The Energy Pathways
Week 10 of 14: PRACTICE
A) 3 Rounds For Quality (RFQ)
15 strict pullups
B) 3 sets on the 4:00 of:
3 FS @ 87.5-90%
AND COMING THURSDAY (CAP)
Week 10 of 14: COMPETITION
For combined time:
50-40-30-20-10 rep rounds for time
-13 minute cap
B) 2-4-6-8-10 rep rounds for time
Front Squat (205/135)
Back Squat (205/135)
-13 minute cap
For many years a chart similar to this one graced the wall of CrossFit LA. At our old, tiny little alley location and at the current location. Hundreds of people have walked by it hundreds of times – literally. But I wonder how often anyone stopped to look at it and absorb it? The impending excitement and anticipation of the workout most likely far outweighed the squiggly lines of the chart.
But this chart is how you work. It depicts the three energy systems in our human body. The systems themselves have been called different things at different times, and they all involve that thing you learned in high school, the dreaded Krebs cycle. But here’s the simple explanation:
1. The phosphagen system powers the stuff you do for just a few seconds.
2. The glycolytic system powers stuff you do for a couple-few minutes.
3. The oxidative system powers longer-term activity.
So, in real life terms, you could think:
1. 1RM clean and jerk
3. 5K run
Those are your three energy systems. The first two are anaerobic, and the last one is aerobic. The first two require adequate carbs for fuel, the last one will eventually turn to fat stores. Why does all this matter? Well first, training at CFLA is about empowerment and education, not just showing up and running whichever direction the coach points. So, it’s about understanding your body and a little bit of exercise science, so that you can know why you’re doing things and how to get the results you want.
And second, if CrossFit is all about being prepared for anything, then you should be training all three of these energy systems. Most people really like training the first two. When’s the last time you trained the third? Do you go for longer runs? I know Andy recommends it in his book! Or are you the other way around, do you avoid the 1RM days? Consider the science behind this chart, that you have three energy systems, and then look in your training journal and see if you’ve been training all three with regularity.
Becca Borawski served as Program Director at CFLA for seven years and is now part of the extended coaching family. She is the managing editor for Breaking Muscle, a website designed for real athletes and real coaches. She lives in Portland, OR and is most likely preparing a paleo meal at this moment.
Graphic courtesy of Breaking Muscle.