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Energy System Training Basics

When considering training strategies for developing programs for your team, it is important to remember that the body responds specifically to the energy system that is utilized. While there is some overlap in adaptations, the basic rule of thumb is that the energy system utilized will be the one that is affected by the training.

In general, there are 4 energy systems that the body uses for energy. Rather than going into technical details, we can describe them in terms of duration and intensity.

- Energy System 1 - Very High Intensity, Very Short Duration (less than a few seconds)

- Energy System 2 - Very High Intensity, Short Duration (5-30 seconds)

- Energy System 3 - High Intensity, Moderate Duration (30 seconds - 2 minutes)

- Energy System 4 - Moderate/High Intensity, Long Duration (longer than 2 minutes)

A simple analysis of the demands of your sport can help you decide which energy systems are used the most. In soccer, all 4 are used, but Energy Systems 1 and 2 get the most use as the game is typically a series of high intensity actions separated by recovery.

When training a specific energy system, there are 3 things to consider

-Improving repeatability - being able to continually repeat the action as the game goes on (i.e. being able to keep running fast for the entire game)

-Improving intensity - being able to perform at a higher workrate within the action (i.e. run faster)

-Improving recovery - being able to perform repeats without increasing recovery time

For Energy Systems 1-3, it is impossible to maintain the intensity without having some sort of recovery. It is during the high intensity actions that waste products collect in the blood and fluids around the muscles being used. The recovery is when these products are removed. Without removal, high intensity capability become limited. With training, repeatability, intensity, and recovery improve.

Consider setting up your training session to include activities that stress more than one energy system. One method of doing this is to simply modify the work and rest periods for different activities within the session.

By planning your training around Energy Systems, your players will adapt faster and more efficiently.


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