Today we’re going to talk about the anaerobic energy system and why it’s an important aspect of overall fitness. Anaerobic fitness is the ability to perform high-intensity exercises for a short period of time, typically lasting between 10 seconds to 2 minutes, without relying on oxygen for energy production. This type of exercise uses what is called the ATP-PC system, otherwise known as adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and phosphocreatine (PC) which provides energy quickly but is limited in its capacity.
Anaerobic fitness is important for both the general population and athletic population. For the general population, it can help with overall health and fitness by improving cardiovascular function and health if you first have a well-developed aerobic system.
There is good research to suggest that when working with the general population developing your anaerobic energy system before you have developed your aerobic energy system will cause an early to ripen early to rotten scenario. This essentially means that you may develop an acute positive response to anaerobic training however overtime you are putting the people you work with at great risk of injury by taking part in anaerobic training without having the proper exposure to aerobic training first. However, if your athlete or client can partake in anaerobic type training research has shown greater improvements in body composition and body fat due to the anabolic and catabolic relationship that is derived from anaerobic type training. Most importantly the biggest benefit you will see from anaerobic training is the ability to become extremely strong and improve muscular strength.
For athletes, anaerobic capacity is a crucial component of performance in sports as the anaerobic energy system is directly correlated to improving explosive power and speed, as well as power and speed repeatability.
Now let’s talk about some fitness tests you can use to measure anaerobic capacity. One of the most common tests is the Wingate test, The Wingate test is a widely used anaerobic fitness test that measures an individual’s anaerobic power and capacity. It is typically performed on a stationary bike or ergometer and involves cycling as fast as possible for 30 seconds against a fixed resistance. During the test, the individual is asked to pedal as hard and as fast as possible for the entire 30 seconds, without any breaks. The resistance on the bike remains constant throughout the test, which means that the intensity of the exercise is very high. The test measures various parameters, such as peak power, average power, and fatigue index, which provide an indication of the individual’s anaerobic capacity. It is often used by athletes and coaches to determine the effectiveness of their training programs, as well as to assess the impact of factors such as nutrition, recovery, and fatigue on their performance.
Overall, the Wingate test is a valuable tool for assessing anaerobic fitness and can be used to improve athletic performance, as well as general health and fitness.
Other tests include the 150-meter shuttle test. The 150-meter shuttle test is a field-based test that measures anaerobic capacity. It’s performed on a field where athletes have 30 seconds to try and cover 150 meters in a grid of cones that are placed 5,10,15,20 and 25 metres apart. The athletes have 30 seconds to complete the 150-meter grid followed by 30 seconds rest which is repeated 6 times. at the end of the test all the meters completed are added up which gives the final score for the athletes.
The test is often used by coaches and fitness professionals to assess an individual’s fitness levels, as well as to design personalized training programs that can improve their anaerobic capacity and endurance. It can be used for a variety of sports and activities that require high-intensity bursts of activity, such as football or rugby.
Overall, the 150-meter shuttle test is an effective way to measure anaerobic capacity and endurance and can help individuals identify areas for improvement in their fitness levels.
When training your anaerobic system, it’s important to work within your target heart rate zone. This is typically between 80-100% of your maximum heart rate. It’s also important to note that anaerobic training sessions should be shorter in duration but higher in intensity compared to aerobic training.
Remember, the key to effective anaerobic training is to push yourself to your maximum intensity during the work periods and allow for adequate rest during the rest periods. Incorporating anaerobic training into your fitness routine can lead to improved overall fitness and better athletic performance.
However, we don’t advise implementing any anaerobic testing protocols when working with the general population. The reason for this is the tests are too intense and therefore can lead to risk of injury. we also don’t advise that you implement anaerobic type training in your programming too early as again this poses a as another potential risk of injury to your clients. Spend time developing an aerobic base of fitness before you move on to anaerobic type training.