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What is Anaerobic Exercise?

What is anaerobic exercise? Discover what anaerobic exercise means and how it can work for you and your fitness goals today!

Published: 12/23/19

What is Anaerobic Exercise?

So, what is anaerobic exercise? Anaerobic literally means “without air.” These exercises are comprised of short, high-intensity, bursts of movement at maximum effort that can be just a few seconds long or last a little over a minute. This type of physical activity is usually intense enough to create lactic acid in the muscles.We want to cover which exercises fall under the anaerobic category, how to do it efficiently, and how to add this form of exercise into your routine here. 

Is It Anaerobic?

There’s a good test to tell if you are completing an anaerobic exercise or not. It’s as simple as this: If you can hold a conversation during your workout, it is probably aerobic. But, during an anaerobic exercise, you shouldn’t be able to. Anaerobic activity is comprised of strength training, HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training), plyometrics, jumping rope, sprinting, or the like. 

Am I Pushing Myself Hard Enough?

It’s a bit more complicated than that, though. Sometimes, it can be hard to tell if you are pushing yourself hard enough in anaerobic exercise. When you complete these workouts, you are improving your entire cardiovascular system, making you a more powerful athlete overall. So, it is important to be able to track your workout and be aware of what you are doing. To track an anaerobic exercise, you will want to reach 80 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate. You can calculate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your current age from 220. So, if you are 30 years old, your maximum heart rate is 190. From here, you can calculate the percentages by taking the maximum heart rate and multiplying it by the percentage you want to achieve. So, if your maximum heart rate is 190, 90% of that would be (190 * .9) 171 BPM (beats per minute).

Don’t push yourself too hard, though. We always recommend that you listen to your body. If it is telling you to stop—stop, take a break, or adjust to having a more moderate intensity. The numbers are just guidelines.

What Happens During Anaerobic Exercise?

During an anaerobic workout, your body will use glycogen as fuel, which is the extra stored carbohydrates from what you eat. Glycogen is stored away and saved to use for energy when you do something challenging, like a workout. When you exercise anaerobically, you aren’t able to send oxygen fast enough around your body, so your body produces lactate to break down the glycogen for energy. But, it is not sustainable for long. That’s why anaerobic bursts last from a few seconds to just a few minutes. Lactate is what causes a burning sensation in your muscles and helps to remind your body that it is time to stop and recover.

How Do I Get Started?

Anaerobic exercises can be intimidating. They require you to exert a ton of effort, and jumping right into a routine can be difficult, but there are a few ways that we recommend getting started. 

Weight Machines

One benefit of completing your strength training with machines is that machines help with form and they have instructions for what to do. So, if you are familiar with strength training and want to venture on your own, this is where to start. First, decide what you want to work out (whole body, legs, back and biceps, etc.) and then go to the section of the gym with those machines. Once you find the perfect machine to start on, read the instructions and start at a lighter weight. Get a feel for the machine and then move up in weight. Working out on machines is a great way to learn form before you start working out in the free weight area.

Team Training

Another way to get a great anaerobic exercise is through Team Training. We love Team Training sessions because they are always different and allow for our members to not only get one of the best workouts of their lives but also learn new movements for the gym floor. You can expect fantastic anaerobic exercises in Team Training sessions guided by a coach. There, the coach will be able to help correct your form and monitor your exertion through the heart rate monitors on the screen. Plus, the added bonus of a community around you working toward the same goal is a fantastic motivator.

Group Exercise

If you are interested in trying out group exercise for anaerobic training, you can try classes like BODYPUMP, kickboxing, BODYCOMBAT, Fitness Boot Camp, and more! Similar to Team Training, you will be guided by a fitness professional who is there to help instruct you and motivate you through the movements. 

We would love to have you at any of our locations for your anaerobic or aerobic exercise needs. Come on in and say hello. You can download our app for a free 7-day pass and try the gym out. We hope to see you soon!

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