Anaerobic Training for Short, Intense Activity

Anaerobic training is repeatedly exercising to develop short-term high intensity performance. Anaerobic means "without oxygen". Activities such as jumping, sprinting, and weightlifting use this type of energy system. In contrast, sustained exercise performed at a lower intensity taps the aerobic system.

When athletes train anaerobically, their bodies get better at supplying quick energy from two different chains of energy production: the ATP-PC (adenosine triphosphate-phosphocreatine) and the lactic acid system.

When activity lasts for under 10 seconds--about long enough to run the 100m for some-- the ATP-PC system is in full force. After about 5-10 seconds of activity without oxygen, lactic acid begins to form. When activity stops, these are restored very quickly.

The lactic acid system restores ATP when activity occurs without oxygen. Glucose is partially broken down in muscles to form lactic acid, which offers a quick supply of ATP so that short bursts of intense activity can continue from about 30 seconds to up to 3 minutes.

Lactic acid accumulates as the athlete gets into more and more "oxygen debt". Before long, the muscles have little energy to continue. It takes about 2 hours for it to break down in the muscles after intense exercise.

Training activities to build these systems include:

1. explosive training, such as plyometrics,

2. interval training,

3. strength training, and

4. speed and agility training methods.

The effects on athletes' bodies include:

1. increased strength,

2. larger muscles (hypertrophy),

3. increased power,

4. increased ability to store ATP and PC, and

5. development of both fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscle fibers.

Related pages:

Aerobic Training

How Muscles Work

What is ATP?

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