Training the Energy Systems (by Hagerman)

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Training the Energy Systems (by Hagerman)

Post by igoeja » October 30th, 2006, 7:56 am

TRAINING THE ENERGY SYSTEMS: Part I

By Dr. Fritz Hagerman

Dr. Fritz Hagerman, a world-renowned expert in exercise physiology, has
been educating and improving rowers and coaches for over 30 years.
Fritz's groundbreaking research in rowing physiology began in the late
60s with New Zealand's National team, and he has continuously worked
with the U.S. National team since 1972. The results of his research have
positively impacted the performance of our national teams by teaching
athletes how to improve their training regimens as well as helping
coaches to identify those with the best physiological potential. He has
been working closely with U.S. Men's Coach Mike Teti since 1997. Fritz
is a Professor of Physiology at Ohio University and also serves as the
Head of FISA's Sports Medicine Commission. irow.com is extremely honored to have "THE MAN" in rowing physiology share his knowledge with us.

It was emphasized in "Defining the Energy Systems" that the interaction
among the three energy systems - ATP-PC and Lactic Acid Systems
(anaerobic), and the Oxygen System (aerobic) - during rowing training
and competition represents several complex biochemical processes. It
should, therefore, be of no surprise to any of our previous or more
recent on-line viewers to learn that it is difficult to blend these
three systems into an effective training program that will maximize the
use and development of each system and result in improved rowing
performance.

Before discussing specific recommendations to improve the effectiveness
of each energy system, it is important to review the basic principles of
training. Training should be mostly task specific, and when not rowing,
the athlete should exercise to simulate the rowing stroke, whether in
part or as a whole, including resistance or weight training.

The only exceptions would be off-season cross-training or alternative
training due to an injury caused or aggravated by rowing. Overload the
physiological systems, but don’t concentrate this overload; follow the
10% rule when starting a training program, meaning an increase of no
more than 10% per week in training frequency, duration, and intensity.
As training progresses, then the weekly increase can be reduced to as
low as 5%.

Also, don’t forget that rest and recovery are vital ingredients in the
best training recipe; a failure to plan for these can produce disastrous
results, including peaking at the wrong time, overtraining, or chronic
fatigue. Remember, under-training is usually never a problem for the
motivated rower. If you are unusually tired, injured, or sick, then
taking a day or two off should not be considered a serious training
set-back. Instead, abstinence of training under any of these conditions
is a wise choice. Because most interruptions of training are due to
respiratory infections, it is recommended that training be reduced if
the respiratory problem is above the neck and cancelled if it is below
the neck.

Consistency of training is one of the most important training
principles; you must use it, or lose it, and as you know, it is far
easier to maintain a highly trained state than to achieve one.
Individualize your training program based on your skill and fitness
levels, availability of training facilities and equipment, and the
amount of time you have available. There is no "best time" of the day to
train, as it has been shown conclusively that the body doesn’t "care"
when you decide to train. However, very early morning time (1-4am) and
training immediately before bedtime or following a large meal should be
avoided. An increase in training should also be accompanied by an
increase in the quantity and quality of food intake, a higher intake of
calories will be necessary to fuel the energy systems.

Part II: Peaking

Probably the most difficult job for any coach or self-trained athlete is
to design a training program that will permit “peaking” at the right
time. This goal is sometimes further complicated by the need to “peak”
more than once in a period of only a few months which is often the case
of U.S. Olympic qualifiers.

Successful and competitive performances are dependent on carefully
planned comprehensive training programs that usually span several weeks or months including up to a year or more. Periodicity of training
provides planning for long- term periods (macrocycles) which, in turn,
are divided into number of training sessions, days, or weeks (microcycles).

Macrocycles are often represented by an out-of-competition period, a
preparation period, and a competitive period and for rowers who live
north of the equator, these periods would include approximately
September through December, January through April, and May through
August respectively. Furthermore, training can be categorized as either
specific or non-specific. Specific training includes all work done on
the water, rowing ergometry, and tank exercises whereas non-specific
(supplemental) training can include weight training, flexibility
exercises, or any form of cross training such as cycling, swimming,
running, or cross country skiing.

A well-planned training program is based on four specific training
factors: type of training (specific and non-specific), frequency (number
of sessions per day, week, or cycle), duration (length of time for each
training session), and intensity of training (rate of doing work). The
intensity of work is the most critical factor in planning a program
which will culminate in your best performance. It is well known that the
timing of increasing or decreasing intensity determines whether an
athlete “peaks” at the desired time or not. In addition, if intensity is
increased at too high a rate it can lead to overtraining, injury, and
fatigue. The selection of the right mixture of the four training factors
is the basis of successful conditioning.

As you train it is good advice to learn and remember how the body
responds to exercise and as you plan a training schedule, record it
(computer, audio, or written); don’t go on the water, enter the weight
room, or sit on the ergometer without a plan. When you complete each
training session, again record what you have done, compare the results
with your intended plan, and immediately note how your body reacted to
the training session. Modifying or changing training programs may be
necessary and comparing your specific training regimens with your
competitive performances over time will permit you to more objectively
make accurate modifications.

Part III: The ATP-PC System

Although certain training recommendations will tend to benefit one
energy system more than another, their close relationship insures an
energy continuum. Despite emphasizing one energy system with a specific
training stimulus, it is likely you will always have some overlap among
systems, especially when you consider the variable time frames and
weather conditions in which rowing, training, and competition take
place.

It is also important to point out that there are a number of different
ways to train each of the energy systems and a wealth of training
information is now available in several different forms; video and audio
tapes, the internet, live symposia, and the old stand-by, the written
word. If anything, hopefully the information presented here will help
you to make better and more intelligent training choices.

You may recall the description of the three energy systems available to
the rowing muscles from the previous presentation on this website; the
ATP-PC System, the Lactic Acid System, and the Oxygen System. With the
exception of the few seconds of an exercise when our muscles must rely
on the ATP-PC System for energy, the use of the other energy systems
depends on the duration and intensity of the exercise.

The Adenosine Triphosphate-Phosphocreatine (ATP-PC) System

Because of only a limited contribution of this system to rowing and
because it is used most effectively during the first few seconds of any
exercise, it is not necessary to devote much of your training time, if
any, to the improvement of this system. Our earlier research indicated
that this system contributes less than 5% of the energy needed to row a
highly competitive 2000m race.

Recent research seems to tell us that insignificant changes occur in
this system despite regular performance of high intensity bouts of
exercise that last between 5 and 15 seconds. If you want to train the
ATP-PC System, it is suggested that multiple intermittent work bouts of
less than 20 seconds be performed, e.g., racing starts, with recovery
periods of 40-60 seconds between each work bout. In this way the work
bouts are too brief to provide much stimulation to anaerobic glycolysis
(Lactic Acid System), and the relative long recovery periods permit
adequate restoration of ATP and PC. This also means less lactic acid is
produced, thus lowering the prospect of acute fatigue associated with
this by-product of anaerobic metabolism. Training at or greater than
100% of maximum effort (see accompanying training intensity table) will
stimulate this energy system.

Although some athletes appear to be blessed with more powerful ATP-PC
systems, the quickness and explosiveness of a rower are also determined
by other factors such as muscle fiber type distribution and complex
neuromuscular relationships. There is no difference in the biochemical
machinery of this system between men and women, however, men tend to have higher absolute energy outputs because of their larger skeletal
muscle mass. To suggest that a rower cannot get faster or react more
quickly, with training, is incorrect, but it would be more productive to
concentrate on developing skill and technique at higher velocities than attempting to design training sessions concentrating solely on
improvement of the ATP-PC System.

It is interesting to note that probably the most widely used ergogenic
aid in sports today is phosphocreatine (PC). This compound has gained
popularity because it is not found as part of any sports federation
banned or illegal substance list, it is suggested to be effective in
improving performance, and, at least for now, there appears to be no
known acute or chronic side effects. If PC is effective, then it would
be for only short periods. A recent avalanche of reports concerning PC
has tumbled out of both the scientific and non-scientific communities,
and the results are equivocal.

Although short bouts of repetitive muscular efforts have been shown to
improve using isolated muscle groups as a result of PC ingestion, sports
performances following PC use, both actual and simulated, are less
impressive. There seems to be a strong relationship between the amount
of PC stored in the working muscle and the ability to perform repetitive
anaerobic work bouts, but it is difficult to assess the PC storage
capacity or content of muscle and this capacity and content apparently
vary from one individual to the next. PC may be similar to our
electrolyte use; if we are low in calcium then exercise performance may
be impaired.

However, it would be unwise to simply consume large amounts of calcium
without knowing what its concentration is in the body; calcium is
relatively easy to measure in the body, PC is not. There are also no
reports of the long-term effects of PC use and it will be some time
before these data are available. Although the distributors of PC are
recommending that all sports will benefit from its use, there is no
reliable evidence that this is the case and nor is there valid evidence
that increased muscular concentrations of PC spare or delay the use of
the other energy systems, thus contributing to a possible larger and
more efficient energy pool.

Part IV: Anaerobic Glycolysis – Lactic Acid System (LAS)

Although this energy system accounts for only about 15 to 20% of the
energy contribution during a 2000m race, the timing of its contribution
is critical. Because elite rowers generate their highest power outputs
in the first 500m of a race, significant amounts of lactic acid are
produced during the first 90 seconds. In fact, our research has shown
that blood lactate concentrations reach maximal levels within the first
2 minutes of a 2000m race.

Therefore, the rower usually tolerates a very high lactate load for an
additional 3-4 minutes until the sprint, when the Lactic Acid System is
once again challenged to make a significant energy contribution. Venous
blood lactate values in excess of 20 mmol/L of blood have been observed
for elite rowers following 2000m competitive efforts and, when compared
with responses of elite aerobic athletes in other sports, the rower’s
responses have been among the highest. As a result, one can appreciate
the physical discomfort a rower experiences during and immediately
following a race.

It is important to note that measuring blood lactate does not reflect
the total amount of lactate produced by the working muscles. Instead it
is more of a residual concentration of lactate left over following a
complex series of biochemical cellular reactions that involve lactate
production, transport, clearance, buffering and resynthesis to ATP and
glycogen. Maximal lactate concentrations are quite variable among
individuals, but tend to be more consistent following submaximal
efforts. The Lactic Acid System’s (LAS) range of maximum energy
production is 60-90 seconds during high intensity exercise.

Although there are several training schemes designed to improve this
energy system, it is recommended that any training intensity above
anaerobic threshold (AT) will improve the LA System (see intensity
table). There is also evidence to indicate that this system, among the
three energy systems, probably has the greatest capacity to change with
training. Repeated rowing efforts of 1-3 minutes above AT and using a
work:recovery ratio

1:3 or 1:2 will permit sufficient time for large amounts of lactate to
be cleared and resysnthesized. In other words, if you row 3 minutes,
then your recovery time between exercise bouts will double or triple the
exercise time. This is not only an effective way to train the Lactic
Acid System, but if exercise duration is extended, the cardiovascular
transport system will also greatly benefit. Any work performed at or
above AT will teach the athlete lactate tolerance and, as the exercise
increases in intensity, so will the learning effect. The AT seems as
receptive to change as the LAS.

It is not uncommon for an elite rower to improve AT from 70-75% of
maximal heart rate during the off-season to 85-90% during the
competitive period. Anaerobic Threshold training should include a
work:recovery ratio of 1:1. Because training intensities above AT are
almost totally dependent on glucose and glycogen for fuel, it is
recommended that 3648 hours should separate any of these higher
intensity workouts. Even a diet high in carbohydrate will be challenged
to replenish muscle glycogen stores during these recovery times. I have
often referred to AT as that point during high intensity exercise where
an untrained person will stop exercising and where a trained athlete
will begin to think about quitting; the latter being precisely the state
of mind you want your opponent to be in with 250-500m to go in the race.

Part V: The Oxygen System

The Oxygen System, or aerobic metabolism, makes the most significant
contribution of energy during a 2000m race and also for most training
rows. Although more active biochemical changes seem to occur in the
muscle cell as a result of aerobic training compared to only minimal
changes attributed to anaerobic training, the actual increase in VO2 max
is proportionally less than measurable responses of anaerobic factors
due to specific training methods. Although it appears that VO2 max is
primarily determined by hereditary factors, it can be significantly
improved with training. However, its capacity for change is considerably
less than the potential for change in the anaerobic response.

For many years, exercise scientists have suggested that VO2 max is the
single most limiting factor in performing high intensity aerobic work
that extends beyond 3 minutes. Although there is a strong relationship
between VO2 max and a rower’s performance, our more recent research has shown that there is an even stronger relationship between a rower’s
ability to work for 5-7 minutes at a higher percentage of their VO2 max
and their performance.

The most revealing physiological response to predict rowing performance
at the international level is the rower’s ability to maintain their
metabolic rate at or above AT. Any aerobic athlete who can significantly
elevate their AT can perform high intensity exercise more efficiently
(aerobic metabolism means more ATP molecules) and the by-products of the O2 system, CO2 and H2O, are easy to deal with. This is not the case when anaerobic metabolism dominates.

Oxygen, or aerobic training, can be divided into either high intensity
or low intensity workouts and both can use either continuous or
intermittent training sessions. High intensity aerobic training seems
more conducive to intermittent work, which should range from about
75-90% of maximal heart rate (see table of training intensities) with a
work recovery ratio of either 1:0.5 or 1:0.25. In other words, if you
row 10 minutes in this intensity range, your recovery period should
range from 2.5 to 5 minutes. The high intensity form should not only
represent the majority of your aerobic training but should also be the
largest contributor to total training time.

Most low intensity aerobic training should be continuous and, if done
intermittently, it should not be for any length of time less than 10
minutes. Rest or recovery periods for low intensity aerobic rowing
should range between 30-60 seconds; the shorter the duration of
exercise, the shorter the recovery period needed. Low intensity aerobic
training is often referred to as “conversational” pace and thus you
should be able to talk easily during an exercise of this intensity.

Although both forms of aerobic training permit a rower to reach and
maintain an aerobic base, do not interpret the value of aerobic training
in only quantitative terms. Every workout, even of a low intensity, must
always stress quality, and as the physical condition of the rower
improves, both exercise intensity and skill level need to be elevated.
Many coaches and athletes are convinced that 60-120 minutes of
continuous low intensity or steady-state rowing is an important part of
developing and maintaining an adequate aerobic base. We have convincing data, including muscle biopsy histochemical and biochemincal indicators, which support that rowing continuously at a low steady state intensity for 60 minutes or longer for any calibre of rower, is not more effective in maintaining aerobic capacity than 30 minutes of rowing at the same work intensity.

Not only do these results apply to a single bout of rowing, but also to
5, 10, 15, and 20 week training responses after the aerobically-trained
subjects had completed a total of 20, 40, 60 and 80 training sessions
respectively. Furthermore, performing 2 intermittent 30 minute exercise
bouts of relatively high aerobic work intensity (10-20 % more average
power than for the low intensity work) with a 7-10 minute recovery
period between the 30 minute work bouts is a much stronger aerobic
training stimulus than lower intensity continuous rowing.

This higher work intensity for continuous rowing could not be tolerated
by most subjects for more than 32-36 minutes and still maintain a
steady-state. The increased energy expenditure of the intermittent high
intensity work not only proved significantly more effective than either
30 or 60 minutes of rowing in the improvement of aerobic capacity, but
it was also more neuromuscularly task specific.

Comparative videotape, coaching evaluations, and metabolic data
confirmed those rowers performing intermittent high intensity training
bouts rowed more efficiently at all exercise intensities than those
rowers who trained for longer time periods and at lower intensities,
especially as stroke rating and power output increased to beyond AT,
including maximum power output.

This presentation has discussed training of all three basic energy
systems, including AT training with supporting research data to validate
my recommendations. Regardless of your present skill level or physical
conditioning state or your competitive aspirations, optimal training of
the energy systems requires a comprehensive training program. In future
irow.com presentations, the importance of comprehensiveness will be
emphasized by discussions dealing with such topics as resistance
training, cross training, artificial and actual altitude training,
restricted breathing training, high oxygen training, ionization
training, electrical stimulation of muscle, and muscle and blood
boosting using creatine, human growth hormone, erythropoietin (EPO), and oxygen “kickers” such as flurocarbons, oxygen breathing, and oxygenated water.
51 years of age, 6'4"' (1.93 M), 210 lbs (95.5 kg)

jbell
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Post by jbell » August 9th, 2007, 11:04 pm

I feel stupid about bumping this old thread, but when he is talking about training the lactic acid system, he says work to recovery should be in the ratio of 1:3 or 1:2. Would this mean like 10min would equal to 30min of recovery?
PB's:
500: 1:39
2k: 6:43.3
6k: 21:44.1

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igoeja
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it depends

Post by igoeja » August 9th, 2007, 11:17 pm

depends on which training mode, but i've read it as follows...

ut1: the recovery ration is 3 (work) : 1 (rest)
ut2: 2:1
at: 1:1
tr: 1:2
at 1:3
51 years of age, 6'4"' (1.93 M), 210 lbs (95.5 kg)

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PaulS
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Post by PaulS » August 10th, 2007, 11:21 am

jbell wrote:I feel stupid about bumping this old thread, but when he is talking about training the lactic acid system, he says work to recovery should be in the ratio of 1:3 or 1:2. Would this mean like 10min would equal to 30min of recovery?
If we could somehow force you to remain in AN (the other AT) for 10 consecutive minutes (through electronic stimulation or some other means, if that were even possible), then I'm not quite sure you would recover in the following 30 minutes. :shock:
Erg on,
Paul Smith
www.ps-sport.net Your source for Useful Rowing Accessories and Training Assistance.
"If you don't want to know the answer, don't ask me the question."

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Post by jbell » August 10th, 2007, 5:53 pm

Well, this summer I have been doing mainly longer stuff (most workouts 45min + at rates no higher than 24) and tryouts are about 3 weeks away. I would ultimately like to break 21:50 at tryouts, so I want to start doing stuff that will help bring my 6k down. I remember that 6ks are right at your anaerobic threshold, so I was hoping to read this and create some of my own workout routines. Unfortunately, I really can't understand it. Like, if I did 10min at a 1:47 (not sure I could do, but maybe) then I would have to take a 20-30min break? I really don't get it. Even 10min on 10 off seems like too much rest, but maybe my views on training are clouded.
PB's:
500: 1:39
2k: 6:43.3
6k: 21:44.1

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Post by PaulS » August 10th, 2007, 7:16 pm

jbell wrote:Well, this summer I have been doing mainly longer stuff (most workouts 45min + at rates no higher than 24) and tryouts are about 3 weeks away. I would ultimately like to break 21:50 at tryouts, so I want to start doing stuff that will help bring my 6k down. I remember that 6ks are right at your anaerobic threshold, so I was hoping to read this and create some of my own workout routines. Unfortunately, I really can't understand it. Like, if I did 10min at a 1:47 (not sure I could do, but maybe) then I would have to take a 20-30min break? I really don't get it. Even 10min on 10 off seems like too much rest, but maybe my views on training are clouded.
Perhaps the definitions of UT, AT, TR, AN should be firmed up, but I'm not going to attempt it. Anyone?

Fortunately, concrete definitions for them don't really matter. :D

Based on your Signature Times, I'd suggest a session to add into your weekly training would be this:

3 x 3k x 2 minutes rest, Target Paces 1:51, 1:50, 1:49

If you make all three, then drop the Pace targets by 1 second.
Once a week, with a recovery day both before and after. i.e. 8k Steady state, Target pace between 2:01 and 1:58, it should be relatively comfortable.
Erg on,
Paul Smith
www.ps-sport.net Your source for Useful Rowing Accessories and Training Assistance.
"If you don't want to know the answer, don't ask me the question."

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Post by jbell » August 10th, 2007, 8:56 pm

Thanks for the workouts Pauls. Yea, I suppose I don't really understand what each system really means. The other workout I was thinking of doing was 2x20min @ ~1:53 with 5min rest. Monday and Wednesday are gonna be my hard erg days, and Tuesday / Thursday will be my rest days. Any more workouts you can think of will be appreciated.
PB's:
500: 1:39
2k: 6:43.3
6k: 21:44.1

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Workout Range

Post by igoeja » August 10th, 2007, 9:13 pm

If you look at CII's online program, http://www.concept2.co.uk/training/interactive.php, it will describe the levels in detail, but below are ballpark definitions:

UT1: easier aerobic - conversations (utliization 1)
UT2: harder aerobic (utliization 2)
AT: aerobic overlaod (anaerboc threshold)
TR: borderline anaerobic (transport)
AN: short, intense interval (anaerobic)
51 years of age, 6'4"' (1.93 M), 210 lbs (95.5 kg)

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Post by jbell » August 11th, 2007, 12:58 am

Thanks for the link and info igoeja. I forgot about that. They have some good AT workouts I'll try to incorporate into my training. Thanks again guys.
PB's:
500: 1:39
2k: 6:43.3
6k: 21:44.1

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Post by almostflipped » August 12th, 2007, 8:18 pm

The concept of taking a 1:1 rest to recovery ratio is nice in theory, but not practical. As an example, if you were doing 20' pieces in an AT band you would need no more than 10' rest and many people will do it with 5-7' rest. When you get into shorter pieces (TR and AT) taking long rest intervals becomes more important and practical.

AT pieces that could help:

3-4 x 3k at 6k pace with 8' rest
2-3 x 20' at 6k+3 with 5-10' rest
3 sets of (4'on/1'off x 3-4) with on at 6k pace and off at hard SS, 5-8' rest
2-3 sets of (1:40'on/20"off x 10) with on at 6k and off at paddle, 8-10' rest
2-3 sets of (45"on/15"off x 15-20) with on at 6k to 6k +2 and off at paddle, 8-10' rest
3-4 sets of 15' at 6k+2 with 5-8' rest
4-6 x 10' at 6k to 6k +2 with 5-7' rest
3 x 10' at 6k with rate under 26, 1 x 7' at full pressure with rate at 30, 5-8' rest
10k at 6k + 4 (basically a split or two slower than a 10k test)
5 x 2k at 6k with 3-4' rest
4 x 8' at 6k with 4' rest
2 sets of 3 x (7.5'on/1.5'off) with on at 6k+2 and off at hard SS (make it easy SS and 2' off if you need it), 7-10'rest
2 sets of 6 x (750m on/250m off) with on pace at 6k or 6k-1 and off pace at hard SS, 5-10' rest

Frankly though, my favorite workout for pre-6k is:
60' at hard SS (6k+8-10) immediately followed by 20' of (40"on/20"off) with on pace at 6k (hopefully) and off pace at paddle.

The basic concept is to do something that will allow your average pace to be near 6k pace for 30-60'. Generally accepted range for AT is 6k-1 up to 6k+4.

In terms of the C2 workouts, use them to get an idea of how to balance workouts over a time period and for determining pacing (the british pacing shown on that interactive site is really quite good). However in terms of actual workouts they are not suited for your age and fitness level (even when I selected level 5). Given your age and fitness doing <20' of total AT work or <40' of UT1 is of no great benefit.

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Post by jbell » August 12th, 2007, 11:29 pm

Thank you for those workouts almostflipped. I will try to work those into my workout regiment.
PB's:
500: 1:39
2k: 6:43.3
6k: 21:44.1

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