How good are you in less than 15 seconds?

A blanket concept that seems to plague most athletes operating in the context of today’s fitness world is major deficiency in the phosphagen system. Woah – big words… wait, what?

More simply put, all human activity recruits energy from one of three pathways: the phosphagen, the glycolytic, and the oxidative pathway. These metabolic pathways help support different human activities based on our output. Check it out:

metabolic pathways

For 99.9% of the population, “exercise” happens inside of the oxidative pathway. It’s great for cardiovascular endurance, weight loss, and some stamina adaptation, but it lacks the ability to develop speed, power, strength, lean muscle, etc. High intensity interval training, team sport athletic training,  and some cross-training elements break through the oxidative crutch and tap into the glycolytic pathway. But, few mainstream fitness programs touch on the phosphagen pathway. This pathway is home to the maximal effort of just a few seconds (i.e. 1RM deadlift, 100m sprint, broad jump). Furthermore, it’s critical to general physical preparedness and has a unique ability to transfer down the line into the other pathways. With a maximal effort of 0-15 seconds or so, this energy system training fast twitch muscle fibers that are critical to performance.

In today’s workout, if you treat your first 100m run like it’s an Olympic event (a sprint) you’ll have a unique ability to touch on this phosphagen pathway. Now, this chance won’t last forever because the entirety of the workout will last several minutes, but it’s worth visiting this top end output.

Keep these three elements in your mind. Do a little checks and balances on your training. Are you touching each of these pathways? If not, you should.


Logan Gelbrich


Wednesday’s Workout:

Complete 9 rounds for time:
3 Front Squats (135/95)
3 Split Jerks
100m Sprint