A Guide To Glycogen Depletion Workouts

A Guide To Glycogen Depletion Workouts

When it comes to fitness, we hear about glycogen depletion workouts and how they boost your body’s fat-burning potential. If you’re looking to get fitter in less time, read until the end. This article will help you understand the process behind these workouts and specific movements to get you started.

A guy is having a workout outside

What Is A Depletion Workout?

A depletion workout is the kind of workout that depletes the glycogen stores in your body. Glycogen is the storage form of glucose, and your body can tap into glycogen anytime it needs energy.

Here’s how your body stores glycogen: Carbohydrates from the food you eat get broken down into glucose for energy. Glucose in excess is stored in the muscles and liver as a large compound called glycogen for future use.

Glycogen stores run empty by doing two things:

One, you limit your intake of carbs in your diet. This ensures that the small amount of carbs you eat gets utilized as glucose right away.

The other strategy is to engage in a depletion workout, which is the main focus of this article. Low glycogen forces your body to tap into its stored fat. As you would guess, its effect is weight loss.

Good to know: If your goal is to gain muscle, you’ll also need to deplete your glycogen stores to lose all that body fat. This can be done through a low-carbohydrate diet, increasing your protein intake, and strength training. Here’s a guide on this topic.

How To Perform Glycogen Depletion Workouts

young people  practicing with weights, high intensity training

There are plenty of exercises that deplete the glycogen stores in your body. Here’s the key: No matter what workout you’ll be doing, following these strategies:

  • Do it for a longer period of time. Turn your usual 20-minute workout into a 40-minute workout. Increase the number of reps and minimize rest periods during your workout. In the middle of a long workout, you’ll notice yourself hitting a wall. You start to feel the fatigue kicking in. This tells you that your glycogen is running out.
  • Perform intense movements. You’ve probably heard of HIIT or High-Intensity Interval Training workouts. These workouts are a combination of cardio and strength training in short bursts with hardly any rest periods in between. Recovery periods can be substituted for a low-intensity movement.

With these two strategies in mind, here are 7 movements for a glycogen depletion workout routine. They can be performed in your home or at the gym with only a yoga mat and a pair of dumbbells:

1. Sprinting in place

A girl has a training with sprinting in place

Sprinting offers a total body workout. It engages your arms, abs, and legs at once. Here’s how to sprint in place:

  • Start in a standing position with your arms at your sides.
  • Run as fast as you can in place. Pump your arms and lift your knees as high as possible.
  • Return to the starting position.

2. Burpees

A guy has a burpees training

Burpees are great exercises for building strength and endurance. While burpees burn a lot of calories, they do not require equipment. You’ll only be using your own body weight. To do burpees, follow these steps:

  • Start in a squat position.
  • Put your hands to the ground so they’re in front of you and in between your legs. Then kick your feet back so that you’re in a push-up position.
  • Return quickly to the squat position.
  • Jump into the air with your arms over your head.
  • Land with your knees bent.

3. Flutter kicks

A girl has flutter kicks exercise

Spot-training exercises help deplete glycogen as you increase your reps. Flutter kicks are one of the best ab workouts that’ll make you feel that intense burn in your belly area. Here’s how to perform flutter kicks:

  • Lie on the mat with your arms at your sides. (You can also put your hands beneath your buttocks).
  • Elevate your legs slightly off the mat while keeping them straight.
  • Raise one leg higher than the other. Alternate between legs. Do this as quickly as you can.
  • Return to the starting position.

4. Arnold press

A guy has an Arnold press training

This killer upper body move targets your deltoid and back muscles. If this is your first time to perform this move, I recommend using lighter weights and increasing the number of reps instead. How to do it:

  • Start in a standing position while holding a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Raise your hands to your shoulders, then push them above your head. Your palms should be facing forward.
  • Pause for a few seconds then reverse the movement.
  • Return to the starting position.

5. Jumping lunges

A girl has jumping lunges exercise

Lunges engage the muscles of your lower body. It will challenge and improve your coordination and balance. Here’s how to do jumping lunges correctly:

  • Sink into a lunge position with your hands clasped together. One leg should be kneeling on the mat while the other is bent.
  • Jump upwards and quickly switch your lunge to the other side.

6. Tuck jumps

A guy has a tuck jumps training

Tuck jumps are great for engaging your upper and lower body. Since you’ll be jumping as high as you can, you’ll be elevating your heart rate fast and burning calories in less time. Here’s how to do tuck jumps:

  • Lower your body into a quarter squat with your hands in front of you.
  • Jump into the air while tucking your knees to your chest.
  • Return to the starting position.

7. Goblet squat

A guy has a goblet squat training

While the goblet squat is a beginner-friendly move, it becomes challenging as you add more reps. All you need is a dumbbell. Here’s how to do it:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Hold a dumbbell in both hands at chest-level as if you’re holding a goblet.
  • Lower your body to a squat position.
  • Keep the dumbbell close to your body.
  • Return to the starting position.

Final Thoughts

You can turn any exercise into a depletion workout by doing it long enough or in an intense manner. Your body burns fat when glycogen runs low. This manifests through exhaustion in the middle of your sweat session.

Also, keep in mind that you can’t out-exercise a proper diet. Consider following a diet that maximizes your body’s fat-burning potential, such as a low-carb keto diet. Before you do, speak to your doctor.