Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Why do antiglycolytic training? - Part 3

Heavy, fast swings (with lots of rest). Part of our AGT toolbox. Photo credit:
In our series on antiglycolytic training, Part 1 and Part 2 cover why we do it. Hopefully now you are convinced of the why, so Part 3 will cover how we do antiglycolytic training.

Our goal with training is to increase our capacity. We do strength training to get stronger, and we do AGT to increase our power output.

Remember, your body responds to the stresses that you're under and actively remodels itself to become more resilient to that stress. We can view it as learning from tail events (the tail of the distribution). You don't need to constantly be carrying around 400lbs to get stronger, just a few 400lb deadlifts a week is enough to signal to your body that it should build some muscle and the wiring to the brain to control that muscle. In the context of your entire week, the amount of time spending lifting weights is very small - an event in the long tail - but has a dramatic effect on your body.*

The same thing happens with our energy systems. A common AGT template to generate both speed and endurance is to do a few rounds of light and fast work for 15-20 seconds with 2-3x rest time. To a meathead like me who likes to lift heavy, it seems inconceivable that this would work, until I think about tail events. Our goal is to put our body under a stress where it needs to generate as energy as fast as possible. It doesn't matter how much total energy is generated, we're just trying to make sure the power output is high. Then our bodies react by making it easier to generate lots of power.

It has been shown that you generate the most power when you're lifting about 30% of your 1RM. So your goal is to use a light weight, move fast and tell your mitochondria that they need to move NOW! Then you rest and let them recharge. That cyclic stress of MOAR POWER NOW is enough to tell your body to generate more mitochondria and to make them more efficient. Training for power output increases your capacity.

How can you increase your capacity without ever stressing it? Why is the Tesla Model S P100D both the fastest production car in the world (power production) and the electric car with the longest range (most capacity)? Batteries. You must have lots of batteries wired up in parallel if you want the power output to go 0-60 in 2.5 seconds. But the mere fact that you have lots of batteries also gives you lots of capacity at lower power requirements.

Mitochondria work like batteries. If you need to generate a ton of power for your 15 seconds of fast swings, you need to grow more mitochondria to generate that power. But the fact that you have more mitochondria gives you a much larger capacity at lower power requirements (endurance).

*Trigger Warning: Math - Tail events occur with very low probability but can have a dramatic effect. It can bring down an economy (2008 housing bubble) or it can make you stronger.  If it takes about 1 second to do a deadlift, and you do 3 sets of 5 once a week (I commonly will do something like this), that means you are under load for only 15 seconds a week, or 0.002% of your week.  That small time triggers an enormous shift in your body. Strength training and AGT are tail events that your body learns from.


row 500 / run 400
crawling lunge
10 KB swings or snatches
double KB overhead lunge
10 TGUs or windmills
10 goblet squats
5 pull-ups or push-ups or dips


front squat 8-5-3x5


5 push-ups between sets

Group Workout

4 rounds:
6 goblet catch at a challenging weight
0:45 rest


5 minutes of:
7 kettlebell swing
3 inchworm + push up
1 chin-up


75 Russian twists


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