Sports Training & Conditioning Zone!

Energy Systems Development (ESD): An Intelligent and Scalable System for Cardiovascular Training

by Exos

With cardio, the goal is to expend energy and find the balance between the calories you take in and the calories you burn. At EXOS, the cardio portion of our training programs is called Energy Systems Development, or ESD. Unlike traditional cardio, ESD helps you do this efficiently by having you work harder for shorter amounts of time (10-15 minutes). Think of it like an oven. If you have the heat at 350, you need to cook something longer and the oven will cool faster once you turn it off. If you crank it up to 500 and then turn it off, it will stay hotter longer. With ESD you’re cranking up the heat, and you’re burning more calories (due to increased metabolism) throughout the day.

When working with clients and athletes, we lean toward a more freestyle ESD workout to keep things fresh and encourage our clients to work harder. We start by setting up a circuit with a distinct start and finish so the clients know where they have to get to earn a break. Research shows that allowing athletes to pace themselves helps build their intensity, efforts, and outcomes. It’s like a marathon versus a sprint. A 100 meters is clearly a sprint, but so is a marathon. If you know you can do the marathon in 3:30, then you’re not going to take your time and do it in 4:15 because you have a goal and you’re motivated by your own desire to finish. You can use this with your clients to maximize performance.

As you’re working ESD into your clients’ programs, balance is the key to success. You need to balance low, medium, and high intensities throughout the week, month, and year. Most of the year athletes get a lot of low- and medium-intensity work. At certain times of the year, depending on the sport, athletes need more short-duration, high-intensity work with lots of rest to support their efforts during the season. We recommend focusing on high-intensity, 10- to 12-minute ESD sessions with sprints of less than 15 seconds. You want five to six times as much rest as work, so one set of 10 10-second sprints followed by 50 seconds of rest. If you set up realistic goals for each rep, your clients will work at the intensity needed.

Take a deeper dive into how EXOS uses ESD and how you can use it with your clients: EXOS Fitness Specialist Certification.

(July 2016)