The anaerobic threshold is a point during exercise when the body reaches its maximum capabilities without causing physical problems. This can be defined as the point where you begin to lose your breath, cannot hold a conversation and your muscles begin to weaken and are no longer able to continue at the current rate. Anaerobic refers to ‘without oxygen’, which is the type of exercise used to build great performance in a short amount of time. Bodybuilders and sprint runners are just two examples of athletes that may wish to be aware of their anaerobic threshold and increase it with proper training. There are a number of ways to reach your anaerobic threshold and utilize training to increase it and improve performance.
1. General Exercise
Any type of exercise can be used to reach your anaerobic threshold. Simple walking, swimming or dancing can quickly get your heart rate up and your body working to release the natural chemicals it requires to produce energy, strength and endurance. If you are overweight or of a low fitness level, your anaerobic threshold may be reached quickly, but will improve with consistent exercise. Attempt to exercise a little longer or a little faster each day until you see an improvement, and changing the type of exercise you engage in can work the body differently, thereby increasing your level of fitness overall.
2. Endurance Training
Depending upon the type of event you are training for and the condition of your physical fitness, endurance training may help you to reach, maintain and improve your anaerobic threshold. Endurance training helps to develop the energy systems to allow your body to keep a certain pace for a long period of time without extending past the anaerobic threshold. In other words, a 5k run requires a slower pace, but you must be able to run at that pace for the length of the run without losing energy and stamina. Endurance training can be accomplished by long-distance running, weight training, circuit training and hill running.
3. Interval Training
Interval training is one of the best ways to reach and surpass your anaerobic threshold, quickly improving your body’s energy storage, production and use. Interval training makes use of short bursts of exercise that are slightly beyond that which you feel capable of doing. For example, during interval training on a treadmill, you may jog at a moderate speed for several minutes, and then increase the speed to a full run for a period of 1 minute. After the intensity of a full-minute, high-speed run, the speed of the treadmill would be adjusted to return to a slow or moderate pace for several more minutes. This allows the body time for recovery and prepares it to approach the anaerobic threshold once again. Normally these intervals repeat 3 to 5 times in total during one exercise routine. There are many variations of interval training, and you should experiment with different methods to find a few that work most effectively for you.