8 julio, 2024

Anaerobic capacity: characteristics, methods, benefits

The anaerobic capacity It is the one that is put into practice when performing high-intensity exercises, for which it is necessary to apply considerable force. This effort implies a depletion of the amount of oxygen used by the body.

A person will have high anaerobic capacity to the extent that they can support the little amount of oxygen in the muscles for a certain time. During the process, chemical interactions are generated in which phosphocreatine, ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and glycogen participate.

The more intense the exercise, the more oxygen is needed. However, the bloodstream cannot move it at the rate at which it is required and the muscles cannot absorb it quickly given the intensity of the activity.

A high anaerobic capacity allows effective toning, muscle enlargement and bone mineralization, among other benefits.

Many of the exercises are considered anaerobic during the first moments of the action because they usually involve intense movements; however, for an exercise to be anaerobic it must be of short duration.



absence of oxygen

The term anaerobic refers to the absence of oxygen. For this reason, the anaerobic capacity is related to the possibility that the muscles have to contract intensely with little oxygen presence.

High intensity

All anaerobic activity is characterized because it deserves a great effort executed in an explosive way; that is why weight lifting or 10-meter races are clear examples of anaerobic exercise.

All exercises that involve the use of strength machines also fall into this category. These are demanding actions in which the muscles are quite demanded.

Short duration

This intense effort is characterized by its short duration. If the activity lasts longer, it is considered to be an aerobic exercise, since this type of activity implies the ability to resist the fatigue associated with the exercise for a much longer time.

It can be lactic or alactic

This classification refers to the presence or absence of lactic acid. Below we describe the characteristics of each type of anaerobic capacity:

Lactic anaerobic capacity

The anaerobic capacity is lactic when the efforts last a maximum of 120 seconds. Glycogen is used as the main fuel source and there is lactic acid production; this happens because the action is fast, but not fast enough to prevent lactate production.

alactic anaerobic capacity

The exercises associated with this type of anaerobic resistance are explosive and very short, a maximum of 20 seconds.

In these cases the main source of energy is ATP, and to the extent that the action is maintained over time, it is possible that phosphocreatine is also used as a fuel source.

High energy diet is required

Since the consumption of energy is abundant, it is necessary to have a diet high in energy in order to cultivate a high anaerobic capacity. The consumption of high protein food supplements is also recommended.

Methods to develop anaerobic capacity

A training that seeks to develop anaerobic capacity should focus on explosive actions, with a high degree of intensity and executed in a short time.

There are various exercise programs ideal for cultivating this capacity. Here we describe some of the most relevant:

very short races

Running short stretches, between 5 and 10 meters, is a good way to train explosive strength. Some trainers recommend doing these runs on terrain with a certain inclination, so that the effort is greater.

Being such short races, the intensity of the exercise is very high and requires 100% of the runner’s effort.

short races

Another method to work on anaerobic resistance is to practice slightly longer runs, but just as explosive. These are distances that are between 50 and 100 meters. Since they are a bit longer, the runner’s effort will not reach 100%, but will be around 95% or so.

Jumps in the vertical plane

A recommended activity is to execute successive vertical jumps. Elements can be arranged that serve as obstacles, they can be drawers or any object that has a considerable height, so that it is necessary for the runner to jump in order to cross it.

These obstacles can be placed every 2 meters. The runner must successively jump each element, applying intense effort in each jump and maintaining balance with the arms.

interval training

This method is also well known in its English form: interval training. The intention is to execute exercises that require an effort of between 80 and 95% of the capacities of the person who carries them out.

The rest times are short, which means that the person will not be fully recovered before facing a new repetition. For example, exercises of between 10 and 15 seconds duration can be considered, and a recovery of between 5 and 15 seconds.


Greater resistance in explosive exercises

The most obvious benefit of anaerobic capacity has to do with the possibility of having more resistance to more intense efforts. That is, a person with ample anaerobic capacity can exercise intensely for a longer time without feeling the fatigue associated with the action.

toned muscles

Intense muscular work translates into greater toning. This implies that the muscles will have less risk of injury, since they are in good shape.

It is important to emphasize that anaerobic training must be done with great caution, knowing very well the morphology of the muscles to be worked on or consulting experts who have such information; poorly designed training can lead to major injuries.

volume increase

If you train constantly, the volume of the muscles can increase considerably.

For people who are involved in the field of bodybuilding, or for those who wish to increase their body volume a little, developing a high anaerobic capacity is very important.


A few years ago it was thought that only aerobic exercises facilitated weight loss; however, several specialists have indicated that training with weight and intensity can generate the same or even better effects.

When the body is recovering after finishing an intense exercise routine, the muscles still need oxygen; For this reason, the body continues to burn calories to be able to provide oxygen to the muscles that need it.


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