Understanding the energy systems in the body is crucial for effective training. Our program integrates workouts that tap into various energy pathways to ensure a comprehensive approach to fitness. It’s important to note that these systems often overlap during exercises, offering a nuanced and well-rounded training regimen. Here, we delve into each energy system and provide examples of workouts that predominantly utilize them:
1. Anaerobic Alactic or Phosphocreatine System (ATP-PC)
This energy system is activated during short, high-intensity activities lasting about 10-15 seconds. It provides a quick burst of energy, making it essential for power-based workouts. Here are some basic examples of exercises that predominantly tap into this system:
- Sprint: A 100m dash where you give your maximum effort.
- Heavy Lifting: Lifting a heavy weight for 1-3 repetitions, like a max effort deadlift or squat.
- Jumping: Performing high-intensity jumps, like box jumps or broad jumps, in quick succession.
- Throwing: Activities like medicine ball throws where maximum power is required for a short duration.
- Short Duration Rowing or Cycling: Going all out for a 15-second row or cycle sprint.
2. Anaerobic Lactic or Glycolytic System
This system comes into play for activities that last about 30 seconds to 2 minutes, providing energy through the breakdown of carbohydrates in the absence of oxygen. It is utilized in high-intensity, short-duration workouts. Here are some examples:
- 400m Run: A middle-distance run where you maintain a high intensity throughout.
- Circuit Training: A circuit of exercises performed back-to-back with little to no rest, lasting for around a minute.
- High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): Workouts where you perform exercises at a high intensity for intervals lasting up to 2 minutes.
- Complex Lifts: Performing a series of complex lifts continuously for a minute or two.
- Burpees: Doing a set of burpees at a fast pace for a minute.
3. Aerobic System
The aerobic system is the dominant energy system for activities lasting longer than 2 minutes. It utilizes oxygen to generate energy from carbohydrates and fats. This system is essential for endurance and long-duration activities. Here are some examples:
- Long-Distance Running: Engaging in a 5k or 10k run where you maintain a steady pace.
- Cycling: Going for a long bike ride at a moderate pace.
- Swimming: Swimming laps continuously for an extended period.
- Rowing: Engaging in a long-duration rowing session at a moderate intensity.
- AMRAP Workouts: Workouts where you perform as many rounds as possible of a series of exercises in a given time frame, usually lasting 20 or more minutes.
The goal of our training program is to have members spend the most of their training within the aerobic system range, often touching but never crossing the lactic threshold. Aerobic system training is proven to be the most beneficial for longevity and overall health. The way you approach your workouts, such as your pacing strategy and not the workout itself will often dictate which energy system is predominatly used. For more information on how we expect the conditioning workouts in our program to be executed please refer to this article.
By understanding these energy systems and how they overlap in various exercises, you can better plan your workouts, pacing yourself appropriately and choosing the right intensity to achieve your fitness goals.