Anaerobic Endurance for Aerobic Conditioning
Anaerobic endurance training focuses on the physiological improvements in the muscles’ ability to endure force output through both neural and metabolic mechanisms. System efficiency is best demonstrated during prolonged stress upon the anaerobic system. Interestingly, repeatable actions lasting 30-60 seconds are highly dependent on the interaction of the anaerobic and aerobic systems. For individuals looking to maintain force output and lean mass, while attaining better endurance, the focus should be placed on the anaerobic system. A common error among many athletes and fitness enthusiasts is to do cardiovascular exercise in attempts to get in better shape. However, for both anaerobic and aerobic improvements without the consequences of aerobic training, higher intensity exercise should be used. To successfully implement the anaerobic endurance phase, an understanding of work:recovery ratios needs to be established.
The most important component of training the anaerobic endurance system is to have the correct work and rest duration. Longer time under tension followed by minimal rest is ideal as it is used to push the metabolic environment and raise heart rates. Set:rep prescriptions often use 4-6 sets of timed activity which will often last between 20-60 seconds, with a1:1-1:3 rest ratio. The modality may employ any activity that can be performed continuously – therefore sprinting on a bike or by foot, change of direction drills, and training stations can all be used. Again, the key is work recovery relationship with adequate intensity.
Arguably the most difficult component of programming for anaerobic endurance is allowing the continual completion of work with the allotted rest interval while maintaining good form and technique. Due to the localized fatigue demands of training, anaerobic endurance training often benefits from a total body emphasis. Alternating both total body movements with lower body and upper body work helps distribute the effort throughout an entire training bout which will allow the client to continue the high rate of work. The use of different muscle areas allows for improved lactate clearance, without having to add subsequent rest intervals due to acute peripheral fatigue. Ballistic activities such as medicine ball throws directed at different parts of the body followed by sprint work is a common example.
The use of training stations can also be used for anaerobic endurance training due to the large volume of work that can be done with minimal rest. Training stations sequence upper and lower body activities with transitional rest between each movement. Usually four stations are set up in an order of most difficult to least difficult. 1) Jump lunges 2) Bench speed push-ups 3) Alternating mountain climbers 4) Medicine ball chop slams would be an example. Many enthusiasts have also hit the field to flip tires, use sledge hammers and battle ropes. Again the key is the order must consider safety and technique and the work rest ratio reflect shorter rest with longer work and vice versa. So a one minute tri-set bout would employ a 1:1 ratio whereas a 20 second maximal bout would use a 1:2 ratio.
Furthermore, selecting exercises that can be employed to promote muscle balance is paramount in exercise selection. Pairing agonist and antagonist muscle groups with exercise that promote full range of motion will allow musculoskeletal integrity, and provide the client with an adequate base to progress into future phases focusing on strength and power.
The key of anaerobic conditioning is to challenge the glycolytic metabolic demands of the muscle tissue. Maintaining the strict recovery period over the course of a training bout will yield the greatest improvements in the glycolytic pathway, neural efficiency and lactate clearance.