What type of activity makes the most use of the glycolytic system?

Mikeperry

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Senior Certified Instructor
Al Ciampa- you are correct sir, glycolytic work is not imperative for gen pop. If you do choose to train in that fashion, I would say once every 12-14 days would suffice. Tudor Bompa's work tells us that we can start to lose our glycolytic conditioning at around the 2 week mark.

 

As far as TGU's, we are looking at strength endurance and localized muscular endurance which is very different.
 

Al Ciampa

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Certified Instructor
Jeffrey,

To piggy-back off of Mike's statement, when we discuss bioenergetics and fuel system development, we are referring to lower loads and higher speeds of movement... "cardio" training, in a word.  The get up is toward the other end of the continuum: higher loading and slower speed of movement... strength training, in a word.

Strength work requires fueling, of course, but the intensity (speed of movement, not loading) is low enough that it is not taxing the ability of the cell to assimilate substrates, create ATP, and remove wastes, unless you are severely un- or de-trained.

So, an implied question in your thinking seems to ask: when does the load become light enough, and the speed of movement become quick enough to move from predominantly strength work to predominantly cardio; and what is going on w/r to bioenergetics?  Nature does not fit so nicely into our man-made boxes, is the best answer.  There are the obvious distinctions; but a lot of the continuum is blurred.  Sorry.
 

ali

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
If I could jump in here with a quick summary:

use glycolytic training sparingly. No real need unless you need to train for sport specific qualities, even then use as competition prep rather than a mainstay.

Lactate - a by product of glycolysis, is a good thing......in small amounts, every couple of weeks or so. Excess lactate causes cell damage and impairs strength gains. That sweet spot will depend on the individual's training state. The untrained ( or lacking in muscle) will go into glycolysis quicker (intensity dependent) as they have less alactic capacity. Therefore it is better to train that first, to build the alactic system to make better use of and to protect yourself from the pros and cons of lactate training.

Is that a reasonable conclusion......you know, generally speaking?

 
 

Mikeperry

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Senior Certified Instructor
Alistair- great summary. As  Al mentioned, its a continuum and its very blurry. We have guidelines that we can use for ESD but everyone is different and I would always start these protocols with a "less is more" mentality
 

Telegramsam

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So how should people like football (soccer) players train, energy-system wise? I would imagine that a lot of their activity is glycolitic and a season is around 9 months.
 

Jeff

More than 500 posts
Telegram Sam,

That is a good question and I was wondering the same.  You could ask the question about a lot of sports or activities.  How would one train for mixed martial arts?  Could a person try to train mainly within the alactic and aerobic pathways most of the time and then really hit the glycolytic pathway during training camp, or are certain sports or activities hard on the body regardless of how you approach it, and that is a choice you make if you pursue that activity?
 

ali

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I've been reading around more about all this lactate stuff and thought it would be helpful - if really wanting to be exact in training - if there was a way to measure blood lactate. And there is - blood lactate monitors are available,  not surprisingly on lactate.com. So heart rate monitor, blood lactate monitor, clock and get everything nailed. Pretty expensive but might be worth a study!
 

Mattsirpeace

More than 500 posts
http://cancercompassalternateroute.com/testimonials/bone-cancer-stage-4-healed-with-a-ketogenic-diet/

Fred Hatfield cured himself of terminal cancer with a ketogenic diet.  I vaguely remember him writing that if anybody needs starches, it's bodybuilders, because of all the pumping and burning.

Just a great thread, including Alistair's "Finishers" topic with comments from Pavel and Al.  Like Al essentially wrote, burning glycogen can't help but suggest eating glucose, and vice versa.  Over at the paleorunner podcast, the host and many of his guests are distance running low-carb.  It syncs with the persistence hunting hypothesis.  Converging evidence.

As an aside, when I was chasing snatches my hiking and jogging actually got worse, and know I get the "why."

Mike, thanks for the comments on recreation/health.
 

Al Ciampa

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Certified Instructor
Sam...
So how should people like football (soccer) players train, energy-system wise?
Same as we've been discussing... build a big aerobic base (long duration, alactic repeats + infrequent LSD), and get stronger; peak to the season with a short glycolytic cycle.

Jeffrey...
Could a person try to train mainly within the alactic and aerobic pathways most of the time and then really hit the glycolytic pathway during training camp
Yes
or are certain sports or activities hard on the body regardless of how you approach it, and that is a choice you make if you pursue that activity?
And, yes.

Alistair...

Lactate may only be a surrogate biometric for what we are after: H+ causing cellular damage.  Someone else may know more...

Matt...

I've maintained for years that diet comp probably has a great effect cellular fueling.  That you feel like a** during training when one drops from high-carb to lower carb is not a reason to not stay the course.  Read Volek's work; but keep a critical mind.

Great discussion!
 

ali

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AL wrote:

Lactate may only be a surrogate biometric for what we are after: H+ causing cellular damage.  Someone else may know more…

It would be good to know, if there is such a measurement possible, that once lactate reaches a certain blood level, x mmol/l, then that would suggest H+ is building to a red line. In a way we already know - it is individual and based on how you 'feel', with longer rest periods the risk factor of H+ is reduced and as capacity is steadily built those rest periods can be reduced. Like a low, medium, high risk measurement, or traffic light grading - not unlike HR training in low, medium, high intensity zones?

Just a thought. Agree, great interesting and valuable discussion.
 

Matt

More than 300 posts
If I understand it correctly, you can train your body, or to be more specific, train your metabolism, to utilize different "energy pathways" - either predominately fat or predominately blood sugar to put it simply (and my understanding is pretty simplistic so Al feel free to correct).

So in this particular thread, a lot of the focus has been (until Matt H and Al immediately above) on the type of exercise requiring the use of the different energy pathways.  Which makes sense - but if you are trained both in that exercise and in your default metabolism, wouldn't some of these considerations change?   Meaning instead of being predominately glycolytic for a particular exercise (which, as explained at the start of the thread, you'd expect to be), one could become less glycolytic for this given exercise?

If so - then a follow up thought - does the body seek to minimise its use of the glycolytic system for all exercise as one becomes more efficient at that exercise/training (again assuming you've trained your metabolism to be efficient at burning fat ie. a healthy low-carb diet)?
 

Jeff

More than 500 posts
I don't think so.

To use running as an example, if you ran 40 yard dashes, you would be emphasizing the alactic pathway.  If you ran 800 meter dashes, you would be emphasizing the glycolytic pathway.  If you ran 3 miles at a pace that allowed you to breathe through your nose, you would be emphasizing the aerobic pathway.  But, you can't train your body to emphasize the glycolytic pathway over the  alactic pathway during 40 yard dashes.  That might happen if you didn't get adequate rest between repetitions, but assuming the body is ready, the body will make use of the appropriate source of energy to match the activity.

The point of this discussion is to focus on training in a way that will cause the body to make most use of the alactic and aerobic energy pathways, and minimize, but not eliminate, training that will cause the body to make heavy use of the glycolytic pathway.

The part that still confuses me is what happens when someone runs for miles at a pace that forces heavy mouth breathing.  Is that still aerobic, or does it push the glycolytic pathway a bit?
 

Stuart Elliott

More than 500 posts
Jeffrey you're not alone in being confused, ive struggled with this. If I walk 3 miles my assumption is this is aerobic, but at which point does aerobic become glycolytic? Is a slow jog easy paced jog still aerobic, but a run moving into glycolytic?
 

Al Ciampa

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Certified Instructor
Matt/Jeffrey/Stuart,

I don't lecture on this topic regularly and I don't have a physiology text on hand, so this is from memory...

All compounds are converted into ATP which is the substrate that the cell actually uses to do work, so what we refer to as fuel, sugar fat, etc., needs to be converted into ATP.  It is generally accepted that 3 systems supply this fuel: alactic, or ATP-PCr; glycolytic, or lactic, and the oxidative, or fat.  (The names change as you travel the world.)  The first 2 are anaerobic, so they can function without oxygen, the latter is aerobic only, so there must be O2 present (this is important for our discussion).  All 3 systems are always "on" but, depending on what you are doing, one can be dominant.. and this is what we mean when we say an activity is glycolytic, or aerobic - which fuel system is dominating ATP conversion?

Each cell has free ATP floating around that it is using.  The fuel systems combine to resupply the ATP pool.

Free ATP can be resynthesized in a circular fashion providing energy for about 3s.

Alactic fueling provides ATP up to about 10-15s in untrained individuals.

Glycolytic fueling provides ATP out to about 90s-2min.

Oxidative fueling can last for days and weeks.

The intensity and duration of the work primarily dictate which system will dominate supply. So,

Time now is zero.  Assuming that you have been doing nothing other than reading over your copy of S&S, looking for ways to change that program, you are running on predominantly on fat: fatty acids.

If you begin walking at leisurely pace, you will generally supply ATP through your oxidative system, even if you walk at an easy pace for the next 3 days.

At any time that the intensity of movement increases such that ATP conversion from fat “outruns” the ability for oxygen to be present (and useful) in the cell, anaerobic fueling, by definition, must occur… or, you can’t do more intense work (i.e., hitting the wall).  But, it will only occur out to those durations listed, assuming that, in our scenario, they are full up in the first place when the work turned more intense (we were already moving, remember?).  Then, intensity must decrease and “wait up for”, or match, O2 supply… we are now aerobic again.

Alactic fueling will cover short, max power spurts of intensity up to 10s, then need to recover; glycolytic fueling will cover this out to 2min, until it needs to recover.  Then, the intensity must decrease until one of these two systems have recovered.  So you can sprint, jog, sprint, jog, etc… the quick energy systems are recovering during the lower-intensity movement.

Make sense?

Ok, let’s begin back at time zero and go all out on the track: after 10-15s, even though you are trying not too, you will slow down; this will happen again at about 90s… these two systems are out of gas.  If you keep running as hard as you can, theoretically, you are using the oxidative system and the quicker systems recover some, so you will get short bursts of increased speed if you still have the accelerator to the floor.  Picture a CF metcon now; this is exactly what those cats are trying to do w/r to time and intensity.

Finally, the above descriptions are chemical reactions, resulting in substrates as well as energy: ATP, the thing that we want.  Simply put, it is anaerobic glycolysis (there is also aerobic glycolysis, but it is not important here) that results in substrates that are harmful to the cell, if allowed to accumulate, like when you push yourself through a bootcamp session.  It’s not a single bout of excessive accumulation that is very harmful, but months and years of it.  So, systemically, those fat-burning and superior training programs (“bastardized” HITT) are now leading to fatigue and lethargy… if you keep it up, and adrenal burnout will occur.  Locally, the cell undergoes its own nuclear fallout in this scenario.

Pathway targeted training changes, to some extent, the ability of each system to adapt in a way that allows them to cover different intensities and durations.  The oxidative system can be trained to “turn on” quicker, and cover higher intensity… so, you get to be aerobic running at a faster speed than when you were untrained.  Also, you are aerobic earlier into your session.

The alactic system can be trained to last longer… to 35s, I believe I’ve read somewhere; and have more depth: to do more work within that 35s time period.

The same goes for the glycolytic system.

I’ll try not to speak for SF as a whole here, but the belief of how to condition favored by many within this community is to train the alactic system and the aerobic system, leaving the glycolytic system alone.  It seems that the glycolytic system stays pretty close to previous levels as long as you are doing repeated alactic work.  Not true the other way around, however, + you have that harmful physiologic-nuclear fallout going on.

How?  Sets of short, high-power work, repeated, with adequate recovery, for increasing durations.  “Some” pure LSD aerobic work.  I refer you to my last article.

Now, to peak for a season, or event (not powerlifting), in addition to your year-round alactic+oxidative program, hit that turbo-charger and train your glycolytic pathway for 6-8 weeks, or so (I think Lydiard favored 10).  Leave it alone otherwise…
 

Al Ciampa

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Certified Instructor
I could add:

-diet most certainly affects how the cell does the business of providing energy

-glycolysis is the original fuel system, single cell-creatures have no other choice

-sugar may be the the go-to system for most cellular work, most assuredly for cells like brain and red-blood, and training will affect this

-the body has limited capacity for sugar storage (glycogen) in the muscles and liver
 

Jeff

More than 500 posts
This information is solid gold.  It helps me understand why Pavel programmed S&S the way he did.

When you get right down to it, training short bursts of power is enjoyable, and traing long slow distance is pleasant and relaxing.  But, those extended anaerobic sessions, like 400 meter sprints, well, those are just no fun at all.  The popular metcon stuff falls into that categorie.

It is also interesting to reflect back on thoses sports days back in school.  Our coaches would run us ragged with wind sprints with very little rest between reps.  In hindsight, our coaches were wrong, but they were working with the best information they had at the time.
 

Stuart Elliott

More than 500 posts
Al thanks for taking the time to explain, all is now clear. I agree with Jeffrey this is gold, I now get why S&S works.

SF,  any chance of making this a sticky thread, or creating an article so not to lose this information?
 

Mikeperry

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Senior Certified Instructor
Excellent thread, Al- nice contributions to it. I was away all weekend but you pretty much nailed the science on it.

When you perform alactic capacity/lactic work work it also needs to be systemic in nature. You will need pick exercises that are "full body" to achieve the desired response. It's important to avoid localized muscular fatigue when possible. :12 of all out bicep curls are not a good choice for alactic capacity but swings, bike sprints etc. are great.

I've been utilizing this style of training with my athletes and they are all destroying their conditioning goals.

 

Nice work everyone!
 

Matt

More than 300 posts
Hi Al,

Thanks for that great post.

I realised that you were making my points earlier in the year - so I must have subconsciously learnt something from you as I didn't remember your posts.  Cheers.  I guess more accurately it would be that I did what you were talking about so know from experience now.

 

I guess I wonder a little now, in general, when say Mike mentions (or anyone) becoming more conditioned, what is happening there, in the context of this discussion?

 
 
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