T Nation

Energy System Work



Lately energy system work has caught my attention. I've been reading running man and saw alot that speaks to me.

I've also been reading Joel Jamieson, as far as I understood quite a knowledgable man in the conditioning realm, and he got me quite crossed.(Is that from a song?)

Because you're an expert on most things training related, you seemed to be the right person to ask.

His protocols seem so easy. This is a summary of what he told on Breaking Muscle:
Anaerobic Lactic system: 30-40 s. work, 1-4 minutes rest, 2-5 sets, 1-2 series

Anaerobic Alactic system: 3-6 s. work, 60-120 s. rest,10-20 sets,explosive work

Aerobic system:method 1:HR 130-150, 30-90 minutes
method 2:8-10 s. work, 60 s rest,8-16 sets, moderate intensity
method 3:5-6 s. work,60 s rest,mod./high volume,high resistance

Do you feel this kind of protocols will be effective, or should conditioning be harder? This kind of ease makes me sceptic.


There is a mountain of research and practical experience that highlights the extreme benefits of aerobic exercise. Not necessarily for getting stronger or bigger but for benefits to the human body from decreasing cancer, Altzimers, heart disease, diabetes and a huge amount of other ailments, not to mention the benefits to the human brain, the increase in the number of mitochondria which give you energy and keep you alive. I can’t understand why aerobic exercise is not required by health insurance companies. It’s up there with eating vegetables, not smoking and getting enough sleep.

It won’t always make you look good naked but it will keep you alive, healthy and functioning. Yes it’s easy, yes it’s boring, no you won’t be tired or feel like you worked hard when you are done but the benefits can’t be denied. If you can’t transport oxygen and nutrient rich blood to your muscles, brain and organs you will die. So it makes sense to get your cardiovascular system functioning at a high level. If you are worried about losing muscle drink some aminos or MAG-10 and you’ll be fine.

And all the hard, out of breath, lactic conditioning is great for burning fat but it doesn’t promote the health benefits aerobic exercise does. And according to some people may even destroy mitochondria.


Thanks for the reply.

I knew about all the health benefits, and I’m not too afraid of losing muscle. I’m a wannabe athlete, not a wannabe bodybuilder;)
Maybe I should have formulated my question more precise. "If I construct a a conditioning program for performance, would these protocols give optimal results?"
I just feel these protocols are too easy too deliver optimal results, especially the alactic training and the short interval protocols for aerobic conditioning.


Those protocols should work for those energy systems. As with everything, it depends on the individual. Alactic work may seem like it is not enough but compare it to 90%+ weight training, which is alactic energy system work. 10-20 reps with 90% of your max is not easy at all. You aren’t going to “feel” everything happening in your body because not all the chemical reactions cause a sensation. It doesn’t mean those reactions and adaptations aren’t happening.


This is a great question. What sport do you play or what adaptations are you chasing? This will determine what sort of energy systems work you should be doing. If you play a sport, where you are in the competitive season or offseason is also very important.


Well I’m a martial artist and hope to compete one day, prob muay thai and BJJ.
And Im hoping to get in police academy in a few years (after finishing my initial study).
The PT consist of a coopertest (max distance in 12 min) and a parcour that must be finished in roughly 3 min.

I kinda know which energy system I should work, but that’s not my initial question.
I was intrested if this kind of protocols are effective for training the given systems.

Thanks for chiming in.