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I wanted to recap some of the knowledge shared at our Beyond Training Presentation!
- “Black Hole” training is a style of training that many people adopt that reduces the athletes ability to progress in performance
- Individuals caught in the “Black Hole” generally stress the same energy system over and over
- The result is a single speed athlete who can’t go fast when it matters, and never goes slow enough for recovery
Examples of “Black Hole” Athletes
- Commercial Gym Member
-Works out at same speed and same pace each day, performing the same movements each time.
-Run 5x/week for 45 minutes at the same pace each time.
Energy Systems vs. Zone Training
- Phosphagen System:
-Executing exercise at maximum intensity for up to 30 seconds(0-30). Utilizes Creatine to resupply ATP stores
- Glycolytic System:
-Predominates when engaging in intense exercise <2 minutes. Utilizes breakdown of glycogen to produce energy
- Oxidative System:
-Predominates >2 minutes of exercise. Utilizes Fats and Carbohydrates to resynthesize ATP
Zone Training Chart
|Heart Rate Zone||% of your Lactic Acid Threshold(LT)||Description|
|Zone 1 Goals: RecoveryEnergy System: Oxidative||70-76%||After hard workouts or tough blocks of training, very easy workouts can accelerate recovery more than complete rest. Easy aerobic training stimulates blood circulation, which can assist with removal of inflammation and increase your tissue healing response.The intensity in this zone is enough to increase blood circulation and trigger a growth hormone response, but not intense enough to cause any muscle damage, and very little energy and fluid depletion. Examples of a Zone 1 workout would be an easy yoga class, a light swim, a walk with the dog, etc.|
|Zone 2 Goals: EnduranceEnergy System: Oxidative||77-85%||This zone will also feel very easy (“conversational” effort). Training at this intensity primarily uses slow-twitch muscle fibers, since these fibers provide more most of the mobility for events lasting 2 minutes or longer, workouts at this intensity should comprise most of your training.Training above this intensity will not significantly overload your slow-twitch fibers, which you are attempting to train to become more efficient at using fat and oxygen to produce energy while conserving carbohydrate stores. If you don’t have a physically active job or aren’t able to spend lots of time on your feet during the day, this intensity is important for training the body to use fat as a fuel, especially for individuals who compete in events lasting more than two hours.Although it will be difficult to keep your intensity low on these days, if you’ve decided that you have lots of time on your hands and the type of training you want to do is primarily aerobic (vs. interval based training), then performing your endurance efforts at a higher intensity than Zone 2 will reduce the effectiveness of your harder workouts on subsequent days by fatiguing muscle and depleting carbohydrate stores in fast-twitch muscle. This can lead to overtraining and injury. In other words, if you’re going to use the “long, slow aerobic” method of training, you need to do most of it in Zone 2, not Zone 3, which is a huge mistake many endurance athletes make.|
|Zone 3 Goals: Muscular EnduranceEnergy System: Oxidative, Glycolytic||86-95%||During an endurance workout, your intensity may reach this zone on slight hills, or when you’re beginning to push the pace on flats. Your body is still primarily functioning aerobically, conversation is possible, and burning in the legs and shortness of breath is minimal, but you’re still “working”.A slight problem with this zone is that the intensity is too high for maximal stimulation of the slow-twitch muscle fibers and fat-burning. As intensity increases from zone 2 to zone 3, oxygen debt becomes greater, and since it takes more oxygen to burn one calorie from fat than from carbohydrate, more carbohydrate and less fat will be burned. Because this zone is high enough to get the physiological “runner’s high” and the satisfaction that you exercised with a slight amount of intensity, many athletes perform mile after mile in this zone, wear their bodies down, and never get significantly faster.On the flip side, this zone is, as you’ll learn later, the “money” zone for many distances in endurance sports, as it allows you to go relatively fast without dipping too significantly into your carbohydrate stores. This is why long interval training sessions or hill climbs in this zone can really help with race pace training and race preparation.Good for 8-20 minute intervals with short recovery periods between intervals.|
|Zone 4 Goals: Muscular Endurance, Lactic Acid Tolerance, Low-End SpeedEnergy System: Oxidative, Glycolytic||96-103%||Lactate threshold (LT), also called anaerobic threshold (AT), is the highest intensity at which your body can recycle lactic acid as quickly as it is produced. At this intensity, you are working very hard, but can still maintain your maximum sustainable pace and relatively good form because lactic acid levels in the blood and muscles are steady, not increasing.Increasing the intensity above this zone or towards the high end of this zone can cause lactic acid to more rapidly accumulate and bring premature fatigue and delayed recovery due to acidic hydrogen ion build-up and more rapid carbohydrate depletion. Performing interval training sessions near lactate threshold can teach your body to decrease the amount of lactic acid being produced and increase lactate removal at any given intensity.At this intensity, the fast-twitch fibers can be trained to produce less lactic acid and the slow twitch fibers can be trained to burn more lactic acid, both of which raise the lactic acid threshold and allow you to work harder at a higher intensity. Since you’re not at an all-out, high-impact pace as you would be in higher, fast-twitch muscle utilizing zones, recovery from Zone 4 training can occur quicker than recovery from other high-intensity training zones, and from an interval training standpoint, zone 4 training gives you a lot of bang for your buck.When you experience “rubbery leg” syndrome, a marked increase in breathing difficulty, or an inability to maintain good form, you have reached the point where lactic acid is accumulating at a faster rate than it can be removed, which can significantly decrease your ability to maintain a steady effort and also has significant recovery implications.Good for 1 to 7 minute intervals with about a 2:1 to 3:1 work:rest ratios.|
|Zone 5 Goals: Sustained Speed, Leg/Arm TurnoverEnergy System: Glycolytic, Phosphagenic||104-max%||At this zone, your intensity now exceeds your lactate threshold and your body is relatively stressed in its ability to withstand high lactate levels and remove lactate. In Zone 5, lactic acid builds up quickly, so this intensity cannot be sustained for long periods, but is useful for sustained surges of up to around 5 minutes, as there is still some contribution from aerobic energy systems.Because muscle and joint impact and lactic acid levels become extremely high in this zone, this type of training requires longer recovery periods between both workouts and intervals, especially in beginner athletes. In addition to increasing an athlete’s speed, training at this intensity will improve neuromuscular recruitment, economy, efficiency and turnover, but high levels of training in this zone is another common cause of overtraining. Typically, the only work done in this zone is interval training and hill repeats.Good for 2-5 minute intervals with 1:1 to 1:3 work:rest ratios.|
|Anything Above Zone 5: Explosive Speed, PowerEnergy System: Phosphagenic||max||This intensity is primarily training your glycolytic and phosphagenic energy systems, and can involve sets of anywhere from 5 seconds up to a couple minutes in duration. Athletes who want development in their fast-twitch muscles, strength, explosive power, or improvement in cycling or running mechanics should include training sessions at this level.These type of workouts are typified by short, explosive intervals followed by long recoveries, and include powerlifting, weight training, plyometrics and short bursts of energy.|
Why 6 zones? Why not just 3? and why not 9?
6 zones gives us a balance of zones to maximize performance in a broad enough spectrum of intensities without sacrificing specificity.
Zone #6 is just anything above a 5