Anaerobic capacity is your body's capacity to run its systems without using oxygen. It contrasts with aerobic capacity, which requires oxygen as fuel. It is therefore important for high-intensity, low-duration activities such as lifting weights or sprinting. Sprint tests are an effective way to measure your anaerobic threshold.
Release of ATP
Adenosine triphosphat is a fuel that comes from the food we eat. When you exert yourself at high intensities for short periods of time, you're not giving your body time to get oxygen to the muscles in question. So, it uses ATP. The better your anaerobic capacity, the better your body's ability to release ATP and perform high-intensity actions.
PC as a Fallback
Phosphate creatine is the chemical your body falls back on once it is out of ATP, which is normally after just a few seconds. It can combine with other phosphates in your muscles and make more ATP, but it also only lasts a few seconds. Once PC is gone, the anaerobic activity has to stop because your body no longer has the energy it needs; you either need to slow down or have an efficient enough body to have started shuttling oxygen to your muscles.
The key feature of anaerobic capacity is how quickly your ATP-PC molecules recover. The more you exhausted and the lower your anaerobic capacity, the longer it will take to recover. So, someone with high anaerobic capacity can perform multiple, intense activities in a row with short periods of time in between them, while someone with low anaerobic capacity cannot.
A high anaerobic capacity also helps you perform long-term, endurance activities. This is because higher anaerobic capacity increases your ability to function at an anaerobic level for a longer period of time. A runner with high anaerobic capacity can run faster for longer periods than a runner with high aerobic capacity because his body is more efficient at powering his muscles at higher levels of intensity.
- Photo Credit Ridofranz/iStock/Getty Images
Building a Healthy Heart and Lungs After Smoking
Deciding to stop smoking is without question one of the healthiest choices you can make. After all, the damage smoking does to...
Facts About Muscular Endurance
Have you ever noticed young mothers carrying babies without showing signs of exhaustion, whereas a buff muscular male may complain that his...
How to Increase Aerobic Capacity
Increasing aerobic capacity is a fitness goal for everyone from elderly people to top level athletes. One of the best ways to...
Definition of Anaerobic and Aerobic Bacteria
Bacteria are extremely small, single-celled microorganisms that can exist either freely or as a parasite. They are invisible to the naked eye...
What Are the Two Processes That Produce ATP?
Two types of anaerobic cellular respiration take place during exercise in humans: the phosphagen system and glycolysis. The phosphagen system uses creatine...
Aerobic & Anaerobic Training Benefits
Aerobic training is beneficial in that it builds lung capacity, heart strength, conditioning and overall athleticism. Learn about the benefits of anaerobic...