All Training is Energy Systems Training
Our body produces energy through three energetic pathways…
Phosphocreatine System (Alactic)
Glycolytic System (Lactic)
Oxidative System (Aerobic)
Basically, you’re body creates energy at different rates based on the output and duration needed. The Alactic system can produce energy very fast but only last for several seconds. The Aerobic system produces energy slower, but also in a very sustainable way.
The development of these pathways is known is what everyone refers to as Energy Systems Training (EST). This is an incredibly broad term, considering all training and movement is taking place in a blend of these systems.
Typically, coaches and athletes refer to EST as “engine work” although strength working sets and maximal contractions are certainly EST as well.
Literally, you can’t do anything without it being Energy Systems based. It’s just that we often label our movement as “EST” when we have conditioning as the primary intention.
A Zone-Based Approach to EST
The Energy System Zones we’ve created is simply a model for organizing thoughts and intentions surrounding training. It’s more science than art. The art is where these zones converge with a coach’s unique programming style and are delivered to an athlete.
Why seven zones?
After all, there are only three energy systems.
Well…like I said…it’s complicated. More often than not a piece of prescribed work requires an interplay of one or multiple systems.
Is a 20:00 piece with Double Unders, Toes-to-Bar and Ascending Squat Cleans (aka. 19.2) Phosphocreatine, Glycolytic or Oxidative? It’s likely an indistinguishable blend of all three.
Therefore, we need a slightly more nuanced approach to EST.
This is why there are seven zones (Z0 to Z6); they represent the 7-relevant training time domains for fitness athletes.
Zone 0 (Z0) is the lowest -and slowest- time domain.
Zone 6 (Z6) is maximal contractions (i.e. absolute strength, power, strength).
Why not 1-7? Who uses a “0”?
This all comes down to Z0: Basic Aerobic Function. This zone was is the most foundational (the bottom the pyramid) of all energy production. Plus, the way Basic Aerobic Function work is prescribed to ZOAR Athletes is in a non-stressful way. In other words, work in Z0 is restorative, not disruptive. It promotes recovery. Non-stressful movement has a fundamentally different goal. Therefore, this zone was assigned a “0”.
Now, without ado, here it is…
How are the zones used?
The EST Zones are mainly used by the person programming to organize a training template. For example…
Then the coach uses the template as a skeleton to program the sessions, staying within those parameters.
For example, Monday’s Z2 Row Intervals might be…
-Row @2k Time Trial Pace -4-6s
*When you break: Rest 1:30
*Terminate if any time is more than 0:20 off first time
*Score in total working time
4 x 20.20.20 Calories
-Rest 20s between Clusters
-Rest 90s between Sets
*Score is total time, including rest
This system allows for some freedoms (variance) while programming week-to-week, while ensuring training is still structured and targeting the desired system.
Got a question about our Energy System Training Zones? Email me here.
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