5 Key Areas – Endurance part 2

The five key areas that contribute to improved athletic performance are Speed, Strength, Coordination, Flexibility and Endurance. The types of endurance are aerobic endurance, anaerobic endurance, speed endurance and strength endurance. In part two of endurance, we take a look at anaerobic endurance.

Anaerobic Endurance

During anaerobic (without oxygen) work, involving maximum effort, the body is working so hard that the demands for oxygen and fuel exceed the rate of supply and the muscles have to rely on the stored reserves of fuel. The muscles, being starved of oxygen, take the body into a state known as oxygen debt and lactic starts to accumulate in the muscles. This point is known as the lactic threshold or anaerobic threshold or onset of blood lactate accumulation (OBLA). Activity will not be resumed until the lactic acid is removed and the oxygen debt repaid.

The body can resume limited activity after a small proportion of the oxygen debt has been repaid. Since lactic acid is produced, the correct term for this pathway is lactic anaerobic energy pathway.

The alactic anaerobic pathway is when the body is working anaerobically but without the production of lactic acid. This pathway depends on the fuel stored in the muscle which lasts for approximately 4 seconds at maximum effort.

Anaerobic endurance can be sub-divided as follows:

    • Short anaerobic – less than 25 seconds (mainly alactic)
    • Medium anaerobic – 25 seconds to 60 seconds (mainly lactic)
    • Long anaerobic – 60 seconds to 120 seconds (lactic +aerobic)

Anaerobic endurance can be developed by using repetition methods of high intensity work with limited recovery.

Anaerobic threshold

The anaerobic threshold, the point at which lactic acid starts to accumulates in the muscles, is considered to be somewhere between 80% and 90% of your maximum heart rate and is approximately 40 beats higher than the aerobic threshold. Your anaerobic threshold can be determined with anaerobic threshold testing.

Next up – Speed Endurance and Strength Endurance.