Anti-glycolytic Training -- HELP!

Discussion in 'Kettlebell' started by ajaan, May 19, 2017.

  1. ajaan

    ajaan Double-Digit Post Count

    I'm new to the concepts or rather terminology of anti-glycolytic training and how it might apply to the mitochondria. Pavel and Al Ciampa talk about the benefits of anti-glycolytic training.

    I wondered if someone could walk me through the following points / questions.

    1. I always understood that it's best to spend a small proportion of time working out anaerobically and a larger part aerobically. For the Kenyan elite runners this translates to 20% anaerobic training and 80% aerobic. The bit in between -- say 75% - 89% HR max -- is best avoided.

    Does alactic training mentioned by Pavel and Al effectively mean anaerobic, while glycolytic means 'the bit in between' aerobic and anaerobic training?

    2. It's therefore better to train briefly alactic and mainly aerobic? The OTM swings would generally do this, right? Providing one got their breath back.

    3. Avoid glycolytic training. Is glycolytic training simply the range of roughly 75-89% HR max? Or is it more like going hard for 15 seconds then resting or 45 seconds, which is almost similar to Kenyan training: 25% of time hard / 75 % of time easy.

    4. Now, this is the main question. I want to protect at all costs my mitochondria due to a mitrochondrial disease. Pavel and Al refer to the mitochondria a few times. As well as protecting my mitochondria I want to make them stronger, to have more, and to produce more energy, because that way I get better. What's the best way to train? Avoiding glycolytic training? OTM swings. Alactic bursts with mainly aerobic?

    So far as I understand from the blog posts S & S is anti-glycolytic (which is good), has some alactic (also good), but is not aerobic enough for the mitochondria (hence some posts recommend more aerobic or endurance strength programming for the SFG cert).

    Therefore, would something like this be best for the mitochondria:

    A Science-Based Plan to Prepare You for the SFG Level I and SFG Level II

    Or does any one have suggestions? I'd prefer to keep it to Swing and TGU if possible. But doing the TGU and the Swings on the same day like S & S wears me out -- probably due to mitochondria dysfunction. At the moment I'm on the old Program Minimum, but I'm not sure it's giving the aerobic / endurance strength that is being referred to for the mitochondria.
  2. wespom9

    wespom9 Helping Make Others Stronger

    1. anaerobic lactic and glycolytic are terms that have been used variously in the literature, somewhat interchangeably. So while glycolytic is technically anaerobic, it is different from anaerobic alactic (which uses the atp - cp stores).

    2. OTM swings would qualify, if the are within the proper rep range. 15 on 45 off is closer to this than 45 on 15 off would be.

    3. This is where it gets a little hazy...untrained individuals would hit their lactate threshold, or onset of blood lactate accumulation, and lower intensities than trained individuals. Therefore as a rough estimate you are probably correct, but even that is a wide range and subject to error. It will definitely be dependent on each individuals current capacity.

    Glycolytic essentially means the intensity cannot be sustained any longer - eg oxygen needs to be used and the aerobic system will kick in (keep in mind that it is much more likely all three systems are being used simultaneously, just to different degrees)

    4. It would be helpful to post the links to the posts you discuss to better answer this question, at least for me. Glycolytic training is hard on the body, and too much can quickly lead to overtraining and inability to recover, partly due to the increase in cortisol as mentioned in Craig Marker's article that you've linked to. (this also probably helps answer your question #2) As many have stated, train A+A and save glycolytic for the competition.

    I have zero experience with mitochondrial disease, so first things first you should be medically cleared for any activity. Forgive me, but I forget the PM recommendations for the volume/set-rep scheme for swings. If the full S&S session tires you out, you could follow the swing protocol one day, and the TGU protocol the following day. In essence this will work strength one day and conditioning the other. Programming the TGU is similar to the swings - if you follow the recommendation to do the next rep when you feel ready - just a grind rather than a ballistic, thus keeping you in the aerobic range.
  3. ajaan

    ajaan Double-Digit Post Count

    Thanks for detailed reply

    Ah. So according to the this definition of glycolytic I've misunderstood it. I was thinking the glycolytic was similar to being able to sustain an intensity that was neither aerobic or anaerobic. For example, running 5K hard I would have associated with glycolytic training because you can maintain the HR around 80-85% of max for the duration, but it's neither alactic or aerobic.

    So, what I was wondering is if the 100 swings is enough to benefit the mitochondria. Al Ciampa writes: 'It is not clear if power work (re: Simple & Sinister) alone provides physiological changes in mitochondria that contribute to the conditioning increases.'

    Military Deployment Prep: A Program for Hardening the Soldier

    Hence, the Craig Marker A+A program allows for building up the number of swings.

    My main concern in all of this, at the present time, isn't necessarily strength and conditioning it's mitochondrial health, and having vitality and energy from workouts. I'm cleared to train.

    Starts off at 5 mins of TGU twice a week and 12 minutes of Swings twice a week, but allows you to add time.

    So I've built up to 10 mins of TGU twice a week (I'll keep it at this before going up a weight, and taking it back down to 5 mins)

    And I've built up the swings to 16 mins of OTM 1H swings, and want to go to 20 minutes, before upping the weight and taking the time down.

    I guess the obvious question is would this fulfil A+A training, and if it does is it beneficial programming for the mitochondria?
  4. rickyw

    rickyw Strong Member of the Forum

    Why not see what the Jedi himself has to say...
  5. wespom9

    wespom9 Helping Make Others Stronger

    @aciampa will definitely be able to answer your question more completely. @mprevost and he are much more in tune with the physiology aspect than I can say I am and hopefully can chime in and correct anything I may have not explained fully/correctly.
  6. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Forum Administrator Staff Member Senior Instructor

    Yes. Follow a proven program like S&S.

  7. Steve W.

    Steve W. Strong, Powerful Member of the Forum

    Here's my understanding, based on discussion here and my personal experience:

    Set length:
    To stay anti-glycolytic, keep the work time relatively short. 10 swings, as in S&S, takes most people about 15-18 seconds. This is about the upper limit of staying anti-glycolytic and is probably stepping on or slightly over the border, which is not problematic for most people/applications.

    Cutting the set length to 5 reps keeps you more solidly anti-glycolytic and may allow you to use a heavier bell. The drawback is that sessions take longer for an equivalent volume since you have to do more sets.

    Rest until relatively fully recovered between sets, generally more than you think you need. IMO, doing sets of 10 full power swings on the minute is a bit rushed for A+A. I prefer allowing more recovery between sets. On the minute for sets of 5 is even a bit rushed if I am using a heavier bell (for instance, I am using 32kg for sets of 10 and 40kg for sets of 5 -- I tend to mix it up from day to day within a week).

    You don't have to go strictly by a clock, and there are benefits to being more flexible. Don't let the clock rush you if you don't feel sufficiently recovered. I don't always use a clock, but when I do I pick a generous interval that seems way too long at the beginning of a session so that it is still sufficient toward the end.

    Similarly, you don't have to go strictly by heartrate. Personally, I never monitor heartrate, other than subjectively.

    It takes some time and experimentation to get a feel for recovery. Recovery is not just being able to do the next set, and not just being able to finish the session, but being able to recover from day to day and over the long term.

    Aerobic supplementation:
    Low intensity steady state aerobic training is a great supplement to A+A power interval training. Since I have been including a few hours of aerobic training each week, my overall work capacity and recovery capacity seem much better, and I understand that this type of training has cardiac health benefits that other types of training can't provide. Many people follow the heartrate guidelines from Phil Maffetone for aerobic base training. Personally, I don't monitor HR, but just make sure I stay within an easy nasal breathing level of effort that feels like I could sustain it reasonably indefinitely. If I am going for an hour, I want to feel like I could keep going comfortably for another hour after that. I only worry about going too hard, never that I am not going hard enough.

    For optimal athletic performance things can get a little more complicated. For general health and general physical fitness, these are the guidelines I follow:
    --Easy is good. Lazy is good.
    --Let the accumulated volume and time create the adaptations, not your level of exertion.
    --In power intervals, such as KB ballistics, make each rep as powerful as possible, but keep the overall effort easy/lazy.
    --Monitor recovery from day to day and over time, not just set to set. Recover "harder" than you work.
    --Trust the process. Don't stress over benchmarks or goals.

    BTW, I am 52 years old and basketball is my main competitive/recreational activity. The type of training described above has had a huge carry over to my fitness on the court.

    I also don't have any knowledge or experience about mitochondrial disease, so I can't make any specific recommendation about that.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited: May 24, 2017
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  8. Harald Motz

    Harald Motz Strong, Powerful Member of the Forum Certified Instructor

    well summarized, Steve.
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  9. Anna C

    Anna C Strong, Powerful, Explosively Athletic Member of the Forum Certified Instructor

    Excellent summary, @Steve W. !!

    This is absolute gold here:

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  10. ali

    ali Strong Member of the Forum

    @Steve W, a great thorough overview and I echo @Anna C there with that quote. Something that applies to all but is really pertinent for those with compromised health issues.
    With your mitochondrial disease and symptoms do you tire easily? If so, take things very slowly with plenty of rest. Cut out and print Steve's quote or have it tattooed on your forearm or even engraved on your kettlebell.
    Steve W. likes this.
  11. aciampa

    aciampa Strong, Powerful, Explosively Athletic Member of the Forum Certified Instructor

    Have you read the book that I never wrote? ;] Really great summary, Steve.

    @ajaan I sent you a PM.
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  12. Steve W.

    Steve W. Strong, Powerful Member of the Forum

    In a way, yes.
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  13. ajaan

    ajaan Double-Digit Post Count

    Thanks for all your replies. Very helpful.

    @aciampa is kindly helping me via PM and @Anna C has kindly offered some assistance too.

    @Steve Freides S&S with TGU and Swings on the same day is too much for me, even with adequate rest due to autoimmune involvement. I may be wrong on this, but I sort of understood (perhaps wrongly) from posts by Pavel and Al Caimpa that S&S isn't optimal if the specific aim is to help the mitochondria. Like I said, I could have misunderstood this.

    @ali Yes. I do tired very easily with strength work or HIIT type work. Lower intensity treadmill running not so much, so long as the time doesn't go over 30 minutes.

    @Steve W. Thank you very much sir! It's starting to make sense. Today I did 7-9 2H swings that took 12-18 seconds. I waited until the breathing was normal. Then did the next set. In total I did 13 such 'sets', which, rather than taking 13 minutes (OTM) took 22 minutes. I felt much better.

    The only thing that wasn't addressed in your summary was the TGU. How would that be programmed? Again, the aim is optimal mitochondria health. Alternate days? And if so where would the low intensity cardio work (which I enjoy) be put in.
    Henningb likes this.
  14. Robert Noftz

    Robert Noftz Triple-Digit Post Count

    Pavel has some articles on anti glycolitic training. You can find them in the articles section. That would probably be a productive place to start. In the past I quoted his articles and some people who didn't agree with the approach tried to tell me it was all wrong. Some of them are regulars on this forum. If you want to know what Pavel teaches about that topic the best thing to do would be to read it for yourself. Don't let yourself be distracted or discouraged by people who disagree, just follow the approach and you will get good result.
    I have followed his approach, the one in Simple and Sinister, for about 6 months and I have gotten very good results.
    Steve Freides likes this.
  15. Frank_IT

    Frank_IT Strong Member of the Forum

    @Robert Noftz, sorry for tagging you in relation to your post, but even though I partecipated as a silent spectator in at least one of the discussions you mention, where regular members of the Forum have expressed different opinions, I would like to respectfully disagree with some of the things you said.

    In the discussion I mention, the person that voiced his (quite authoritative, to say the least) opinion also apologized for the bad choice of words, and politely gave you a resume of his studies, his previous and present job after you said he was using science he wasn't fully understanding.

    I wouldn't tell a person (who we do not know if accostumed to physical training and the science, research and empirical experience behind it, although I don't think this is the case) with a mitrochondrial desease (as said by @ajaan) to just follow the approach and you will get good results. CrossFit people get good results to. Hell, even bodybuilders half squatting get results. For their intended purposes. They are very different and could not be the ones Ajaan is looking for, so asking for other opinions is something I would do too (and he exrpessly called Al Ciampa, so it could mean to have at least read some of his articles in here, I think). People with this kind of health problems (at any level, from minor to life threatening conditions) tend to be very aware of what they can or cannot do, but my advice would still be to see with their Doctors if it was a good choice of training or not.
    Ajaan asked very smart questions for what I think!

    I followed a flawed version of S&S (and I can and will only blame myself for this) and could reach a solid Simple in eight months. I'm talking swings in 4:42, one minute rest and TGUs in 7:50s. Problem is, I was testing every day. For eight months straight, I never missed a time mark in my S&S sessions and very seldom I took more than a minute between exercise. Did it work for me? You can bet it did! Would it be working for others? What would I know, right? Whould I advice anyone to do the same? No, and I would actually tell them to not follow my lead.
    I'm not Pavel, of course, and I'm not Al. I'm just a guy who happens to like kettlebells and is slowly understanding what works best for his purposes.
    Pavel has proven himself over the years and almost two decades ago, so his methods do work (I can attests good results with RoP and great results with the Fighter Pull Up Programm too), but it may not be what some people look for, or there could be somebody else doing things different but equally effective or, why not, better!

    I think Al doesn't like to be tagged around for no reason, but since I spoke of him on numerous occasions in this post, I'm not defending @aciampa's or other people's positions here, they are perfectly capable to that for themselves and I don't feel there is the need to anyways, but again, no body disagrees with Pavel's writings, it's just that, for some purposes, one may need a different training method.

    Last example: would you tell a competitive marathon runner who needs lots and lots of cardo and the minimum lean and fat body mass he can to do S&S? Would you tell the same to a competitive bodybuilder, to a gymnast or any other athlete who does not need what S&S yelds? Would you tell a person that had a heart attack to close his eyes, read Pavel's book and start training?
    Last edited: May 26, 2017
  16. Robert Noftz

    Robert Noftz Triple-Digit Post Count


    I stand by my assertion that if people follow the anti glycolitic approach recommended by Pavel in his book and articles then they will get good results. Whether or not people get what they think are good results using other methods is irrelevant.

    I followed his approach for approximately 5 months and achieved the sets and reps in about 14:30. I'm 49 and was a complete beginner with kettlebells.
    About the only time I deviated from his recommendations in the book was the last couple of weeks when I did some higher volume practice sessions. I did that on some days instead of using a larger kettlebell because I felt like the 40 kg was too heavy for me at the time and I was going too close to failure. I thought the higher volume would give me a boast until I felt more comfortable with the heavier kettlebell. I did that based upon advice Pavel has given about increasing volume. Even when I did that I followed the anti glycolitic approach.
    If you tested yourself on every day then you never even gave the anti glycolitic approach a chance and you have no idea what kind of results you would have gotten.

    Best regards,
    Robert Noftz
    Last edited: May 27, 2017
  17. Robert Noftz

    Robert Noftz Triple-Digit Post Count

    Frank, the person you mention in the quote did clearly write that what Pavel taught about anti glycolitic training was all wrong. Perhaps you don't remember that part. One of the things that I challenged him about, among others, was that he was coming onto another professionals site and telling someone using that approach that it is all wrong. It seems very similar to trolling in my opinion. He should go to Pavel and have that discussion not come onto the Strong First forum and tell that to people following Pavel's approach. In regards to some of the other people, who Pavel picks as his friends is his business, but if they think his approach is all wrong then why would they even bother coming to this site? If I was interested in what they think I would ask them for advice.

    In regards to some of the other things you said, it doesn't look like you followed the conversation very well, but instead you want to disagree with me for some reason. The person in question was asking questions specifically about anti glycolitic training as in S&S. I recommended he look to articles and a book Pavel wrote as the best sources of information about that instead of seeking other people's opinions. If he wants to know what Pavel teaches about anti glycolitic training he is better off reading what he has to say instead of asking other people for their opinion on the topic. I stand behind that statement 100%.

    In regards to his disease, if he came on this site looking for advice about that then he went to the wrong place.

    In regards to testing yourself every day, if you really pushed yourself to the limit testing yourself every day then you were not following the S&S approach at all. I find it difficult to believe that you pushed yourself to a testing level every day. Yes, that is my opinion of course. Perhaps your idea of testing yourself and my idea of testing myself are different. I could not have pushed myself to a testing level every day without suffering a severe breakdown at some point.

    Best regards,
    Robert Noftz[/QUOTE]
    Last edited: May 27, 2017
  18. ajaan

    ajaan Double-Digit Post Count

    Not really. I've got some excellent help regarding exercise and the mitochondria from people on this site. Some of it is from the articles. Some of it from personal messages sent to me privately from SFG certified people who have experience in helping people with mitochondria disorders and I'm very grateful for it. This expertise in exercise science is something that the majority of MDs simply do not have.

    I'm also confused when you say that I wouldn't find anything on the site for advice about mitochondria disease, when Pavel himself has a number of articles on the mitochondria. But then, I'm sure you must be aware of this:

    “Long Rests”: A Revolution in Interval Training

    Simple & Sinister Progression Tactic

    So I benefited from these too.

    There are a number of articles on the SFG site on the mitochrondria and many other topics authored by other than Pavel. Presumably, because the articles have been published on the SFG site they have some authority behind them. Pavel, himself, refers to other SFG instructors as having an expertise in exercise, anti-glycotic training, and the mitochondria. See here:

    “Long Rests”: A Revolution in Interval Training

    Hence, I wanted to reach out to some of those experts. Some replied here. Some PM'd me. And I've benefitted from them.

    It was incorrect of you to assume that I hadn't read Pavel's writings.

    But what I did say, which you overlooked, was that I was unable to do S&S everyday or most days due to the fatigue of doing the TGU and the Swing on the same day. Via a PM I've now been given some good insights on that, as all SFG instructors are, you know, well perhaps you don't know, allowed to design their own programs.

    You can read here how Pavel sometimes recommends other programs for the mitochondria:

    Pavel Tsatsouline says:
    January 31, 2015 at 10:36 am
    Andrei, Al’s protocol, like some of Selouyanov’s protocols, aims at developing mitochondria in fast fibers thus making them more enduring.

    It seems you're a little confused, nay dogmatic, what SFG is about. Just chillax a little.

    So thanks all for your responses. Via PM I'm now in VERY good hands from the person who is perhaps best able to deal with this issue, and has kindly taken me on as student. This wouldn't have happened without this site or the forum.
    Steve W. likes this.
  19. Robert Noftz

    Robert Noftz Triple-Digit Post Count

    Where on this site are there articles about mitochondria disease? Even if they did have them you should go to medical doctors not an internet forum for that kind of advice. I did state that if you want to know what Pavel teaches about the anti glycolitic approach you should read what he has to say and not ask other people for their opinion about it. I stand by what I said. There is someone commenting on this forum that told me they think his approach is wrong in a previous discussion.
    If I recall correctly that same person stated they like the HIIT approach which Pavel doesn't recommend. Perhaps you were not aware of that.

    I stand by everything I have said and I am not confused. Perhaps you are not aware of some previous discussions which took place.
  20. Robert Noftz

    Robert Noftz Triple-Digit Post Count

    This whole discussion has given me a reminder about the value of discussions on the internet.
    In a previous discussion about anti glycolytic training I directly quoted Pavel's work on the topic and some guy entered the discussion to tell me it was all wrong. I challenged him about it and some other people joined him in attacking me. One of the people is involved in the discussion now. He preferred the HIIT approach.
    I notice that person isn't stating the anti glycolytic approach is wrong now. I wonder what got into him?

    I told someone that if they want to know what Pavel teaches about the topic they should read his material and not be discouraged by people who disagree because his approach gets good results. I stand by what I said.

    Now somehow people think I am the one who is confused, or I am dogmatic, that is really pretty comical.

    I found an interesting article last night on another site. In it, Craig Marker discusses a study that found very good results using the anti glycolitic approach to improve crossfit performance. In two of the tests they got better results than people doing the crossfit training.

    I stand by everything I have said. I think the people arguing with me a little confused.

    StrongFirst for CrossFit

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