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Sports Specific Training: Energy Systems

There are three different physiological systems that the body uses to produce energy to meet the body’s demands. Energy systems can also be considered metabolic efficiency, essentially it is preparing the athlete to meet their sport’s specific energy demands. For example, a cross country runner will have different energy/metabolic demands that a sprinter. 
 
The 3 Energy/Metabolic Systems:
 
1. Phosphocreatine (PCr) system: short anaerobic, high-intensity activity.
 
a. 1 - 15 seconds in length.
b. Short speed work with long rest.
 
2.Glycolytic system: short anaerobic, high-intensity activity.
 
a. 15 seconds - 3 minutes.
b. 300 yard shuttles.
 
3. Aerobic system: long, moderate-low intensity activity.
 
a. Anything longer than 3 minutes.
b. 4 mile run.
 
During any activity, all three systems are active at some point during sports; however, each sport has specific energy/metabolic demands. In order to construct an appropriate strength and conditioning program it is important to determine which system is primarily used for that sport. To take this concept even further, programs can be developed not only for the specific sport but a specific position in that sport.
 
A soccer player needs to focus on developing their anaerobic systems, short sprints and power.
A goalie in soccer need to focus on reaction time and explosive power; whereas, an winger needs a combination of anaerobic and aerobic training.
A cross country runner needs to focus on aerobic endurance, long endurance runs and strength.
 
By being able to assess the energy/metabolic demands of your sport, a coach can effectively develop a plan to increase athletic performance for the team and the individual athlete.
 
Melissa Garcia is a certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist at Compete Sports Performance and Rehab in Lake Forest, California and former collegiate soccer player.