Training Creatine Phosphate
This system as you now know is the most quickly fatiguing but because of its rate of energy production, can offer incredible power to your muscles. This is what is most responsible for ‘explosive force,’ where you are lifting a heavy weight on the squat rack and the first 8 reps get pushed out cleanly but there may be a sudden drop off in explosiveness or speed, which is because this highly demanding task simply asks for too much energy too quickly for the creatine phosphate system to handle, and the other systems are too slow to offer such intense and quick energy production.
Because of this combination of high power but low endurance we have a simple and easy range to train it in: high power movements over a short period of time, but trying to push this window to force the body to adapt to maintaining high energy output for longer than it can already. Even after it ‘fatigues’ so is no longer the chief energy supplier for your cells during intense activity, it doesn’t stop, it merely lags behind due to its depleted capacity, and this is where we want to train. Our body adapts to this training by improving the actual rate of energy turnover from this system through increased enzyme supply (creatine kinase as mentioned previously) and by improving its ability to store creatine phosphate, while also neurologically improving it’s coordination and control of the order and timing of muscle tissue firing to keep the high intensity up as long as possible while still being effective.
Many athletes supplement with dietary creatine powders, which have been shown to increase the energy and endurance of athletes in such activities as weight lifting and others that require short bouts of intense physical demand. Creatine does require a ‘loading’ period where it takes time for higher levels of creatine to show up in the body and create a beneficial effect, but once ‘active’ offers real benefits to performance in this energy range comparative to the overall capacity for the creatine phosphate system to improve in endurance. Do note, however, that while creatine is cheap, it is largely an unnecessary and superfluous supplement for most individuals outside of performance athletes that operate at least moderately in this particular energy demand environment, and our cells can still only store so much of it at once.
For our first training method, we are targeting the energy production speed of the creatine phosphate system. As the quickest, most powerful, and fastest fatiguing system, we train for improvement in the shortest time scale. Whether you are lifting explosively, doing jump squats, sprints, striking, or other such appropriately powerful movements, you will want to go absolutely 100% (seriously maximal effort, less will not work!) for 7-10 seconds. Every single rep, step, jump, or strike needs to be maximally fast and powerful. Once this set is done, make sure to rest for 2-5 minutes until your heart rate is under 120, and do not start again until this rest is complete! If you train without adequate rest you will not be achieving improvements in power. Some active rest between sets to allow your aerobic system to be active and shuttling nutrients and waste is perfectly fine. You should only do this particular set 2-3 times as it is highly exhausting on the neurological system, and from this also be careful what exercises you do both before and after as your body may be less likely to prevent injury for a brief period (aka don’t go and play a football game after this kind of work!). This training method will serve to improve the maximum rate of ATP regeneration by the creatine phosphate system in large part by increasing the amount of enzymes present and available.
While we are working with the goal of energy system conditioning, using maximum strength training in the right ranges uses the creatine phosphate system to a very high degree and can help stimulate an overall release of beneficial hormone release alongside anaerobic power increases. I would not make this method a priority in your conditioning, but depending on your sport or activity this may be more or less fitting. Choose a series of lifts, choosing from large compound lifts (pull-up, squat, deadlift, etc) and choose a weight or resistance that will allow you to only do 1-5 reps. Now do 2-5 sets of each exercise, trying as hard as you can on the last rep that you will fail on. Make sure to have a spotter! Serious injury or death can occur from mishandling max weight lifts or just from accidents ensuing from failing to be able to complete a rep. This is very neurologically taxing and should not be done more than one to two times a week in most situations, especially alongside other exercise or training.
Next is the topic of improving the maximum energy capacity from creatine phosphate, which means taking it to its point of exhaustion and beyond at top intensity. Many of the same intense exercises or drills can still be used, but now we will working for 10-15 intense seconds with rest periods of 20-90 seconds. After finishing your sets with this exercise, rest 8-10 minutes and use this timing method again with a new activity, overall doing 2-3 series of sets with different exercises for each. Putting our bodies in a high intensity environment where we demand more energy than it can supply, and keep up this energy demand after our bodies fail to meet it, will force adaptations in the endurance of creatine phosphate metabolism.
Perfection in motion. BS CPT - NPTI NASM
"We must not forget that even in the most perverted and cruel human being, as long as he is human, a small grain of love and compassion exists that will make him, one day, a Buddha." -Dalai Lama