Which energy pathways/type of work capacity does high-rep pistol squat training use?

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Harry Westgate

Level 6 Valued Member
Hi everyone,

This is my first post on the new forum format, so just a little about me...
I'm 19yrs old, 5'9", weigh about 65kg, box competitively, and have been strength training using a lot of Pavel's methods for about 2-3 years now, making more use than anything of The Naked Warrior (GTG is by far the best thing to have ever happened to my training and the pistol squat and one arm pushup remain my two favourite exercises - THANK YOU PAVEL!).

Around this time last year (and I mentioned this in one of my posts on the old forum), I embarked on the 50 consecutive pistol squat program by Eric Moss written in the StrongFirst blog (for those interested, it works! programming 50 pistol squats, 12 consecutive pistol squats with 32kg, 20 handstand pushups - StrongFirst (Thank you Eric also in case you ever read this!)) and over the course of about 12 weeks I worked up to 50 reps.

Having taken time out from such high-rep work to focus more on max strength pistols again (as an example of the sort of ability I'm at, I was performing sets of 3 with a 24kg KB in a GTG format for a while as of about two weeks ago, and can also 'comfortably' still do 15-20 unweighted pistols without much, if any, 'burn'), I now want to go back to the high-rep work as I miss the incredible endurance and conditioning effect it had on my legs, particularly when boxing.

What I want to know, just out of curiosity, is which energy pathways (alactic, aerobic, glycolytic) are being used when training high-rep pistols but without going for the 'burn'? For instance, if I could comfortably do 30-40, but trained with sets of 15-20 without much lactic acid build-up.

The fact that it is high-rep training kind of screams glycolytic to me, but since I'd be avoid the build-up of lactic acid, does that make it more aerobic?

Thanks in advance for any insight!

Harry Westgate


Level 1 Valued Member
you are pretty close with your theory. So with the exercise becoming seemingly more like cardio you might be recruiting more type I muscle fibers (cardio)(oxidative) and relying less on type II (resistance)(glycolitic). Also your body is increasing the lactic threshold for muscle duration.
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