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Anaerobic Endurance

While most competitive sports require the involvement of both the aerobic and anaerobic metabolic systems, the contribution of each varies substantially. Sports such as basketball, boxing, football, hockey, tennis, and wrestling rely primarily on anaerobic energy supplies. Unfortunately, most of the athletes in these sports still focus on low-intensity aerobic exercise, which not only trains the less relevant energy system and develops the wrong muscle fiber type, but is also very time-consuming and distracting from skill training.

Anaerobic capacity is the maximal rate of energy production by the combined phosphagen and lactic acid energy systems for moderate-duration exercise. It is typically quantified as the maximal amount of work per second performed in muscular activity between 30 and 90 seconds using tests for the upper and/or lower body. Anaerobic or glycolytic conditioning (training to improve acid-buffering mechanisms in muscle tissue) has short rest periods and exercise intensity at less than maximal speed and power output. We rely heavily on interval-type training for our athletes, where manipulating the duration of the rest period is a vital factor for developing sport-specific regimens. If long rest periods are used (work-to-rest ratio of 1:10), lactic acid concentrations are low, increases in stroke volume are minimal, and improvements in aerobic power and acid-buffering are not observed, but the athlete has time to fully recover and deliver maximal speed and power on each effort. Conversely, if short rest periods (work-to-rest ratio of 1:1) are used, the opposite adaptations occur, but at the expense of optimal speed and power improvements. We incorporate maximal anaerobic power training, efforts lasting only a few seconds, to adapt the phosphagen system to the intense, intermittent stresses that occur in most sports.

Integrating the two metabolic demands (aerobic and anaerobic) is also a vital training need because most athletes must be able to perform under fatiguing conditions in competition. The aerobic system is not typically involved in sustaining the actual training activity but is more involved with recovery of energy stores (ATP and creatine phosphate resynthesis). However, each metabolic component needs to be trained individually for optimal results, and then combined in sport-specific training with the emphasis on the primary system utilized. This is the scientific basis of how BMT constructs rational training programs for athletes.

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