If you poke your head into one of our JustLift weightlifting sessions, you will probably see a lot of people sitting around doing nothing. You might ask, what are they doing? The simple answer is that they are getting strong.
Unlike circuit training or long slow distance training, the goal of training for power is to target the phosphagen (aka ATP-CP) energy system where the primary fuel source is Adenosine Tri-Phosphate (ATP,e.g. three phosphates). This differs from circuit training (primarily glycolitic) and long slow distance (primarily aerobic). The ATP-CP system is high energy, which allows the athlete to generate maximal force for short periods of time (efforts much less than 30s).
Ideally, we will rest 2-3 minutes between sets to replenish our ATP stores. Much longer than that, and you’ll start to cool down and the body’s nervous system will go into recovery mode. Shorter than that, and we probably haven’t maximized our ATP stores. Occassionally, we have to be able to lift with less than 2 minutes rest in between sets, as this situation may occur in a weightlifting meet when there’s some shifty weight changes being made by crafty coaches. However, this isn’t ideal from a training perspective.
If you want the basic bio-chemistry lesson, the energy comes from ATP being broken down to Adenosine Di-Phosphate (ADP, e.g. two phosphates) and a free Phosphate. The breaking of the bond is what releases the energy. Now, to replenish the ADP and recombine it to ATP, another phosphate is needed, which comes from stored Creatine Phosphate (CP). So, if you’ve heard of the use creatine as a strength training supplement, this is the reasoning behind it. The more CP you have, the more ADP you can convert back to ATP, allowing you to do more work. So creatine doesn’t make you stronger directly (as far as neuromuscular activation), it just allows you to do more work. The cool part is that energy is required to recreate that bond, and that energy ultimately comes from fat!
So hopefully that gives you an idea of why a lot of us are just sitting around picking at callouses, checking our phones, or updating our status with our latest PR’s. We’re getting strong!