles require rest, such as your break inbetween shifts on the ice or sets in the gym. This gives the body time to reinstate itself into an aerobic environment where there is sufficient oxygen being transported to the muscles. Once this begins lactic acid will begin to break down and be pulled out of muscles in various forms; heat, carbon dioxide etc. The higher your level of cardiovascular conditioning the more efficiently your body can perform such functions to rid of the lactic acid. There is no way to completely halt the production or build up of lactic acid. It is something we must deal with and train for.
Karim Corringham - Fitness Manager & Head Trainer