This training method increases the amount of power that your aerobic system is able to product. It is used across all kinds of endurance sports and has been proven to work very well.
You want to spend 20 to 40 minutes total at your lactate threshold heart rate. You can use shorter rounds, as long as the total duration is between 20 and 40 minutes.
If you use multiple rounds, rest half as long as the work duration. If you do 10 minute rounds, rest 5 minutes in between rounds.
Your heart rate doesn’t have to be exactly at the lactate threshold during the training. It can vary, as long as the average heart rate is close to the threshold heart rate (Keith et al. 1992).
Hard sparring works really well for threshold training. You don’t have to wear a heart rate monitor. The pace that you use during a tournament match will bring your heart rate slightly above your threshold (Farrell et al. 1979). Roll at a hard, steady pace that you can keep up for the whole duration of the training.
To set up a threshold training session, form a group of three athletes of similar skill and weight. Set the timer to half of the work interval and rotate out one of the athletes when the timer beeps. Make sure that everyone stays active and discourage stalling.
You can also run your own threshold training during a regular class. Sit out every third round or go for 20-40 minutes straight. Don’t just go hard against random training partners. Pick them in advance and let them know that you want to roll hard.
I have created a PDF with a summary that you can download. Print it out and hang it up in your academy or keep a copy in your gym bag.
Keith, S.P., Jacobs, I. & McLEllan, T.M. Europ. Adaptions to training at the individual anaerobic threshold. J. Appl. Physiol. 1992.
Farrell PA, Wilmore JH, Coyle EF, Billing JE, Costill DL. Plasma lactate accumulation and distance running performance. Med Sci Sports. 1979 Winter;11(4):338-44.