After participating in all of the Open workouts with us and dropping in for a few classes here and there throughout the week, Chad Goolbis, husband to Brandi Rogers, decided to commit full time to training at Sanctify. So expect to see more of him at the gym and be sure to introduce yourself if you haven't yet. We're glad to have you Chad!
This Saturday, April 4, 8AM & 9AM classes
Invite your friends and have them sign up by clicking on this link. See you there!
Rest Day Reading
Exercise Physiology 101, Part 2
by Josh Earleywine
In Part 1 I discussed how our muscles need ATP in order to contract and explained the role that the aerobic system plays in generating ATP, what types of activity are aerobic in nature, and why we need to have strong aerobic systems. If you missed Part 1, go back and get caught up here. In this part I’ll discuss the two anaerobic energy systems.
Anaerobic Alactic System
The anaerobic alactic system is the epitome of trade-offs regarding ATP production. While the alactic system can generate ATP the quickest of the three systems, it is also the shortest lasting system.
We’ve got enough stored ATP in our muscles for about 5-7 seconds of all-out maximal activity. The alactic system can produce ATP quick enough to buy us another 5-7 seconds of maximal exertion, for a total of 10-15 seconds of all out effort before power output starts to drop-off. From this information you can probably figure out what types of activity are fueled mainly by the alactic system: maximal intensity efforts lasting less than 15 seconds. The key word here is maximal intensity, as in, all you’ve got. If we go back to our 1 to 10 scale, we’re talking efforts in the 9-10 region. Examples include a single play in football, hitting a home run, a 1RM deadlift, max height box jump, max effort snatch, 40 yard sprint. For the most part, this is a pain-free energy system, meaning that while the effort is maximal, it ends before lactate can accumulate in your muscles and cause that burning sensation.
Wait a second. What’s lactate? Glad you asked.
Anaerobic Lactic System
Once a maximal intensity effort stretches out past about the 15 second mark, the alactic system tapers off and the anaerobic lactic system kicks in (this system is also known as the anaerobic glycolitic pathway or glycolitic system). One of the byproducts of this energy system is lactate. It’s not necessary to know how that happens, but recognize that lactate is what causes that burning, battery-acid-feeling in your muscles. The glycolitic system can’t generate ATP quite as fast as the alactic system, but it lasts a bit longer, possibly up to about 2 minutes. This is best evidenced by thinking about what were to happen if you sprinted on a track or on an Airdyne, going as fast as you can for 30 seconds. For the first 10 or so seconds you’d be flying along, going strong, no big deal. Somewhere around the 10-second mark though you’d start feeling a burn in your muscles and, try as you may, you just can’t maintain the same speed you started with. There is a slight drop-off in power output and the longer you go, the more pronounced that drop-off becomes. You’d drop somewhere in the 7-9 area on our scale. If you grit your teeth, push through the pain, and continue beyond about 2 minutes, one of two things has to happen. Either you stop because you’re in an anaerobic state and our muscles need oxygen at that point, or your intensity slows down to the point that you become predominantly aerobic.
One thing I should say is this. While I’ve given specific time durations as to when these three energy systems start and stop, it’s not that nice and neat in actuality. The reality is that all three systems are involved in just about all activities at least to a very small degree. It’s not like after 15 seconds of maximal effort the alactic system shuts of and the glycolitic system kicks in and then at the 2-minute mark that one stops and the aerobic system starts. It’s more like a gradual transition of predominance by one system to another.
Ok, so now that we’ve got a basic understanding of how our bodies use these three energy systems to power physical activity, you’d probably like to know how that relates to our workouts, right? As I hinted at, in addition to telling you what a workout is, we’ll also be telling you what energy system it’s training and what intensity of effort you need to put into it in order to train that system. There are certain parameters that are necessary to attain these goals; specifically we’ll talk about the intensity of the effort, duration of the effort, rest between efforts, and total number of efforts (usually expressed in reps or rounds).
Sounds a little complex just for CrossFit doesn’t it? Well, you’re right in thinking that you don’t need to know all of this to do CrossFit and get in great shape. But one of the aspects of developing well-rounded fitness according to CrossFit is thoroughly developing each of these three energy systems. As coaches, by distinctly classifying the workouts we can ensure that everything is being trained adequately and that nothing is neglected. There will still be elements of traditional strength training and skill/technique development as well so don’t think that will change.
We’ve been having fun working through this stuff, developing a plan, and programming workouts and we hope that you can have fun and get more out of this as well. It certainly won’t be perfect so bear with us, but if you do have questions or thoughts, don’t hesitate to let us know about them. We’re always trying to get you all better and this should do that.