Training in the right zone can make all of the difference...
Imagine this... It's the off-season, and you're building up your fitness for the grind ahead. Your strength is improving and your resistance training workouts and making you bigger, stronger, and more powerful for sure. But what about your energy efficiency?
That's right. Just like lighbulbs or vehicles, our bodies should be as energy-efficient as possible. We want to do the same amount of work as our competitors, and ideally, we want to spend less energy doing it. Is that even possible? It is if you know which system(s) to train.
Do I have your attention yet? I hope so... Let's talk about energy systems.
Depending on the level of intensity and duration of exercise, our bodies rely on various energy systems to perform work. An efficient body with plenty of experience training the right system(s) can typically rely on a primary energy system to perform at a certain intensity and duration longer, and more frequently than his or her opponents. Learning about which energy systems our bodies use to peform specific types of work can actually be pretty fun, especially if it takes place during a workout. For many years, we've enjoyed working with teams and clubs in the school to help athletes understand which specific system(s) they need to rely on most, and better-yet, how to train those systems to be more efficient, and thus, better-performing!
So what does a sport-specific energy systems training session look like?
Sport specific energy systems training sessions usually take place in our second-floor spin bike studio or outdoors on the track, and this should give you a pretty good idea of the type of work we're doing. Using intensity levels and work-to-rest ratios that mimic the cardiovascular strains of regular competition is the name of the game here. Whether this means a series of short sprints, long-winded repeats, or a mixed bag of varying intervals by time/distance or both... we're in this to remind our bodies of the levels of oxygen demand that occur during competition! The efforts are often high here, and sometimes (not always) the big goal is to leave the session with "nothing left in the tank." It's not easy- but it pays off.
The benefits of these sessions are two-fold:
- We create a training stimuli- which will work toward building a higher "threshold" or "tolerance" for the same levels of physical stress on the next time around...
- We maintain and build aerobic and/or anaerobic fitness to coincide with the skills being developed in a sport-specific settiing. This can be a huge benefit to our sport-specific coaches who may not have the time and resources to integrate "conditioning" into a sport-specific practice.
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