What Exactly is Leg Depletion?

I searched the forums and looked in the archives and I found one (http://www.charliefrancis.com/community/showthread.php?t=5474&highlight=leg+depletion) but I couldnt find a post that told me exactly what a leg depletion wokout is. Here are my questions concerning leg depletion.

  1. What would a sample workout utilizing leg depletion look like?
  2. What are its benefits and what does it train? (i.e. Hypertrophy, Endurance, Power, etc.)
  3. What are its drawbacks?
  4. At what point in training would you use it? Why?

Thanks in advance…

I’m not sure myself. I got this from a bodybuilding site (http://www.wannabebig.com/article.php?articleid=45).

"For the depletion workout, first you have to take yourself out of ketosis by eating about 50g of carbs, specifically fruit (or pure fructose) because fructose preferentially saturates liver glycogen which is the fastest way to get out of ketosis. The reason is that when in ketosis ketones are the preferred source of fuel, so if you perform this workout while in ketosis you won’t further deplete muscle glycogen rather you will just burn ketones. By taking yourself out of ketosis for this workout you will deplete intra-muscular glucose to the greatest degree possible, which in turn allows for maximal glycogen resynthesis (and local insulin sensitivity will be increased in every muscle, further increasing the effectiveness of the carb-load). The depletion workout is not meant to damage muscle fibers, just to deplete glucose, so heavy weight and training to or even near failure is not needed and is actually detrimental (you have to train again in 2 days). 15-20 (with a relatively fast, yet controlled rep cadence) reps per set are good, using your 25-30-rep maximum and obviously stopping well short of failure. Your depletion workout should cover the entire body in a circuit fashion, as shown below:

Squat: 1x15-20

Stiff Leg Deadlift: 1x15-20

Barbell Row: 1x15-20

Bench Press: 1x15-20

Pull Down: 1x15-20

Flyes: 1x15-20

Leg extension: 1x15-20

Leg Curl: 1x15-20

Tricep press: 1x15-20

Barbell Curl: 1x15-20

Calf Raise: 1x15-20

Repeat this entire circuit until your strength drops quite a bit, at this point you are glucose depleted (you’ll know when you’re done) and begin the carb load as explained above. Again, the specifics of this workout can be changed as you feel like, but stick to the basic principles."

I’m not too sure this would have any benefits for track. In fact, I don’t really get the point of it at all.

Other than that I haven’t found any descriptions of what a depletion workout is.

Here’s a better one.


"Emptying the Fuel Tank

Q. What exactly is a “glycogen depleting workout” and why should I do one?

A. Let me first describe what glycogen is and how important it is to exercise performance. In essence, glycogen is the body’s storage form of carbohydrate. Carbohydrates that you eat are digested and broken down into glucose and other simple sugars. After this occurs, the sugars, just like any other molecule that gets through the gastrointestinal wall, are sent to the gatekeeper, which is the liver.

Since the liver is also the blood’s glucose regulator, it takes what it wants for storage by arranging the individual glucose molecules into long chains. These chains are called glycogen and the liver can store about 100 grams of it. Therefore, if completely depleted, the liver could store up to two full servings of Biotest Surge, leaving nothing for the muscles.

Whatever the liver doesn’t store as glycogen, it kicks out to the blood in the form of glucose. And this glucose travels to different cells of the body (brain, organs, muscle, adipose) to provide fuel. Ideally, as much of this glucose as possible will end up in the muscle while very little will end up in adipose tissue. While being a good source of fuel for the muscle, this glucose is also, like in the liver, stored as glycogen. The body can store about 400+ grams of glycogen (depending on how muscular you are).

Now that you know what glycogen is, let’s talk about depleting it with exercise.

Any form of exercise requiring at least a smidgen of effort requires the use of carbohydrate for energy. So, if you were the body, which source of carbohydrates would you choose? Would you choose to fuel the muscles with blood glucose? Or would you choose to fuel the muscles with stored glycogen?

I hope you said muscle glycogen because that’s the right answer. Doesn’t it make sense to use the carbohydrate that’s available where the energy is needed (the muscles) and leave the stuff that the brain needs alone? Sure it does.

Any continuous exercise effort (endurance/cardiovascular type exercise) over 40-50% of VO2 max (about 65-70% of heart rate max) requires the utilization of more carbohydrates than fat. As exercise intensity and duration increases, more glycogen will be used."

"So it appears that you can deplete muscle glycogen by either endurance-type exercise or anaerobic type exercise. Therefore if you want to deplete glycogen, pick your poison. Go ahead and exercise continuously for 60 minutes at 75% of your VO2 max (about 84% of your heart rate max), do repeated 1-2 minute intervals at 120% of your max (simply exercise as fast as you can for 1-2 minutes with an equal rest period between intervals), or go do 10 sets of 10 reps under a heavy bar with minimal rest between sets. All three will deplete muscle glycogen quite well. But why do that?

There are a few scenarios in which glycogen depletion exercise would be of benefit.

  1. First, by training to deplete muscle glycogen, the body adapts to this type of training by learning to store more glycogen than it ever would have before. And since glycogen carries water with it, the muscle stores more water. If you’re an endurance athlete, the glycogen and water increase will lead to more local energy stores and better hydration. If you’re a weightlifter, this means more muscle volume (size).

  2. Another reason a glycogen depletion workout would be of benefit is if you’re getting ready for a big dietary cheat day. By doing a thorough total-body glycogen depletion workout (lots of sets and reps for several body parts with low rest intervals between sets), the body will preferentially store carbohydrates as glycogen in the liver and muscle. Therefore, by emptying the storage depots, you make more “room” for the binge.

  3. Similarly, another good reason why you might do a glycogen depletion workout is if you’re preparing for a low carb/ketogenic diet. Since the onset of ketosis usually occurs when muscle and liver glycogen get extremely low, doing a glycogen-depleting workout at the beginning of your diet will help you reach ketosis faster. But once in ketosis, hard workouts that are normally glycogen depleting are next to impossible since you simply wont have the carbohydrate energy to work that hard.

  4. Finally, athletes will do a glycogen depletion workout several days before a big event so that the muscle can super compensate with carbohydrates. Basically, by eating a lower carb diet than usual and doing a tough workout, the muscle gets depleted of glycogen. Then once the athlete tapers down and stops exercising 2 or 3 days out from an event, they begin eating a very high carbohydrate diet that leads to super compensation and enhanced endurance the day of the event."