Fortnightly Note

Anti-Glycolytic Workout


This anti-glycolytic workout is a simple way to increase your ability to operate close to your anaerobic threshold, lactate threshold or whatever you choose to call the point at which lactate starts to accumulate faster than you can clear it. Arguments abound about terminology, but as long as we all know what we're referring to, I'm happy for anyone to call it what they like (we're not in a university research facility after all).

Anti-glycolytic training isn't something I came up with, I first heard the term from Pavel Tsatsouline of Strongfirst and it's quite possible that he coined the term. I've yet to have the opportunity to attend his "Strong Endurance" workshop, but the feedback I've received from those who have is that it was very good.

Some will argue that his explanation of the mechanism is incorrect. We might even vary a little on the specifics of how to perform the workout, but we should only care that it works and so it's useful to us from a training perspective.

The idea of the anti-glycolytic workout is simply that you perform an exercise for at most 30 seconds, at an intensity that starts to get you out of breath. You then rest until you feel you can go again and repeat the cycle for 10 to 20 minutes.

Very quickly, you find that you are able to have shorter rest breaks, indicating that you're recovering (and theoretically clearing the lactate) more quickly.

Recently, I've been doing 360 kettlebell swings per day, because over 28 days that adds up to just over 10,000 swings, and have quickly found that my "10 left, 10 right, rest" turnaround interval dropped from every minute on the minute (EMOTM) to every 50 seconds on 50 seconds, and even then I often find myself forging ahead of the timer.

In the example below, I've used kettlebell swings as an example, but you could use skipping, burpees, running, cycling or any one of many other exercises that raise your heart rate to that threshold level.

How to do it...

Do a thorough dynamic mobility warm up for at least 10 minutes.

Select an appropriate size kettlebell with which you'll be able to finish the workout.

Start a timer that beeps every 60 seconds and do...

  • 10 Right hand swings
  • 10 Left hand swings
  • Recover until the timer beeps
  • Repeat for as many sets as you wish (usually 15-20 minutes is good)

If you're doing the two-handed version of kettlebell swings, you simply don't change hands (funnily enough, this is more of a challenge to your grip).

Take a bit of time to cool down with any flexibility work you've identified that you need.

Will Newton

In over twenty years of coaching, I have coached everyone from absolute beginners to world champions. My interest in getting the best results for athletes who compete for the love of the sport, rather than as professionals, drives me to find the most effective ways to get results. My mission is simple: Be in better shape at 70 than most people are at 20, and to help you do the same.

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