Strong Endurance™ is our umbrella term for all anti-glycolytic training methods.
Anti-glycolytic training is “anti-HIIT” that trains you to produce less lactic acid instead of tolerating more of it. AGT is used by many Eastern European national teams in a variety of sports: judo, cross country skiing, rowing, full contact karate…
Broadly, there are three categories of anti-glycolytic methods:
This is the original AGT.
A+A (“alactic + aerobic”) is a broad category of exercises that utilizes the “anti-glycolytic vise” to crush glycolysis in fast and intermediate fibers.
Prof. Yuri Verkhoshansky, the father of A+A, explains: “The exercises are organized in a way which allows the loading of the CP mechanism [which fuels brief intense contractions in sports like sprinting and weightlifting] during each set and the stimulation of the aerobic mechanism for its recovery between sets and series.”
This allows for a wealth of training methods and applications. There are three subtypes of A+A: AXE, Metal Heart, and Strength Aerobics.
When you target fast fibers with high power/low rep exercises—general like the kettlebell swing or sport-specific like striking a heavy bag—this is AXE.
The “A” in “AXE” stands for “aerobic.” The “X” refers to type IIX fast muscle fibers. “E” is for “exercise.”
AXE’s original goal is to develop the ability to explode over and over in games and contact sports. It has many additional benefits, including muscle building and fat loss.
An example of an AXE training session is 20-40min of heavy kettlebell swings done for 4-6 reps on the minute. Give each rep an 80-90% effort and keep going until you hit a StrongFirst Stop Sign, e.g., failing to pass the talk test before the next set or a power drop-off.
Learn how to wield AXE from my new book Kettlebell Axe.
b. Metal Heart
When you anti-glycolytically train intermediate type IIA fibers with light to moderate resistance at brisk to fast speeds for events like obstacle course racing and for aggressive fat loss—e.g., “fast and loose” kettlebell snatches, step-ups, repetition pushups—your method is called Metal Heart.
Soviets were better at inventing great training methods than they were at naming them. Thanks to Accept, one of my favorite heavy metal bands, for the inspiration. Metal Heart is the title of one of its albums and my upcoming book.
Of all AGT categories, it is most demanding on the cardiorespiratory system and does qualify as serious “cardio.”
An example of Metal Heart training is half an hour of walking snatches. Choose a light to medium kettlebell and give a 30-50% effort to every fast and loose rep. Take a step with the kettlebell overhead after each rep and switch hands often. Your breathing between the sets is deep and steady and the session feels like a comfortably hard run. Again, obey the StrongFirst Stop Signs to keep the effort aerobic.
Come and learn Metal Heart plans and a lot more at All-Terrain Conditioning™ seminars taught by StrongFirst Certified Master Instructor Derek Toshner in person and online.
Don’t miss the upcoming All-Terrain Conditioning™ seminars with Derek:
February 3-4 in Seattle, Washington, USA
February 17-18 in Darmstadt, Germany
You may also attend ONLINE.
c. Strength Aerobics
When A+A is applied to strength exercises, “grinds” and “semi-grinds,” it is Strength Aerobics for sports like wrestling.
An example of Strength Aerobics is fifteen sets of three reps in the barbell front squat with 70% of your max and 1min of active rest such as shadow boxing between them. No muscle burn is allowed.
Learn a classic Strength Aerobics kettlebell protocol by Alexey Senart, StrongFirst Certified Master Instructor in this article and a whole training system based on it in Iron Cardio, a book by Brett Jones, StrongFirst Director of Education.
All three subcategories of A+A are rich with “what-the-hell” effects.
2. Super Slow 2.0
This slow twitch muscle fiber hypertrophy method by Prof. Victor Selouyanov makes you swim in acid while training—and enjoy a low acid competition later.
It works because type I fibers come densely preinstalled with mitochondria: building the former nets more of the latter.
Super Slow 2.0 is perfect for sports like wrestling and rowing. One of our former instructors used this training method to row across the Atlantic a few years back.
At StrongFirst we call it “Super Slow 2.0” because of its similarity to a popular bodybuilding method—with crucial modifications, hence “2.0.”
I have written a series of articles about this method:
“Should You Build Your Slow Fibers?”
“How to Build Your Slow Fibers, Part I”
“How to Build Your Slow Fibers, Part II”
“How to Build Your Slow Fibers, Part III”
US Navy SEAL turned best-selling writer Jack Carr in one of his Terminal List novels:
Reece stood barefoot, staring out… He adjusted his feet…and squatted to grasp the thick handle of the seventy-pound kettlebell before him. Exhaling sharply, he thrust his hips forward, driving the cast iron weight to full extension, keeping his core muscles flexed as it floated briefly on the top of its arc. Gravity swung the bell downward, and he let it fall between his legs as he sucked a breath of air into his lungs. Up he came up again, repeating the process until he’d done ten perfect swings and set the weight back onto the ground. He dropped to his chest and executed ten push-ups, then went back to the kettlebell, alternating reps until he’d performed a hundred of each.
An attentive reader must have recognized Protocol 015 from my book The Quick and the Dead. The weight is moderately heavy, the effort given to each rep is 100%, and the tempo is maximal.
Q&D optimizes the metabolic conditions for upregulating the master regulator of mitochondrial growth, PGC-1α. Refer to the book, for painful biochemistry followed by simple and powerful kettlebell swing plus power pushup and snatch protocols, 015, 033, and 044.
Q&D and AXE are highly complementary. Q&D builds more and bigger mitochondria and AXE makes them function better. The technical terms are mitochondrial biogenesis and mitochondrial respiration, respectively. Alternating the two every six to twelve weeks is a win-win.
If you want to maximize your athletic performance while improving your health at the same time, say goodbye to HIIT and “metcons” and go anti-glycolytic. AGT delivers for everyone, from the general population to the world’s top athletes.
For a most comprehensive dive into anti-glycolytic training, take a Strong Endurance™ seminar. I am teaching the next one in Paris, France on September 28-29, 2024.
Sign up today and staying power to you!
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