How to Reach the Anaerobic Zone During Exercise

Anaerobic means “ in the absence of oxygen. ” Unlike aerobic use, which relies on oxygen to convert calories into energy, anaerobic exercise involves short bursts of intense physical bodily process during which the oxygen demands exceed the oxygen issue .

Anaerobic exercise is used by non-endurance athletes to increase forte, office, and rush. Bodybuilders use it to build thin muscle bulk .

You can tell if you are in an anaerobic submit if you are between 80 and 90 % of your maximum heart rate ( MHR ). At this effort grade, you will be breathing identical hard and will unable to speak in entire sentences.

What Is the Anaerobic Zone ?

One of the elementary aims of anaerobic exert is improving cardiovascular and respiratory capacity. Depending on the goals, the duration of educate can be vitamin a shortstop as a few seconds ( such as for power-lifting ) or a hanker as several minutes ( for sprint, hurdles, focal ratio skate, etc. ) .

In the anaerobic partition, carbohydrates are burned more readily than fats. At 80 to 90 % of your MHR, around 85 % of the devour calories will be from carbs, 14 % from adipose tissue, and 1 % from protein .

rather than relying on oxygen, anaerobic practice is fueled by glycogen, a carbohydrate stored in muscles. At the molecular level, glycogen contains oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon paper .

Through a procedure known as glycolysis, glycogen is broken down into adenosine triphosphate ( ATP ), a building complex cellular energy source that is used for both aerobic and anaerobic exercise.

ATP provides the body with a quick burst of energy while triggering the rapid build-up of lactic acerb, a by-product of glycolysis. lactic acerb is the substance that causes your brawn to fatigue during a intemperate exercise .

The burning sensation you feel in your muscles after strenuous action is the result of lactic acid accretion.


One of the benefits of anaerobic drill is that your body will be able to handle lactic acerb more efficiently. If you regularly push yourself into the anaerobic zone, your body will begin to clear lactic acid faster than it is produced. This is known as lactate doorway train .

If your body is unable to clear it faster than it is being produced, you will quickly fatigue and reach your alleged anaerobic brink. Runners much refer to this as “ hitting the rampart. ”

There are besides other benefits of regular anaerobic train .

  • It builds and maintains lean muscle mass while protecting your joints and connective tissue from damage.
  • It boosts metabolism and helps promote weight loss. Lean muscle is metabolically active, meaning that the more there is, the faster the calories will be burned.
  • It can improve your VO2 max (the maximum volume of oxygen you can consume during exercise).
  • It can increase your body’s ability to store glycogen, giving you more energy during intense physical activity.
  • It can increase the strength and density of your bones more than any other type of exercise, decreasing the risk of osteoporosis (bone mineral loss).

A 2013 study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that the corpulent participants who combined anaerobic and aerobic exercise lost more body bulk than those who lone did aerobic exert.


Despite the likely benefits to your health, anaerobic exercise can besides pose risks— peculiarly for people with uncontrolled high blood pressure or underlie heart disease .

Scientists have theorized that excessive anaerobic exercise might contribute to the development of a condition that causes the arteries to harden ( atherosclerosis ) .

According to a study in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, anaerobic exercise can lead to decreases in human increase hormone ( HGH ), a naturally occurring substance that helps with cellular repair. One theory is that the ongoing depletion of HGH decreases “ good ” high-density lipoprotein ( HDL ) cholesterol while at the same clock triggering increases in body aggregate and high blood pressure.

The evidence is not conclusive, but it is possible that these changes could promote atherosclerosis and early cardiovascular diseases in some people .

Training Methods

You can reach the anaerobic zone through high-intensity exercises such as operate, cycle, or speed swim. It can besides be achieved with interval train ( in which you intersperse bursts of high-intensity exert with short bouts of moderate-intensity exercise ) .

lactic threshold train may involve either of these two strategies :

  • Interval anaerobic exercise. Also known as high-intensity interval training (HIIT), this type aims to push your body to fatigue by alternating high-intensity and low-intensity exercises up to or near your anaerobic threshold.
  • Steady-state anaerobic exercise. Also known as a tempo workout, this type involves gradually increasing the intensity of exercise until you reach 80 to 90% of your MHR. You would then maintain that level for anywhere from two to 20 minutes before the cool-down.

A Word From Verywell

If you are new to exercising, do not start with high-intensity anaerobic workouts. rather, focus on lower-intensity aerobic exercise for at least 12 weeks, pushing yourself to no more than 60 or 70 % of your MHR by workweek 12. Always check with your sophisticate before adding anaerobic exert to any fitness course of study .

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