Muscular Endurance Physiology

  • Creator
  • #7540

    I have been doing weighted hill climbs for the past several weeks and they wreck me, haha. I am just curious about the physiology during these workouts. So as described in TFTNA, I do these workouts in zone 1 by heart rate but they feel much harder both in my legs and with my breathing. I develop a disconnect where I am at the top the very top of my conversational pace or sometimes speaking in “short sentences” but my HR is only around 120. Usually when I’m at the top of my conversational pace my HR is 135-140. I just don’t really understand metabolically what is happening here. One would think that as I generate more ATP my heart rate and respiratory would raise in a similar fashion to accommodate. It should not matter if this is a regular hill climb, run or weighted hill climb…right? Just curious. I’ll keep doing them for the next 7 weeks then into the next phase.

  • Participant
    guythomasburton on #7559

    This is a really interesting question, would also be keen to hear people’s thoughts. I have the same thing for sure- ventilation rate compared to heart rate is quite different when approaching climbs with a big pack and running on flat, for example (ie breathing harder at lower heart rates).

    Anonymous on #7561

    From what I understand, the main effect of muscular endurance work is to transfer more of the load away from the cardiovascular system and toward the locomotive muscles. Because of the lower heart rates relative to exertion, I assume that lower volumes of blood are required to do the work.

    Another example of this can be found by playing with a power meter on a bike. If you maintain a certain power output, but adjust your gearing up and down to change your cadence, you’ll find lower heart rates with lower cadences (as well as the opposite) even though the workload remains the same.

    Lance Armstrong used this idea to increase his average cadence and increase the cardiovascular load after he recovered from cancer, especially on climbs. From what I’ve read, he was heavier and more muscular before cancer.

    Anonymous on #7569

    I speak about this to some extent here: Have you read this? There also 31 forum posts regarding this question in which I answer many of these same questions. Look over to your right at the forum index.

    As Scott^2 says: The idea is to make Local Muscular Fatigue the limiter here rather than the more typical (for endurance athletes) the global fatigue that comes from hard aerobic exertion. Cyclist can do this easily by shifting to a higher gear. We can create an artificial situation by adding a bunch of weigh on our back to the point that the limitation is not the heart’s ability to deliver oxygen (hence the low HR) but the muscle fibers’ ability to convert oxygen into energy. By adding weight we force the stronger (and consequently less aerobically adapted) muscle fibers to come into the action to overcome the added resistance and they are used for an extended period which results in them developing aerobic attributes. The theory is that this endows these higher power fibers with more endurance as well as increasing the size of the ST fibers. I have seen some hypertrophy when athletes engage in a high volume of ME training for several weeks.

    Anyway there is a ton of stuff about ME workouts on this forum. YOU can probably learn more just reading some of this and that article at the top of this post.


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