anaerobic energy source

Speed and power capacities require a fast flow of energy, produced under low oxygen levels.

The HIF1A enzyme kicks-in under such hypoxia conditions, activating glycolysis to supply the muscles with energy  in an anaerobic effort. The variant form of the HIF1A gene results in higher levels of the enzyme, and allows its carrier to last longer in a power bout.

Glycolysis and power performance

Performance in power sports require high anaerobic potential, or in other words- the ability to supply energy for the contracting fibers that assemble the working muscle. The mechanisms that provide such energy must perform under hypoxic circumstances. Hypoxia is a state of inadequate oxygen supply to the cells and tissues, typical in power-orientated activities.

Glycolysis is the main avenue to produce energy under anaerobic, hypoxic circumstances.

The HIF1A gene controls the expression of several genes encoding for glycolytic enzymes.


Genomic coordinates (GRCh38): 14:61,695,400-61,748,258

The HIF-1α protein levels are kept higher in the more glycolytic muscles compared with the more oxidative muscles. Under normal oxygen condition, the HIF1A protein is always degraded and inactive. When exercise-induced hypoxia state kicks in, the HIF-1α protein stabilizes and starts activating glycolysis, providing energy for short and powerful bouts of activity.

The HIF1A T variant  increases HIF-1α protein stability and transcriptional activity, which improves glucose metabolism under anaerobic conditions. Various studies have significantly associated this variant with power performance.

Epidemiological studies have found that the frequency of the HIF1A variant was significantly higher in weight lifters than in controls (17.9% vs. 8.5%) and increased with their levels of achievement (subelite 14.7%, elite 18.8%, highly elite 25.0% prevalence). These results were replicated in three cohorts.

Next figure presents another study and shows HIF1A allele frequency among strength athletes stratified by competitive standard:

Allele frequency rises as achievements in power sports increase, supporting the notion that the HIF1A gene variant has a role in promoting strength capabilities.

To try and improve your glycolysis processes, at increasing tolerance to lactate, the removal of lactate and improving the rate at which glycolysis produces ATP. 

  • 3 sets of 10 repetitions of any resistance exercise performed relatively slowly (5 seconds per rep) with 2.5 minutes rest between sets.  (1:3 ratio)

  • Gym circuit class with 45 seconds on each station and 15 seconds rest to move to the next station

  • Sprint repeats – 10 repetitions of 30 second sprints as fast as possible with 15 seconds recovery between each sprint (2:1 ratio)

HIF1A genetic variants (SNP) alleles in elite power athletes. Glycolysis as energy source in aerobic sports