Primitive Initiative®- Energy System Sequencing
Last week I talked about the 14 fundamental movement patterns that all humans should be exposed to. Primitive Initiative® aims to incorporate those movements into our training programs in the most efficient ways possible to maximize results. One way is to place the movements in a specific order within the workout to ensure quality of movement. I call this Energy System Sequencing. In order to explain what I mean by this we must have a quick review of our energy systems.
Our energy systems are responsible for providing adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to our body. ATP is basic fuel for muscular contraction and can be supplied directly from the body or derived from glucose, glycogen or fatty acid substrates. The level of intensity and duration of the work will dictate where the body will pull a majority of its energy from. It is important to keep in mind that all energy systems are working at the same time. There is just one that is the dominant system. Here is a rundown on the energy systems:
The Energy Systems
- Alactic Acid or Phosphagen Energy System– An anaerobic energy system. Uses ATP available in muscle for immediate energy. This system provides energy for up to 7 seconds. So movements that would you use this system are as follows:
- Speed/Explosiveness: Maximum Effort, Minimal Amount of time.
- 90-100% of max power. 5-7s/set, 1:12 to 1:20 rest.
- Examples exercises: Shot put, throwing a ball, 1 Rep Max, Plyometrics, Olympic lifts, Agility drills, Acceleration
- Glycolytic or Fast Glycolysis Energy System– An anaerobic energy system. Makes ATP using glucose and glycogen as a substrate. This energy system will become involved at high work intensities once the alactic energy system become depleted. Provides energy for up to 90 seconds. So movements that would you use this system are as follows:
- Max Strength/Hypertrophy: Max/mod Effort, Moderate amount of time.
- 75-90% of max power. 15-90s/set, 1:3 to 1:5 rest.
- Example exercises: Power lifts, bodyweight exercises, complex lifts
- Aerobic or Oxidative Energy System– An aerobic energy system. Makes ATP using fat, glucose and glycogen. Efficient at producing energy but cannot keep up with the demand when body is operating at high intensities. So movements that would you use this system are as follows:
- Hypertrophy/ Endurance: Moderate to low effort, moderate to low amount of time. 50-75% of max power. 1+ minutes/ set, 1:1 to 1:3 rest.
- Example exercises: Distance running, conditioning drills
So now that we have reviewed the energy systems I will go into my explanation of Energy System Sequencing (ESS). ESS is simply structuring training on how we humans utilize/deplete primary energy systems and use muscular contractions through training. That is to say we order the exercises that we are doing from fast to slow movements. We start the workout with explosive movements. For instance, we could start with a medicine ball throw. The goal is to throw hard and fast for minimal amount of repetitions. Once one set is complete we rest a few minutes….just enough time that we can throw the ball as fast and as hard as we did in the first set (see above for the work to rest ratios). With the appropriate amount of rest fatigue does not come into play so we are capable of exerting the same effort. Once fatigue does come into play and prevents us from exerting that same force we will move on to exercises that can be performed with moderate effort. We can move onto, say, a pull-up (a derivative of a climb…..we will touch more on this in later blogs). For most, this will be an appropriate exercise for this energy system, but for those who can crank out 100s of these bad boys, we may want to use this in the next energy system. Once we go through our sets, reps, and rest at the pull ups we then move onto more of a conditioning drill like shuttle runs (transit). This will then work within the last energy system.
Obviously this is a very simplistic example of how this works, but the goal, just like adding primitive movement patterns to the routine, is to incorporate all energy systems in our training. Any time we start to neglect a movement or an energy system, that particular movement and energy system will quickly become our downfall.