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What is Exercise Economy and How Can You Improve It? | #29 ft. Dr. Robert Jacobs


In this episode of the Critical Oxygen podcast, Dr. Robert Jacobs and I discuss exercise economy and efficiency. We explain the importance of zone two training for improving volume and intensity, and it's role in increasing economy. We define exercise economy as the amount of oxygen per wattage or unit speed and discuss its measurement challenges. We also explore the factors that affect economy and efficiency, such as aging, experience, and biological changes. Additionally, we highlight the benefits of lifting heavy weights and provide practical examples for improving efficiency through strength training.


1) Increasing volume by completing zone 2 training can help to improve running economy.

2) Heavy strength, powerful lifting, and plyometrics can help to improve economy and efficiency.

Good papers

Systematic review comparing plyometrics and heavy strength work:

Optimizing strength training for running and cycling endurance performance:

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00:00 Introduction and Zone Two Training

19:02 Definition and Importance of Exercise Economy and Efficiency

27:41 Factors Affecting Economy and Efficiency

36:11 Lifting Heavy Weights for Improving Efficiency

48:34 Practical Examples for Improving Efficiency

52:28 The Importance of Rest and Heavy Strength Training

55:12 Kettlebell Workouts and Applied Resistance Training

57:00 Flexibility Training and its Impact on Efficiency

59:16 Closing Remarks

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