In recent months, as we review our workouts at the whiteboard together, we often discuss what our output effort during the conditioning portion should be, 75%, 85%, max effort. We have also discussed “redlining.” I thought it would be a good idea to discuss what that essentially means, somewhat scientifically.
If you go out too hard in a conditioning workout, you will subsequently hit a “wall”. Been there, done that….gasping for air before being able to move on.
Here’s what happens:
At the beginning of all exercises (and anytime the workload is increased) adaptation occurs. The need for adaptation can be observed by comparing the work level of oxygen consumption at any time. As the workload changes, the consumption of oxygen increases and culminates with the leveling off of oxygen. So, when you start off too fast in a conditioning workout, adaptation occurs too quickly where the body does not have time to adjust, relying mainly on anaerobic glycolysis* and the end result is us “redlining” and feeling unable to continue without long rest periods.
These longer periods of unplanned rest will impede your overall performance.
It sounds counterintuitive, but starting off slower offers a better opportunity for a better end result, as your body can go through the adaptation process at an appropriate rate.
The study of energy systems is of course more in-depth than this, but the point here is to help you understand the process in which we adapt to the demands of a workout.
– Angie Foree
*anaerobic glycolysis -Anaerobic glycolysis is a metabolic process in which glucose is transformed to lactate. The process occurs when energy is required in the absence of oxygen. Anaerobic glycolysis is essential for tissues with insufficient oxygen supply and high-energy requirements.