I lay out a mitochondrial (endurance) workout and discuss my personal experience with it. Later episodes in this series will go into how the workout produces results.
In this podcast (Quicktime ipod compatible, 35MB; Google streaming flash video), I work through a 1200 rep uppper body endurance (mitochondrial) training session. Nancy and I (Bud) originally put together this series in the Fall to coincide with her diet phase for a competition she had planned for this month. When she decided not to compete last January, we decided to complete the series anyhow.
As explained in Serious Strength Training, the mitochondria provide one of the muscle's energy systems. They are the only place in the muscle where you can convert carbohydrate, fat, and oxygen into energy. The more you increase the mitochondria in your muscle, the higher your workout capacity. You tap the mitochondrial energy system when you go into high repetition endurance workouts, and we'll talk more about the exact mechanism in the next episode in this series.
It's really quite an adaptation to go through. Nancy and I started at 30 repetitions per exercise without combining any of the exercises into supersets. Now, we are doing 50 reps per exercise and supersetting at least 4 exercises in a row before taking a minute's rest.
As I explain in the podcast, this particular mitochondrial workout is focused on the upper body with the exercises grouped into sets of four:
- First set of exercises (60 seconds rest at end of 4 exercises)
- Hammerstrength decline chest press: 132 lbs. for 50 reps (I typically have to drop substantially as this goes on).
- Hammerstrength hack squat calf raises: 180 lbs. for 50 reps (I drop a lot less on this one).
- Dumbbell shrugs: 45 lbs. for 50 reps.
- Inclined laterals: 12.5 lbs. for 50 reps.
- Second set of exercises (60 seconds rest at end of 4 exercises)
- Hammerstrength seated calf raise: 130 lbs. for 50 reps.
- Life Fitness preacher curl: 50 lbs. for 50 reps.
- Life Fitness pec flyes: 70 lbs. for 50 reps.
- Life Fitness military press: 40 lbs. for 50 reps (I typically have to substantially drop).
As you can see at the end of the workout, I'm pretty wiped out. As I mentioned to Nancy when doing this kind of workout a year ago, it's like cardio with teeth.
- This article presents a good summary of exercise strategies for increasing your mitochondrial density and therefore workout capacity.