ACTIONETIX | Train Your body’s Energy Systems to Win

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Here’s a look at some work I did back around 2003-2004. I presented this as part of a course on managing lactic acid for peak performance. It briefly illustrates each of the energy systems and what length of time they can operate at before dropping in performance. Knowing how these systems work is the basis of how to set up a conditioning program to maximize performance.

As per the chart below there are three energy systems in the body that can all be improved by nutritional modifications, sports supplementation and correct strength and aerobic training.

Craig Stevenson






TIME TO PEAK POWER < 1 second 15-20 seconds 1-3 minutes
TIME OF PEAK POWER MAINTENANCE (A) 6-10 seconds 20-40 seconds 3-5 minutes
CAPACITY (ENDURANCE) (B) 6-30 seconds 1-2 minutes At or below Lactic threshold (C): several hours At V02max.:  3-8 minutes (D)
FULL RECOVERY TIME 3 minutes 1-2 hours 24-48 hours See Anaerobic Lactic.
1/2 RECOVERY TIME 20-30 seconds 15-20 minutes   See Anaerobic Lactic.

 (A)  Time that peak power, once achieved, can be maintained.

(B)  Total time of exercise at an intensity which is significantly supported by this energy system.

(C)  Based on glycogen depletion and repletion stores.

(D)  If intensity is high enough to result in a significant rate of accumulation of lactic acid, this time is variable and considerably reduced compared to sub Lactic Threshold.  Supra maximal intensities may or may not be continued long enough to attain VO2 max.