One of the biggest and most common misunderstandings I’ve seen with regards to training of soccer players is related to the energy systems. One of the misconceptions is that the energy systems do not act in unison. I debunked this misunderstanding here. Another misconception is that there are just two energy systems: Aerobic and Anaerobic. The reality is that there are three pathways to resynthesize ATP once it has been broken down to ADP + P during biological processes (in this case exercise). The three pathways are:
- Anaerobic Alactic (ATP-PC system) – This system can only supply about 6-10 seconds worth of energy. Think of it as a Ferrari….great for big horse power and high speed but not so great (terrible in fact) for fuel economy.
- Anaerobic Lactic system – This can meet energy demands for up to 2 minutes of nearly maximal intensity activity. It comes with the drawback of producing metabolic waste that ultimately disrupts movement efficiency. Think of this energy pathway as a Honda Accord….good (but not great) fuel economy and power output.
- Aerobic system – This system is highly efficient at resynthesizing ATP but can’t do it very quickly if the demand is high. As a result, it’s best suited for meeting the demands of lower intensity activities. Or, in the case of highly trained aerobic alactic sport athletes like soccer players, it can actually help fuel repeated high intensity efforts more commonly associated with the ATP-PC energy system. This energy pathway is like a Toyota Prius….it is great for fuel economy but will never be associated with the power outputs and speed of the Ferrari (ATP-PC system).
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